Gareth Lock is the inspirational founder of The Human Diver. On leaving his 25-year career in the RAF he was already an experienced diver having started to learn the sport in 1999. His very first dive took place in Greece while on holiday. However, it was while on work trips to Cape Town and San Diego that he knew diving would become an important part of his life.
As he became more experienced in diving, he realised that it was all about teamwork and there’s one thing the military do very well – working as a team. They know through extensive training and experience in the theatre of war that little mistakes around behaviour, poor decisions, lack of situational awareness and complacency costs lives.
Sadly, Gareth found that often in diving that holistic ethos was lacking. Teams were not always led well, did not get on with each other and members often operated in separate silos without any consideration for those also sharing that diving experience. Dysfunctional teams were often left to cope by instructors who had become complacent and disconnected. Much training focused on technical expertise – which is critically important – yet didn’t touch on the equal importance of human behaviour and team development.
Gareth decided to do something about it and has set himself a mission of introducing human factors training into the diving profession globally. It’s not always easy. There has been resistance to his systems-based approach. However, he’s remained committed and has travelled the world sharing his story.
Speakers: Matt Waters and Gareth Lock
Hey there , dive buddies and welcome to the show. My next guest has served 25 years in the Royal air force and fell in love with the sport of diving way back in 1999, he recognized that there was a significant similarity between life as a military man and that of a diver teamwork. However, there was an even more significant difference between the two when compared through the holistic ethos lens, he decided to do something about this and same self , a mission to introducing human factors, training into the diving profession globally. In 2019, he released a book entitled under pressure, which has since sold thousands of copies. Now I have to admit that I respect and admire him for his brave contributions to the dive industry. And I say brave, not because I’m admitting a macro shuttle rather than I recognize that difficulties and individual may face in attempting to create change, even when it is for the betterment of all involved. I honestly believe that what he has done so far will most definitely save lives and probably already has done. So, Mr. Gareth Locke , it’s an absolute pleasure to meet you. Welcome to the show.
Thank you very much. Really appreciate it. It says great to have an invite on here and yeah, it has been a challenge and has required a significant amount of persistence to , to get this girl .
Yeah, I bet. So , um, w w was it a little bit like a red flag football or something to you ? Like a little Jack Russell just chomping at the heels ?
Well, my , my sort of personality traits are about sort of values based and it’s like , I’ve got to get this done. And , and that actually has been a bit of a hindrance when I first started, because it was this , uh , evangelical approach of you have to change and, and a few people off and burnt a few bridges and took a number of years to, to rebuild those. Um, and I think that’s the same with anybody. Who’s got a strong value based . Who’s trying to create change. It’s, it’s tempering that, that attitude to look for the long game, rather than trying to do something. Now, you’re never going to change the direction of , uh , uh, you know , saying iceberg, you know, the one that’s broken off the Antarctica, you’re never going to change that direction really easily. Um, it takes little nudges and actually where I’ve had the biggest successes is bottom up rather than top down. Um, because there are people at the bottom who recognize actually this is really useful, knowledgeable stuff that as you say will , and I already know that with people, who’ve emailed me saying, you know what? I listened to, you know, a webinar or a podcast, or read something of yours or watch their phone only . And that’s changed my attitude as to how , um, how I’ve approached a and I’ve thumbed it early , uh , or I’ve not got in, or I’ve changed what we were going to do. And to me, that that’s a huge, huge buzz because it’s like, yes, you know, the , the changing one person at a time is , uh, this is how you can change the world. Yeah . It takes a long time.
Well, you’ve got to start somewhere and then just spread the legs. Um, now just to back it up , uh, we smudge for those people that are listening that have no clue what human factors is. Do you want to try and break it down into its most simplistic form? Just so we’ve got a basis to go from. Yeah ,
Yeah, yeah, sure. So in its simplest term, it is how to make it easier to do the right thing and harder to do the wrong thing. And that means looking at individuals, it means looking at work or tasks, and he’s looking at equipment, it means looking at interactions and paperwork and understand how to reduce the friction to do the right thing. So for example, you know, checklists are a big thing in diving at moments. And then when you look at how they’re written, they’re often sweeping generalization here, a written from a point of view of liability rather than execution. So there’s a huge body of evidence that says, how do you design a checklist that takes human performance variability that could be errors , um, and try to design them out and a checklist. Isn’t just a piece of paper floor . It doesn’t , it’s not just a piece of paper to make it effective. It requires a social and a cultural setup and a mental approach that says I’m using this checklist because I’m fallible and I will make a mistake and it’s getting that message across. So there’s a whole raft of issues that , that need to be addressed in a, as you sort of touched on earlier holistic manner or systemic way, rather than trying to cherry pick or fix the diver. Cause they’re there , the stupid ones is actually creating an environment where it’s easier to do the right thing and harder to do the wrong thing. Yeah.
