Diving Etiquette – don’t be “that guy” (or gal)

by Jon Kieren

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There is one on every dive boat, you know… “That Guy”.  The one who tries every possible way to ruin your hard earned, well deserved, fun and relaxing dive trip. We’ve asked our members for a list of qualities that defines “That Guy” and here is what they came up with.

  • That Guy who walks into the dive shop with a binder full of certification cards and exclaims loudly “pick a card, any card!” We are all very happy that you are passionate about continuing education. However, your Ice Diver, Altitude Diver, and Dry Suit Diver cards aren’t really necessary in the Caribbean.
  • That Guy whose gear bag “explodes” all over the boat as soon as he boards. One fin here, the other over there, his wetsuit draped over your tanks, his left bootie is on the swim platform while the right is on the bow, and his regulator is draped over the ladder to the bridge while he dunks his BCD in the camera bucket to get the strap wet. Dive boats get crowded fast, pack your bag so you can take one item out at a time while you set up, using the least amount of real estate possible.
  • That Guy who decides that since he’s going diving anyway, it’s not entirely necessary to shower while on vacation. Again, dive boats get crowded quick and it’s often hot and humid… this, combined with diesel fumes and you still reeking of last night’s bad decisions can have a serious impact on the sea sickness tolerance of your fellow divers. Clean yourself up, it’s better for everyone.
  • That Guy who insists his last dive trip was far superior to any diving anyone else has ever done. After every dive, That Guy complains that it wasn’t as good as his last trip to wherever, and recommends everyone on the boat visit that place on their next trip instead of coming back to where they are now. Not only is this disrespectful to the dive operation you are diving with, but also to everyone who just got out of the water thoroughly satisfied. Now they are disappointed they didn’t see dolphins dancing with whale sharks while the manta ray played the harp with the mermaid, they want more… and it’s your fault.
  • That Guy who “doesn’t need to log dives anymore” yet cannot remember how much weight he needs. If you jump in the water and can’t get down because you don’t have enough weight, write that down somewhere so you know for next time. There’s a really good spot to do it too… it’s called your logbook!
  • That Guy that everyone is always waiting on. If you take a little longer to get your kit on and get in the water, start getting ready a little earlier than everyone else. That way everyone isn’t bobbing around on the surface waiting for you to start putting your wetsuit on. Also, if you know you have better air consumption than the rest of the group, ask if it’s okay to get in first and drop down with your buddy before everyone else. This way, the whole boat isn’t waiting around for you to finish your tank meanwhile it’s lunchtime and the other guests and boat crew are hungry… you don’t want to make the captain miss his lunch, trust us.

This is by no means a complete list of “That Guy” characteristics but you get the idea. The next time you’re on a dive boat take a look around; if you can’t spot “That Guy”… guess what? It might be you! We would love to hear your favorite stories about “That Guy” so please tell us in a comment below!

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16 Responses to Diving Etiquette – don’t be “that guy” (or gal)

  1. Leroco Foster says:

    Very helpful! I don’t ever what to be that guy!

  2. Perry Dixon says:

    I was on the boat with a “That Guy” off the coast of North Carolina a couple of years ago. Before we left the dock he started talking about how he has been diving since he was 10 in Florida and was an expert in all phases of the sport. He jumped in the water with a spear gun as soon as we got tied into the wreck, and within a few minutes ran out of air at 110′. Another diver had to abort his dive to escort “That Guy” to the surface. Not sure he ever realized he put himself and another diver in serious danger.

  3. markm says:


    I am not THAT GUY!

    I have a few rough edges that I am continually trying to file down, but nothing like THAT GUY!


  4. Charles B says:

    There’s also “that guy” who can’t control his/her buoyancy and doesn’t realize it. I had “that guy” land on top of me while I was hovering above the reef composing a picture. He knocked me right into the reef (and I missed my shot).

  5. Sean says:

    Awesome guys! Every now and then you run into those guys and you have to try your best to educate them on how maybe their techniques aren’t the best but instead of blantenly telling them like we want to, I found it better to reason and suggest better ways. Cheers. Safe diving

  6. Richard Howes says:

    I like a buddy to monitor their air and give the T for the Ton (used to be 100mph) which is now 100BAR, makes for a relaxed dive. Deep stuff is strictly by the pre-planned minute count. Plan the dive – dive the plan. I have dived with “That guy” – “This is my 873rd dive” and his buoyancy skills still SUCK and breathes like a train.

  7. Louise holloway says:

    Thanks for the tips, don’t want to be that gal!
    Going. On my first boat dive in the Seychelles in November and can’t wait

  8. Chuck says:

    That guy is the one that doesn’t listen to his instructors, knows it all, is a complete spaz in the water, and blows through his air in 10 minutes.

  9. Pat J says:

    As an instructor, I take special care to talk to my students about how not to be “that guy”. Thee guy that shows up late at the dive boat, that guy that won’t stop and listen to the dive brief, that guy who doesn’t check his air (in both tanks) until two minutes before getting in the water and makes everyone else wait while the DM changes out his tank…yep, that guy.

  10. Jake says:

    That guy has a tendency to swim under you or on top, often with poor buoyancy control and streaming bubbles up into your field of vision. Worse yet, he gives you a fin to the face. Personal space is even more important underwater.

  11. ScubaBob says:

    You spend time getting your camera framed to take a fantastic photo of a fish. Just as the fish appears, “that guy” blasts underneath you to take a picture and scares the fish away. On the boat he brags of his great shot and shows you the worst photo you have ever seen. Don’t be that guy!

  12. Tim says:

    Haha.. the author just described many of the divemasters and a number of instructors I have met on dive trips recently! “That Guy” did not even use EAMx on the dives when his team was on EAMx 34… but wanted everyone to follow his “air profiles” that day while his divers were on Nitrox. “That Guy” is often a “dive professional” who ruins it for paying customers!

  13. Janie says:

    That guy…. missed the brief (he was bragging about his skills to anyone that would listen), stripped to his tighty whities on deck (swim suits just make me uncomfortable) and then proceeds to put his wetsuit on (backwards) and has the gall to seriously ask if his weight belt goes on under – or over – his wetsuit. There was a That Gal on the boat too, but going back to that dive memory may put me back in therapy! :)

  14. SatRat says:

    Oh yes my wife, daughter and I got to experience, “That Guy!”, this past July when my daughter did her open water test in a teen camp out of Key Largo. Seems a senior teen diver, (all of 15), decided he was going to tell the Captain and Dive Master what to do, how to do it and how long for. U-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-e-a-b-l-e! Then he up chucked his breakfast in the head and left a not so nice present in the toilet bowl for the rest of the dive crew to admire. Of course he new everything about diving and made sure everybody knew that as well.. I did not think THAT GUY could be so young, but I guess they gotta start sometime.

  15. Lance says:

    “That Guy” is usually referred to as MAC (Most Annoying …) you get the picture

  16. Joe says:

    Well, I’m new here and am going to get certified on my next vacation. Great article and feedback, but I have one problem… “That Guy” is going to hear very bluntly from me that nobody cares how great (s)he is. When I get out diving, I’m not going to allow some bloke or blokette to ruin my adventures!

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