With over 20 years as a fighter pilot under his belt, Mike Mason currently teaches pilots of the Australian Air Force how to hone their skills and use the aircraft they are flying as a weapons platform. Human Factors is used on a daily basis to achieve the goals these men strive for, so its fair to say that Human Factors is pretty much second nature to Mike. Armed with this and Gareth Lock introducing HF to the diving industry; Mike touched base with Gareth and began to learn about the Human Diver and how he could get involved.
Initially learning to dive in the UK, Mike now works in his spare time as a Dive Master at Lets Go Dive Adventures, Nelson Bay. Following Gareth’s tutorage he is also now part of the Human Diver instructional team and is bringing Human Factors to Australia.
Matt Waters, Mike Mason
Matt Waters 00:06
Hey there, everybody and welcome to season three. We’ve had a well deserved break and now ready to get back talking all things aquatic. Now, safety is most definitely the top priority in our sport. And some of you may remember way back in season one, we have the godfather of human factors himself, Gareth lock, if you’ve not checked it out, he can go back after you’ve met this next guest. This guy is pretty fly. In fact, he actually teaches that want to be Tom Cruise Top Guns of the Ozzie Air Force how to do their job. Mike Mason is one of the Human Factors team and is launching into providing the various educational programmes to all and any that wants to learn. Mike, welcome to the show, buddy. I was flying today doesn’t eat ours.
Mike Mason 00:46
Thanks very much, Matt. Nice to be here. Today was quite relaxed. Actually. I went down the bombing range yesterday, I’m going down the bombing range again tomorrow. But today was was much more much more relaxed, which was nice.
Matt Waters 00:57
Good, good. Good. Welcome to the show mate. Welcome to the show.
Mike Mason 01:01
Matt Waters 01:02
I think I think before we delve into the human factor side of things, we should we should introduce you to the world and what we’re on about with you and your your flying. What’s your background?
Mike Mason 01:14
Okay. I joined the Royal Air Force back in the UK in the year 2000. And I served for 20 years in the RAF, mostly on frontline squadrons, flying fighters and I left in August 2020. After like I say 20 years as the sort of second in command of frontline fighter squadron, which is good fun. And during my whole time in the RAF I did I was an instructor, I served on operations I was quite experienced supervisor etc, etc. And during my time in the RAF, I spent three years on an exchange programme flying with the Australian Air Force, which was between 2014 and 2017. So I spent three years in Australia here just near where I live. And that’s where I met my now fiance, Amanda. So once my time in the RAF was up, I came back over here and the Australian Air Force gave me a job. And I now teach as you say, teach the Australian Air Force new fund new guys to use an aeroplane as a weapons platform. So when they come to me, they’re already fully qualified pilots. They know how to fly aeroplanes, but my squadron with me and the other instructors and so on, we will take those pilots and actually take them to use the aircraft as a weapons platform. So we teach some tactics, both Air to Air stuff, air to surface stuff, such that when they leave us, they then go and fly the Australian Air Force’s frontline aircraft. So it’s pretty good fun. And I quite like doing that. And I’ve been so been flying well been in the Air Force in the military for 22 years now, which basically means I’ve been doing Human Factors type things in my professional life for most of that time. And it’s, I’ve largely grown up with it in my adult life in terms of diving, so I first learned to dive back in the late 90s, actually in 1999, in the Caribbean, and then didn’t do it again for quite a while had other priorities in life. But got back into it when I was here in Australia, actually, in about 2015. Because one of my friends had done some local dives with the greener sharks, showed me some pictures and I thought, wow, I want to have a go at that. So I got back into the dive in in quite a big way.
Mike Mason 03:21
And then when I moved back to the UK in 2017, I again grabbed it with both hands join the local dive club up in north Scotland, which I appreciate is an acquired taste for a lot of people, but good visibility, lots of shipwrecks, loads of fish. So loads of diving up there that was affiliated with B sack. So got it ended up being a B sack dive leader, which I quite enjoyed doing lots of things with them. And then when I moved back to Australia, as well as being in the Air Force, I’ve become a PADI divemaster as well. And so I now do that casually do a lot of diving on my own. I use a rebreather as well, occasionally. Yeah. And I really enjoyed my diving as well as some sort of my professional life of flying. And I think when I got into, into diving in a slightly bigger way, maybe about 333 a bit years ago, I kind of realised that was quite a big gap between the what I see as the human factors benchmark, I suppose is what aviation demonstrates, and how much diving can actually take from from the world of flying. So that’s kind of what I’m trying to do with my work with the human diver is bring all that all that all those years of experience that I’ve got to the RAF through flying, and try and improve the world of diving with all these sort of measures. And that’s that’s the relevant pick up there is that I mean, you’re effectively in the same career path as Gareth was as well because he was a navigator, wasn’t he?