Yeah. And I suppose one of the major barriers that you’ve got there is , um, piece of people’s personal feelings of embarrassment. If they’re going to thumb a dive when everyone else has more confident or more experienced, whatever,
Oh, totally. That , you know, the peer pressure that we’re under and the, you know , ultimately we’re social creatures. We , we like to be conform to the social norms. And, and that’s why, you know, you can start to create change at a lower level with individuals and small groups, because then you can start to get a swelling it’s quite difficult to create change top down because you still need to create that, that swell, that, that, that influence and social conformance that happens. But you know, that that sort of peer pressure, it might be touched on in , in diver training and instructor development. But I don’t think it’s anywhere near emphasized how much influence instructors leaders and peers have on others’ behaviors. And you don’t have to say something almost silence is enough to speak volumes. Um, when somebody questions is this a good idea? And I , nobody even acknowledges that, that, you know, Oh, I’m not sure about this Barbie . Okay. And you haven’t actually said anything or you’ve just agreed with them. Um, so there’s, there’s a huge bit that that looks at, or that should be looked at in terms of interactions.
Hmm . So the idea behind the training that you provide is to teach people not only how to recognize it in themselves, but have the confidence to be able to say so, and also recognize it in other people within the group that I’m in with.
Yeah, totally. I mean, and actually the core of the training is based around the premise of creating a shared mental model and an idea of what we’re going to do as a team and why are we going to do it? And that means that if there is some form of dissent , you know , which is a good thing or some conflict that the , the peers and the leadership have created environment where actually you don’t need to have courage. Um, there’s often this bit of people, you know , that you need to be brave to speak up. This level of bravery is needed to overcome some fear. And the fear is generated by the social environment that the leaders, the instructors, the peer group that are there and therefore it’s their responsibility to change that attitude, that, that , uh , environment, so that it is easy to speak up rather than having to be brave and go, well , I’m going to put my neck out on the line here because I’m going to say something that isn’t quite right. Um, so it’s, yeah, there’s a lot to do. And that is a normal human thing. Um, because we are, if we go back, you know , thousands of years to the African Savannah , where you lived in a tribe in a thorn Bush ring, because that was the protection from the lines , Hey , you had to be conformed to the norms of the group because as long as you got booted out, outside the phone book and you’re on your own, so there are very good reasons why we have social conformance, whether or not there is as valid as they are, is a different thing, but you know, it’s hardwired . So yeah, the training is, is create that shared mental model so that people know what’s happening next. And if something deviates, then they’re able to sort of ask the question and say, is this right? Are we going in the right direction? Is this the right part of the wreck ? Shouldn’t we have turned round on the reef at this point, you know , it’s , there , there are lots of things where, where this applies . Hmm .
So when we’re talking about it straight away, I’m thinking about a blog that I wrote about three years ago. And then I was trying to describe , um, newcomers to the dive and industry or those that want to do that open water training. And the two examples I had was the alpha male who, you know, really big. I can do all this and don’t need to listen. And , uh, the timid lady, you know, who would just focus and then do and do everything correct. And for me, the human factor error all the way I see it though, is that Mr. Belli big, the alpha male , um, was, was hide in his true , um , fears and incompetencies of what was coming. And I think it does make me look towards the , uh, professional side of dive in and ask the question if there’s been people qualified to hastily too quickly and, you know, thinking of zero to hero. And then all of a sudden, you’re now teaching people who have no clue how to dive in a wide variety of , um, scenarios. Um, I suppose you bring in human factors into it kind of puts a big question, Mark all over all of that stuff that the majority of us in the dive industry know it occurs, but don’t really approach the subject.
Yeah. It it’s , um, it is a bit of an elephant in the room. And so going to , to a wider sort of safety view as to why that perception exists of why the current practices are okay, a lot of safety is measured as the absence of accidents. So if you don’t have any accidents and we don’t have any injuries , um, we must be doing something right now that doesn’t take into account the number of people who are scared , um, who go off and do some training and an , a terrified , um, they they’ve got that tick and they’ve moved on and gone. I went diving, but I didn’t like it. And yet there shouldn’t be a reason for that. Yes, there will be a small percentage who are , um , not suited to diving and, you know, and they aren’t , um, being the right mental place to be underwater. So, you know, you then look at, so the sort of why the situation ends up as it is, is because you can cut away the safety margins, the experience, the time that people are supposed to do during training. And until you have lots of accidents, you must be doing something. Okay. And again, that’s normal human behavior. We will look for short term gains over waiting for long-term benefits. Um, and , and in the case of, of diving and instruction and the zero, the hero of it is cool. I get to be a dive instructor. And I , I , you know , I get to make money out of my hobby. Um, and you’re right. That as long as, as long as the training environment in which the students are being taught is not very , um, risky, you know, that there’s no additional Jake dangers involved and everything goes fine. That actually the training must have been okay. The problem is we don’t know what’s going to happen on the, on the dive or with a student. And so actually you need to have a , almost a bigger box. You’ve got the, sort of the core competencies or core skills that you need. And then there’s the bit that says, sit a bit further out than that, that says these there excursions that you might have. And my, you know, my personal view is a lot of diver instructor training is teaching instructors how to teach a student how to pass a class, which is not the same as how to teach a diver, how to dive in the real world. Um, and, and if your measure is, is people graduating well, w without issues, you must be doing something right. Um,
Yeah. And that inherent skill embedded into second nature.
Yeah. And they get out of jail card for the organizations is you are only , uh , certified to dive in conditions equal to better than you’ve already been certified. Um, so that, that’s the bit that says , well, actually, you, you went diving in the condition that you weren’t trained for. Therefore, it’s your fault. It’s like, well, hang on a minute. You know, you’ve got to look at this at a system level rather than an individual level.
