President's Slate
April  2023

Who needs a vacation?
Many years ago, during my Instructor Training Course, I remember a short conversation with our Course Director, Jim Hicks.  Jim said “People always ask me about my favorite diving vacation.  For me, my favorite dive vacation is skiing!” He went on to explain that for someone who makes their living diving or teaching diving, a diving vacation means a break from diving.  There were plenty of years when I felt the same way.  I needed a break from diving, and I would usually try and make my way inland.  I don’t get to dive enough to feel that way anymore, but I still feel the need for a vacation, so I’m making plans for a trip to Death Valley National Park.  In some ways it could be the best of both worlds; I’ll be on vacation, but I’ll also be almost 300 feet below sea level.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not against going on an actual dive vacation.  Showing up to go diving without being responsible for the group is a treat.  Packing just my personal dive gear instead of filling up the back of my truck with cylinders, emergency equipment, floats and flags and spares and tools and my “class box” of briefings, marine life id books and more is simple and quick.  I pull my gear (throwing in a spare mask and computer, I’m not that checked out) and make sure everything is in working order.  When it’s time to get on the boat I read and sign the waiver and secure my gear.  I listen to the dive briefing and follow the plan. 

About twenty years ago I went diving for one day on a trip to Belize.  I arrived at the shop / dock in the morning and after completing my paperwork I was given a buoyancy compensator, a regulator, and a cylinder to assemble.  One of the dive guides was walking around, doing exactly what I had been trained to do when the dive shop I had managed chartered boats, casually observing how new clients put their gear together to get a sense of their familiarity and  experience.  I decided to have a little fun so, while watching him out of the corner of my eye, I started to put the bc on upside down or backwards until I saw him roll his eyes and start to walk over.  At that point I looked up and smiled and pulled the bc off and put it on correctly.  He walked over and we chatted a little bit and he got the joke.  It was a good day of diving. 

You know what isn’t a vacation?  Our AAUS Symposium.  I’m looking forward to a very busy seven days at the end of the month.  On top of all the usual fantastic offerings, the AAUS Board of Directors will also hold our Spring BOD meeting, assist with the New DSO Orientation, present and moderate at the Business and DSO meetings and generally make themselves available to attendees. It’s a lot of work, but it’s wha

Dive safe,
Jim Hayward
AAUS President




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