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What to Do If You Don't Like Your Dive Guide

In an uncomfortable situation, communication is key—follow these steps before you decide to call off a dive
By Annie Crawley | Published On June 28, 2024
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What to Do If You Don't Like Your Dive Guide

Lauren Rebbeck

Feeling uncomfortable with a dive guide can happen to anyone. Sometimes, they may touch or feed marine life, take divers deeper than their training allows, seem rushed and inattentive, or cut dives short. Being uncomfortable is never fun, but you can problem-solve your way out of the situation and safely back into the water.

Remember you can call a dive if you feel uncomfortable, but often, communication is enough to turn things around.

Politely pull aside the dive guide and express your concerns. Always lead with a compliment—it goes a long way to make our dive guides feel good and see the best in them. Find something ocean-, gear- or scuba-related to create a positive connection.

When sharing your concerns, be kind. Explain why you feel uncomfortable. Be honest and calm without being accusatory. There might be a misunderstanding that can be resolved by talking through the issue, or they might not realize their behavior is negatively affecting you.

Related Reading: How to Be a Better Underwater Navigator

In addition to communicating your concerns, do a self-check. Your safety is paramount and should always take priority. Diving is a psychological sport, and you need to be in the right state of mind when diving. Are you hydrated and well-rested? When we’re tired or jet lagged, we may not feel our best, and emotions can be heightened.

Are you a competent, qualified diver prepared for the diving the boat offers, or are you in too deep (pun intended)?

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When I worked as a dive guide around the world on boats, I saw many divers with many different skill levels. Open-water or advanced divers who earned their certification in the Caribbean will have different experiences than those who trained in a drysuit in cold water. Tides, currents, weather and more affect a dive.

Ask yourself if you are comfortable on boats and if your dive skills are up to par with what the destination requires. If not, instead of following a dive guide, perhaps you need to sign up for continuing education with an instructor.

Related Reading: Deep Diving 101: What You Should Know

If you and your buddy feel confident with the conditions and your abilities, ask if you can dive without a guide. If you are a single diver on the boat, ask other divers you feel more comfortable with to join their group. There’s usually more than one alternative to diving with a guide.

When researching a destination, take time to look into the dive operator too. There are unique dive cultures found at different dive boats and resorts. Read online reviews and ensure the operator you choose aligns with your expectations of a dive experience. Send an email in advance to answer questions and set expectations.

Interpersonal relationships affect us everywhere we go, including on dive boats. Dive professionals generally want to ensure their guests have the best experience possible. My advice: Lead with understanding but above all, prioritize safety, and respect your own boundaries.