Yeah. But what , where does the system start and stop for you? Because I was kind of discussing this podcast before we started a , a couple of days ago. Actually, I’ve got a buddy of mine coming on next week. I Steinback , no , look , I , um, he’s a cost director up in Cairns. And I wanted to clarify for myself, albeit I am a multi-agency instructor. I wanted to know specifically where the law starts and stops when it comes to training. And it’s so ambiguous , isn’t it? And he , his answer was literally when that, when people are in training, then you have to follow the letter of the law. And the letter of the law is written by whichever agency is teaching and whichever agency you’re teaching under. But as soon as that person is qualified and they go off on their own, there’s then no law that says a diver can’t do what they want. Um, so as soon as they are outside the boundaries of what they’ve been taught, then, you know, the agencies are safe.
Oh, totally. And you know, the way that risk is managed is all about risk transference. So from an eight , you know , if I look at, so you ask the question, where’s the boundary of the system that this to me, the system starts at the agency’s level, or actually the bodies above. So the rebury, the trainee council, the recreation, scuba training council, the world recreation , steward, training council. Those are the levels. That’s the , this almost the top boundary. There might be some government regulation that sits above that depending on the country you’re in. And then it ends down at the individual diver. Now that’s the system, whether or not people have control or influence about what happens within that system. Well, that’s, that’s the way that the system has been constructed. And so the way the organizations are set up is about transferring risk from them liability to the lowest level possible. That’s what any organization would do. So the use of liability waivers , uh , transfers all of those things. It’s about getting the risk down to the diver and or the instructor. Um, you know, your point about agency standards. I have to teach to the agency standards because otherwise, if something goes wrong, I’m liable. Now those agency standards may not be the best that are out there, but they are at a level which allows the agency to manage their own individual risk . Um, by bypassing it on, you know, is it achievable to do those tasks? Yes. Right. It’s an instructor problem. If something goes wrong, if a diver goes out on a dive operation, they will nearly always sign , uh , what , depending on where you are in the world, liability waiver forms. Um, and now I am accepting responsibility for what happens on this dive. Now, interestingly in the UK. And I think Europe, they have to change the liability waiver forms because I cannot sign away my right for your incompetence. Now, you know, to Sue based on that, I can’t Sue based on my end competence, but I can suit based on your incompetence. Um , whereas a lot of international waiver forms basically say, I even Sue you, if you’re incompetent, there’s time, we’ll hang on a minute. That’s your responsibility to look after me. So, you know , where does the system, and , and start that it’s about when those students are in their class, teaching them about the genuine risks that exist, not just about the physical risk of being underwater, but also the social risks that are there. So peer pressure, or the fact that we will drift , we will have this normalization of deviance and Dan, or has just published a great piece in GEs in-depth blog today, talking about normalization of deviance and, you know , looking at the fact that it is a normal behavior to go from here’s my rules and I’m drifting. And I will, I will say, reduce my minimum gas. I’m going to end a dive with, or exceed my deck or the runtime or whatever it is. And everything goes okay, or it could be having more students on a class than you’re supposed to because I generate more revenue that way, but things don’t go wrong. Therefore nobody knows what what’s happening. So explaining these normal human behaviors allows risk to be better managed after the training course or whatever it is, understanding those error producing conditions, the stressors that lead us to erode the safety margins that are on , um, that is not explicitly taught in the training materials that, that I’ve had people come , my ports go , and I’m an instructor for this agency and this agency, and so-and-so this isn’t, it might be touched on, but it is not explicitly explained. And it really should be put into the training programs that are there.
Sure. Are you trying to get them in there? You must be.
I, I am. And I have been for quite a while, and I understand the resistance from their part because actually, and this is often something that’s forgotten is that the training agencies are businesses, albeit you know, publishing houses to develop training materials that then sell onto instructor, trainers and instructors, and then students trying to make money out of human factors based training is really difficult because it doesn’t actually give you anything extra. It doesn’t allow you to go diving any deeper. It doesn’t lay to use any new equipment. Um, what it does is it allows you to use your brain a bit more effectively. I think also part of the resistance is that the majority of the decision makers in the, the training agencies have never done any training with me. So they don’t even know what the programs are about and how it could fit into their existing training materials. So there’s a bit of , um, let me say genuine ignorance , um, from , from their part of what it looks like and how it can fit in. And the difficulty is that I’m not a diving instructor, so I don’t reach any of those agencies. So I don’t know what the materials look like, where it slot in, where you could tell a specific story about maybe cognitive biases, why we make the decisions we do, or how to create effective communications within a team , um , by using certain techniques that are there or how a team evolves in a training environment, and then how it evolves in the real world diving environment and the weaknesses that , that need to be recognized and dealt with. So it’s a bit of a, an unknown from their side and I get it, you know, that they’re there to make money , um, that they’re not charities
I’m gonna, I’m gonna play devil’s advocate. And , um, it obviously does have a massive place in our industry, but doesn’t have a place in recreational dive in for your, some of vacation kind of guys that dive once or twice a year that can’t even remember how to put their equipment together. Are they going to be able to remember what, what human factors is it about?
Um , so actually the real benefit of if human factors is taught well is it’s transparent to the activities that you’re doing. Um, and I suppose to answer your question, is there something that that can help? Yes. So at a, at a recreational level is the recognition that they’re fallible, that they will make mistakes. That that’s the first thing. Um, and then look at what are the strategies for , um, making sure that we reduce the likelihood and that would be doing pre dive check. You know, that that’s a checklist, it’s making sure that the instructors and the dive masters who are operating in that environment, role model, correct behaviors, because the, those recreational divers, if you know, they’re there for a week , um, on a holiday and they might be diving three or four times, they will look to the instructor or the dive master, or the guide for what should be being done. And if the instructors and that the guides dive masters, don’t do any pre dive checks. You know, the, the , uh, the clients will then turn around and go, Oh, cool. When you get to be really good, you don’t have to do checks, whereas actually the other way round. So it’s, it’s how you influence others. So it doesn’t have to be pure directive and part of the lesson, but it can be influenced and role model by behaviors, by others within the, or by others within the, this sort of system that, that the dive center or , or the liverboard or whatever.
And to be honest, I mean, you touched on one of my pet hates, there is people not setting up their own equipment and not know how to do it properly. And I spent a year in two fi in Papua New Guinea, and every diver that came to visit and dive with us, had to do their own equipment sets up before they go on the boat just the first time. And then the boys would take over and they could check as the boys go. But just for my own sanity and sanitization, you do your own gear and you would be amazed at how many guests would complain because they have to do their own equipment. And then the humility, when they realize that they don’t know how to do their own equipment, because they’ve not done it for so long now , surely that answered an inherent problem. That’s going on in our industry already with trying to be too customer Carey . And , you know , um, and again, for the guests that are assuming everything’s going to be done for them now leads me onto another little point. We were discussing a couple of days ago, and that’s the , um , I’m going to go on a little rant now , um, assumption and , uh , Dougal , Windsor Wilson on Facebook. He asks about assumptions as well. And the assumptions from the guests there that that dive guide is going to do everything for them. It is my pet hate that people expect a dive pro to look after them on the boat, under the water. If there’s any emergencies, the diaper is going to sort it out. And then if anything goes wrong, the dive bros, asphalt and all of this stuff, and I don’t want to rent too much. All of this stuff is in my opinion, what you are trying to get clarification on for the world and get it set straight, where everyone everyone’s in their own little box, everyone works as a team. Everyone knows how everything should and does happen. And then we’ve got clarity, hopefully.
Yeah. So, you know , going right back to, where does the system begin if you think about where those divers have got those assumptions and those behaviors from is when they would have been learned to dive and as guests, they will have been given the minimum amount of instruction time , um, to set up their gear. It would have been demoed, and then they would have been, you know, stuffed would have been done for them. Tick, you’ve done that skill. You’ve put your reg on the cylinder, you put your BC on the cylinder, right? Done. You’ve demonstrated you can do that skill. Now we’ve got people who will do that for you. So all you need to do is pitch up, listen to some lectures, you know, again, sweeping generalizations , listen to some lectures, watch some videos, get on the boat, go out to the dive site. And, you know, you get fed and watered and treated nicely. You get kitted up, people help you with, with what’s going on. And then you jump in and somebody is going to shepherd you. And so, you know, a lot of that , that initial diver training and development, you will have an instructor with you, or you have a guide with your dive master with you. And there isn’t the clarity that says you are responsible for your activities. I’m paying you a shed load of money to take me diving. Then I’m taking you to the dive site and you have that. So there is this looking at, how does it make sense for somebody write it? I’m going to say the sharp end as a term from the safety world, the person who’s right at the coalface, you know, doing stuff, how does it make sense for them to do what they did ? Well, if you look back at their experiential journey and, and how they developed and, and how they got to where they are, that’s , that’s why they behave the way they do and why?
Well, I’ve got to pick on you. You did say it’s a sweeping statement. It is a big sweeping statement because there’s a lot of instructors out there that are very, very good and very meticulous at what they do. But over time you add in skill fade and the ignorance of, you know, future guests and liverboards , and , and, you know, more lackadaisical dive professionals, then yeah , it will creep in, but I just wanted to make sure we don’t get shot down in flames there that all professionals.
Yeah . And so, yeah , I totally agree. And there are lots of professionals out there, and actually we only hear about the negative outcomes that are there. They, you know, they have a , uh , a disproportional effect to our understanding, and that’s a cognitive bias. You know, we have a recall or a recency effect where if something happens and it’s got emotional, significant, emotional , um, baggage associated with it, we’ll be able to recall it more easily. And, you know, going back to defending the organizations, numerically, statistically diving is pretty safe. You’ve probably got more chance of being killed or injured driving to the dive site than you do on the dive. Now that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t improve what goes on in diving, but if you look at it from an organizational point of view of how much risk are we willing to tolerate? Well, that’s a, that’s a sound number. Now, you won’t get any of the organizations to tell you what that , uh, you know, as low as reasonably practicable number is because that would be, you know , commercial, reputational, suicide to say, yes, we’re happy with a fatality rate of X , uh, in, in those sectors. And to be honest, it’s not our problem. We’ve given them the standards off they go. Um , so, you know, we go back to transparency, risk management again. Yeah.
Now , um, I know you’ve had a struggle all the way along the journey so far bringing this into the dive industry, but I’ve got to ask when you released the book, you must have seen quite a significant upturn of interest. It seems to explode when you , uh, when you released that book.
Yeah. And so I’d been struggling. So I suppose the journey started in 2010 11, where I wrote a white paper looking about diving incident reporting and , um, safety management in the UK diving industry. And , and it went down like a bit of a lead balloon. Um, and shortly after that, I started a PhD part-time self funded PhD. Um, and the struggle there was, nobody was really interested in what I was doing. My goal was to try and produce something like a , um, something that happens in aviation, where they’ve got a structure, which looks at organizational failures, supervisory failures, individual failures, where we set ourselves up. So we’re tired, or we’re not prepared or things like, and then there’s the act of failure. So we make a slip or a mistake or a lapse, or we , we break a rule. So that went on for about six years. And in the end I stopped doing it because I was spending money. I wasn’t getting anywhere, but in January, 2016, I ran the first face-to-face training program that developed , um, as a pilot that went well, another one in February, another one in April. And then somebody said, well, why don’t you do the pre-learning that’s there and set it up as a standalone course. And I got some traction there as people doing online learning and got some really positive feedback from people saying, look, this stuff is, you know, should be in the training materials. And it wasn’t until probably the spring of 18 where I was running a face-to-face class. And somebody had said, why don’t you write a book about this? Because people will consume it as a book rather than doing online materials. So I had thought about that. So then they spent the next probably from the summer four or five months in, in the summer of 18 writing it, and then the next sort of six months getting it edited and turned around and things like that. And I’d spent a fair amount of time trying , you know, three marketing training of how do I market this, because it’s a really difficult topic to market because I was trying to do it from a safety perspective. And you never market , um, away from a threat. What you do is you Mark it towards a benefit because it’s what people will want, not what people are trying to get away from. Right . Um , so I’d spent a lot of time how to try and market this. So I spent the total end of 18 marketing the book and getting the first two chapters out there so people could go on. So I had a pretty big list by the time the book was released in March 19. And I spent a lot of time packaging up and signing books and posting them out. And then it starts getting into the hands of, you know, it’s a terrible term influences and not just in the sort of sports diving industry, but in the scientific and the military and the commercial, and actually people in traditional safety as well. We’ll pick it up and go, Oh, hang on. This is really good. And then it starts spreading out. So yeah, the, the rise was, was, was really nice to see because it’s like, yes, there is, there is value being created out there. Yeah . What I write in the books now, though, is knowledge is not enough. We must apply willing is not enough. We must do. Um, and , and it’s attributed to Bruce leave that came from God before that we’ll go to , um, and you know, it’s great. I read this now, do something with it. I mean , that means I have to change what I change to change requires a bit of effort and energy and things like that. But starting to get people to talk about things is it’s been huge benefit .
Yeah. And is it , um, is the way forward to , um, introduce human factors to the newer divers, the younger divers, the ones that are more accepted , uh, that more , they’re more keen to, to absorb the information that’s going to help them progress rather than the , the ones that might be stuck in their ways and find it difficult to introduce that change.
Um, so actually I’ve now got five other instructors who are, so it’s not just me. I’ve got , um, I’ve got two in the States or two in Canada at the moment. Um, I got one in Belgium Holland, I’ve got one in Egypt and , um, our traveler and one of the UAE. So they, they do some of that sort of the sharing site . And actually they’re all with the exception of one, they’re all diving instructors. So they give me ideas of where this could fit in. So there is a , uh, a multi-pronged approach. One is to go in and try and simplify it at the , um, probably the, the rescue diver dive master level , um, to try and get some interest there, to get some interest at the, in the se tech, curious, those people are sitting there going right, what what’s tech diving about. Um, and so we’re talking about kit and depth and insight , actually, a lot of it’s about in your head , uh , and, and how to make more effective decisions and how to recognize that you’re going to expose yourself to greater risk and an understanding and practicing the stuff that’s in the book helps mitigate and control some of those. And then the other bit is going in at the sort of experienced instructors. Again, we go back to the influencer term to get them to start even just using the language. Once we start changing words, we can change worlds. And that’s not my quote. That’s somebody else’s, I forgot it’s shrunk, but is you , you change the language. Um, and people will start changing their own behaviors accordingly. Um, and I’ve seen that probably over the last two or three years, and being in bigger Facebook groups where there’s this concept of local rationality, how does it make sense for people to do what they did? And now I see other people posting those same bits or they’ll tag me in, Oh, it’s great. You know , um , and I’ll add a little bit of extra, but the fact that people are now able to gonna say, fight those battles, using stuff that I’ve given is incredibly rewarding and it will, it will start cascading out, but it’s, it’s a huge journey to, to go on. Um, and I I’m , I’m, I’m up for it
And it, well , it’s , it’s not gonna stop growing, is it, I mean, you’re , you’ve, you’ve mentioned you’ve got five , um, instructors. Oh yeah. Give him a shout out .
So there’s the five instructors I’ve got at the moment and there’s four in training and waiting for them to sign off . So the five instructors, Guy Shockey who’s in Vancouver, there’s Helen Pellerin . Who’s in Quebec, there’s Bart Den Ouden, who’s in the Netherlands. And then Jenny Lord in Dahab and Daryl Owen is in the UAE. And I got four others who, and that’s Meredith Tanguay who’s in Florida. Uh, Chris Tomlin , a UK , uh , Beatrice Rivara in Italy and Mike Mason, who’s up in Newcastle . So two weeks ago we were supposed to be running the certifying workshops, but obviously COVID has knocked that on the head. So I’m hoping as soon as we can start traveling, I can get to , uh , to certify them. And then there’ll be four more instructors able to, to deliver the materials. Okay .
So we’re going to have nine , nine global instructors. That’s it, that’s a hefty run from when was the book released 2019, was it? And then we’ve had a year if we can exclude last year because we didn’t do anything.
Well, interestingly, didn’t do anything face to face. But to me COVID actually was a bit of a, a blessing in disguise because people were in stuck at home going [inaudible] and I’d already started in 2000 tail end of 2019, delivering a webinar based 10 week program. Um, and since then I’ve delivered six of those. So there’s about 200 people , um, have gone through some training , um, since, you know , since the , by the online webinar basis. Um, so, and they then speak and , uh , I’ll give a shout out to Mateas , uh , who’s down in Victoria. Um, he’s changed the, the culture of his club having come on a course with me last year and gone, ah , this is blow my mind. I can’t stop thinking about it. I’m going to take this stuff. And they got rid of the wooden weight belt award within their club, which was about the biggest or most embarrassing screw up. Somebody had done the previous year. And he said, let , just really demeaning. This is, you know, yes, it’s funny, but nobody’s really happy to receive this. So he stopped that and I said, well , you could still turn it around. You could still issue a prize, but do it for the biggest learning experience of the year when it comes to diving. Um, and now you’ve, you’ve recognized the learning that’s happening in the club . So really proud of [inaudible]
Victoria as in Australia. Yeah ,
Yeah , yeah, yeah, yeah. In Melbourne
I’ll come and have a dive. I’ve not dived Melbourne yet. And I keep itching to do it every time I go there . It’s just not long enough to be there. Yeah. Itching, my tests . I’ll come diving with you and I don’t want the wooden belt.
Well, then you can have the best learning experience that would go positive thing. Yeah .
Yeah . Um, well, as soon as we’re talking about Australia and you’re obviously in the UK and we’ve mentioned Canada America on the kind of thing. Um, one thing I’ve noticed with, with work in a dive in , in various locations around the world now is that when you go to particular countries, they have a different kind of take on how you should be diving now, by that, I mean , um, Thailand, some people will moan about it, say it’s bit blahzay. Well, it’s not , um , those places that are , uh , very dense population of people going through basic training, the courses tend to be run quite tight because they’ve got to be up to standard with everyone else who’s producing. Um, conversely you come to Australia and , um, I was, he’s a pretty laid back and, you know, take everything in stride. Um, and I find it quite shocking to see how many people go solo dive in just off the shoreline air , um, with no redundant as supplies . And it just seems to be the norm. I find that quite frightening, but I think there’s gotta be a place there for, I think we mentioned it, the what’d you call it the other day called culture or cultural differences , cultural awareness yet, have you , have you experienced much of that so far going through the training and the , the guys that you’ve been doing these courses with?
Not necessarily because there are self-selecting audience that, that comes on the , the training programs anyway, so that then they’re the early adopters. So the people who see that , the benefit of self-development , um , what I have seen is , um, a little bit about, I haven’t done much out in the , in, you know, I’ve done some training in New Zealand and Australia, I’ve done one session in Bali, but they were all sort of ex-pats that are, were in Bali . So they weren’t really indicative of the culture that’s there. Um, in, in Europe, there are certainly different , um , behaviors between sort of countries. Um, so it’s certainly an area that needs to be looked at in terms of incidents, but I don’t think I haven’t really encountered it myself. Now, what I did find interesting were your comment about Thailand. So here’s a cognitive bias straight away is that my, my perception of learning to dive out in Thailand is not great because it’s about getting people through the door as quickly as possible. And the driving factor is more about money than quality because of the clientele that you’re likely to be training in the day . They want a bucket ticket, you know, bucket list ticket that says done diving, move on. Yeah , yeah . And the, you know, the , the w I don’t know whether or not your use of the word tight meant tight as they enter the high quality and they were having to compete, or whether or not they were tight because they were running back to back courses. And so they couldn’t , um, th there’s no flex for somebody who’s not quite good enough to have some extra dives , but I find sign off and off you go. Um, so yeah, there is a huge amount that that needs to be taken into account in culture. So go back to your book, rumble, rumble, rumble, go back to your point that solar dive in Australia, look at the system and , and the, how the, the local culture will change risk perceptions, and what can be done to do that. So if you know that something is lacking in an output where you need to change what the input is. So it’s that the instructors, if they’re not happy about people solo diving, because that’s the norm. Well , actually there needs to be more emphasis on teamwork and shared mental models and not relying, but working together as a team during the training program, because if it’s not emphasized, then most courses are individuals who come together as a group learn, and they go off, they don’t interact and operate together as a team, and you can do that to recreation level. It just requires the instructor to up their game and up their knowledge and their skills to be able to teach that. So , um , and you know , the fact that they don’t take redundant air supplies with them. Well, if that’s not something that’s been emphasized or taught or brought up in training, don’t be surprised that people don’t do it outside of the training because you know, and their argument, well, they should know about these risks. They can learn from others. Well , then we get into the social conformance piece. Well, everybody else is diving without redundant air. Why do I need to, because they’re not all dropping like flies, therefore it must be safe. So these are all bits of the human factors, jigsaw , jigsaw puzzle that needs to be taken into account. Oh, it’s huge . It’s huge. And I think this is, you know, the human factors is, is general and approach and specific in application. And by that, I mean, cognitive biases, social interactions, the way we make decisions, Lehman make communications. There’s a huge body of research that explains how this works, but how to create change at an individual level or a team level or a dive center level has to be specific. So I I’m much better at answering specific problem type questions than writing something generic because you write something generic people go that doesn’t apply to me. That doesn’t apply to me. That’s another bias that we have, you know, that they’re different to me. So it doesn’t apply to me well , hanging on it. Why is it any different? But I have got examples of being in Southeast Asia where authority, or , or the social culture, which is normally termed as a sort of authority gradient where a junior diver or an experienced diver won’t question, a more senior person. Yeah . But it’s not as simple as just this seniority piece. It’s about respect. And we are a family that actually we’re going to , we wouldn’t question our fathers or uncles, or, you know, the patriarch set up because they might give me something later on. And so you get to be in situations. And I know instructors who operate out there where they will , um , fail something on the leader, the team leader, the dive is going on and the rest of the team, or they will get the leader to make a mistake. And the rest of the team will just sit there and not question or challenge what’s going on. And so there’s, there’s a huge learning that’s needed for the instructors to understand these behaviors and come up with strategies to inform their students that says, look, once you’re out of the , the cover and the protection of an instructional setting, you’re out on your own. And that means that you have to be aware of these. And if things do go wrong, you have to say something before it becomes catastrophic. So it’s , yeah , it’s a , it’s a huge jigsaw puzzle.
Yeah. Yeah. Uh , how much that man , I’m sitting here listening to you and just thinking back over what we’ve discussed over the last, however long, and it’s an awkward topic. I mean, we’ve got to say it is an awkward topic to talk about. And especially, I mean, I’m , I’m, I’m not forwarding, I’m not shy in coming forward and speaking what I want to speak. Um, but I found myself second, you know, thinking twice thinking before I speak, which is not usually me. Um, so I think I can now understand a little bit more why it takes 10 weeks of webinars to get this training across because you’ve got some, some massive voids to cross. And so a lot of barriers to break down for this to be a success.
Oh , totally. And, you know, I look at where aviation, you know , started in the eighties because they were blaming pilots for pilot error, sticking the aircraft in the ground because they were not paying attention or miscommunicating and ropes wrong selections , but ultimately boiled down to pilot error. And it wasn’t until they started looking at the cockpit voice reporters and the flight data recorders. And they said, well , hang on a minute. They , they , there was an awareness of what was going on, but they were unable to share that picture amongst the rest of the crew. And when they did, it was potentially too late. And then they start looking at, well, hang on with it. The errors didn’t just happen in the cockpit. They would have been developed from the aircraft design or air traffic controls, design, or airport design, and start looking further back up. So you start taking a systems view about what’s going on. So even though aviation has been doing this for 40 plus years, 50 years or so, they still have issues and they still have, you know, aircraft crashes, they still have miscommunication issues, all of those things. And that’s an incredibly regulated industry. Healthcare has been doing it for probably about 15 years and they really struggle , um , because of the dynamic environment, the pressures and the social cultural issues that exist in , in a healthcare environment. Um, and in the UK, they’re starting to bring some formal structure to human factors into the clinical environment based on work by a guy called Martin Bromley. Um, who’s formed the clinical human factors group as a way of trying to get that. And there’s now governmental support to , to what they’re doing and , and the colleges that surgeons needs , tests, dentists , whatever. And now starting to put stuff together , um, in the diving industry, it’s, it’s me and abandon followers who are going, this is a good idea. We need to do it. Um, and , and I get the resistance there. Aren’t dead bodies lying up. Therefore it must be okay.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I didn’t say right. I suppose I didn’t right at the start of this bloody episode, to be honest, Eva, you’re 25 years in the air force. You’re actually a navigator , wouldn’t you? Yeah.
Yeah. Hercules navigator in a multi-crew environment and then went on and did a master’s in aerospace systems, which is where my knowledge of human factors and sort of the deeper knowledge. And that’s when I sort of started digging deeper and then went into flight trials , um, with Airbus. So picked up some human factors stuff there, then worked in research and development and then worked in procurement and systems engineering. So very broad view of the world. And it was during the, the latter sort of five years of my time in the air force. That’s not in PhD. Um, so yeah, huge breadth .
I’ll just get a psych , a anyone, any of the divers that are out there. Thank you . I’m not gonna listen to this fellow. He’s not even, he’s not even a professional. He’s not even an instructor. Well, I think you kind of top it for , um, you know, having experienced in a structured , uh , work environment and how teamwork comes together.
Yeah. And so, yeah, and from the diving side of the majority of my training has gone through gue. Um, so I did fundamentals in 2006. Uh, we’re only had about 40 dives to my name. So I was , I was really lucky that I didn’t have to unlearn a bunch of stuff. Um, and then since then , um, I’ve probably got about 800 dives , uh , certified at the highest levels to, you know, my highest levels of GV take two, which is , uh , an advanced tronics course and , uh, JJ rebreather , which I’m going to get recertified on the end of may , um, to get back up to speed on that. So, but I know there was a question about rebreathers.
Yeah. That was , um, uh, Lisa, Lisa, Marie. Yeah. Um, what are your thoughts on rebreathers then ? That was a , that’s a whole new ,
My view on rebreathers. Um, are they safe? Are they unsafe? Uh, a piece of equipment is not unsafe in of itself. And it’s a simple example is a hairdryer could be safe. It’s not particularly safe . You sit in a bath and put the hairdryer in the water with you. Um, and , and so it’s this need to look at a system again. So rebreathers have been designed to the level that the , um, the market will support. And by that, I mean, is it costs manufacturers money to design builds , certify, and they’ve got to recoup that money. And then they’ve got to make a profit. Otherwise they’re not a valid, sustainable business. So the diving community won’t pay much more than they pay or ready , um, for , for what’s there. So in terms of maturity and equipment set, it’s probably, you know, there are little nuances, but it’s probably about as mature as it’s going to get. Then we look at the other pieces of the system and that’s the training agencies, the instructors and the divers themselves , um, and how they all come together is how to create a safe diving, converter, calm , a safe diving operation on a rebreather and recognize that it’s working together that creates safety, not a reboot . Rebreather is unsafe. The difficulty is that there is, again, there is no formal training that goes into agency training materials that talk about human fallibility and cognitive biases, and why checklists are designed the way they are. They could probably be improved , um, to make them, you know, to have less friction , um, to be in a situation that you operate as a team. And if one of the team isn’t using a checklist that you’ve created the environment that actually, if I’m not using a checklist, I expect you to call me out. And if you are not using one, I’m going to call you out. And there is no, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s , it’s, it’s not easy because those, those soft bits are not easy to measure. Um, it’s much easier to measure simple compliance when you’re delivering a course, but that doesn’t necessarily help you , um, develop competencies and attitudes. And the , the final piece then is the expectation that if you haven’t read, reached a standard, then you don’t get a certification. Now I know some agencies put that in the hands of the instructor that says, are they, have, they got the right attitude to dive this equipment? If not, then you can refuse certification. That has to be explained really clearly before the course starts, because otherwise you’re going to end up with a whole world of hurt that says, hang in there . I matched all the skills and it’s just your opinion that I’m not safe. And so, you know, you end up with conflict there. Yeah . So to answer the question, Lisa, my view is they are a valid too , and they’re potentially safer than open circuit at certain depths . Um, how have you also need to train in shallower debts to be able to go to the deeper depths, to , to be competent when things go wrong and you also need to have the attitude that says this thing can fail. I need to know what it’s doing all the time, and I can resolve those failures. And that means I need to go and practice them. And there’s nothing wrong with doing drills in a quarry in the shallows to make sure that you’re competent to deal with almost no notice failures, because those failures, if we knew they were going to come, we’d do something about them.
For sure. I mean , it’s gotta be second nature. And the only way you’re gonna be able to do that is through training.
Yeah. W with effective feedback. Yeah.
Yeah. Happy days we’ve been going on for quite some time now. So it must be time for your breakfast and time for me to have a beer. So it’s been an absolute pleasure mate. How can people just get in touch with, with you and where can they find you online? We’ll put them in the show notes as well, but give them a call .
Yeah. So the easiest way is the human diver.com. Um, and , uh, that there’s a contact page there that, that sends out a form through to me. Um, so that that’s the easiest bit. There’s a Facebook page as well, or a Facebook group rather we’ve got about six and a half thousand people in which if you just , uh , searching Facebook for human factors in diving, then you will , uh , you’ll find that. And I’d really recommend anybody who wants to learn more about human factors in a, in a 30 minute documentary is to go onto the human diver website, go to the top and look at if only click the link there and watch a documentary, which will bring a tear to some people’s eyes, because it deals with a fatality. And it deals with raw emotion that the dive team that lost a member. And it’s told the story is told through a lens of human factors and adjust culture, which is about understanding how it made sense for somebody to do what they did. There are also some additional notes. So if you’re inclined to take this further, there is a guide that explains the event in more details and also teaches you how to run a workshop on how to learn more about, or learn from , um, the , uh, the documentary, if only, and you can get the book from that from the website as well, or from Amazon.
Well, we’ll put it all in the show notes. If you want to , if you want to put a link to this on your website, feel free and people can listen to it. I haven’t already, and I’ll put a few links in for that. Um, if only DACA . Yeah. I’ll put that into the show notes as well. So they’ve got direct link to you there . Um, Gareth has been awesome. Um , let’s do it again, some point, especially with all these new instructors that are coming through, we can put something together and , yeah.
Excellent. Thanks very much, Matt, and , uh , have fun to everybody. Thanks so much. Thanks very much .
Uh , goodbye everybody…