Matt Waters 04:38
Yeah, so that’s right. Yeah, he was on C 130s. I think he joined the Air Force back 10 years ahead of me, so he’s kind of like 10 years further down. He’s already right. But yeah, we come from very similar backgrounds. Yeah, and I mean, I’m except for myself, but the methodology methodology of what you doing in the cockpit or the front end. It’s all following step by step procedures, isn’t it? Very much
Mike Mason 05:00
So it’s theirs. We have lots of standard operating procedures, we obviously live and breathe checklists and so on and so forth. So yeah, it is very methodical it is step by step. There are situations that you have to think outside the box to a certain extent, but the vast sin a huge amount of what we do is yet right, largely procedurally driven, very methodical, very sort of habit habit driven to to make sure that things stay on the rails and the flight, the flight that we kept quite safe. And is it fair to say that I mean, there’s a multitude of training that you do, I’m sure. But is it fair to say that you also
Matt Waters 05:33
train for every eventually, eventually, almost all eventualities possible, like you know, emergency situations, etc, we trained for, I suppose, whatever.
Mike Mason 05:46
You give people as much knowledge as they can. So yes, we go in the flight simulator quite regularly to practice for emergency scenarios, where they throw, you know, fire warnings are you hydraulic problems, electrical problems, and you therefore get to see the real, the real symbology happening in the aeroplane, so you can get trained to deal with it, you’re never going to be able to deal with everything. Because, you know, every so often we’ll have a problem happen where the aircraft just does something weird. That’s never been seen before. It’s incredibly rare, thank God. But the idea is that the idea is that you’ve got enough skills in your toolbox, such that when you see something that’s a bit of peace, a bit of normal, you’ve got enough knowledge and experience to be able to go, Well, let’s try this yes, that’s working, and achieve Am I safe outcome. So we get trained very heavily in things that
Mike Mason 06:30
perhaps are likely to go wrong or known to go wrong, that by having all those things in your toolbox, you can be better prepared when things that things go wrong, and perhaps are a bit unusual, or not quite as common. And
Matt Waters 06:42
I’m, I’m a huge advocate of practice, practice, practice, practice, and just make everything second nature. So those people who are listening just to that, those first few minutes alone can understand how your line of work can cross over into aiding people in Scuba diving to be much safer in the sport that they’re trying to enjoy.
Mike Mason 07:02
Definitely, I totally agree, flying is very much something that you, you have to keep doing to be good at. And I meant to take an example. So I went down, I went down the bombing range for the first time in maybe about two or three months the other day, but the first few attacks were actually quite poor. Just because I hadn’t done it for so long. By the time I finished the sortie, there were a lot better. But that just goes to show that even with my relatively high levels of experience, find aeroplanes, if you’re not current in something, then you will get skill fade, and you will struggle to to be able to produce the good straightaway. And diving is very much like that, you know, any skills and drills shut down drills and twinset. For example, if you don’t practice those routinely, or bailout drills on a rebreather, putting up a DSMB, on recreational diving, etc, etc. If you don’t practice those skills, often, you will get skill fade. And that could be that could exacerbate things when things start to go wrong. So yes, practice, practice, practice is, is really important.
Matt Waters 07:57
What I’d like to know what what it’s like on the debriefing side of things as well, because obviously human factors, a huge proportion of it is being aware of situations and scenarios that could have actually been a bit of a hazard that, like, like we see many occasions in the forums and die forums is that people just don’t speak up. Is it much the same within the flying scenario? Or is it you know, behind closed doors kind of chat? Or is there an open forum nowadays,
Mike Mason 08:34
In general, for just about anything, that’s just any sort of routine, I suppose mishap, it’s all it’s all kind of open doors, and every sortie we come back from we will debrief, you will go and have a, and that’s not if it’s me debriefing a student after a flight, yes, we’ll have a debrief. If it’s me doing a flight with other instructors that we’re retraining for some skills we haven’t done for a while, then we’ll debrief each other. And it’s certainly very,
Mike Mason 09:01
very open, honest culture, the concept being that if we’re all it’s all to do with, like accountability, and we have all these standards that I talked about, and these methodologies and checklists and stuff, but because there is so much information to digest and to, to have in your brain, it’s, you know, it’s impossible to know it all at the time. So if you’re, you’re going to the sortie, and
Mike Mason 09:23
let’s say a radio call is done in the wrong place, or some of the formation changes done incorrectly, for whatever reason, then afterwards, we’ll debrief it and say, I think that’s how it’s supposed to be done. And it’ll be like, and then the person who is being, let’s call it corrected or criticised will say, Yep, thanks very much. That’s corrected my understanding. totally happy. I’ll take it on board and before so I think that’s a big difference, like the flying culture is it’s worth going to that word culture a bit because it’s because the culture of the military aviation world has been involved for decades, really. Right from the first day of flying training.
Mike Mason 10:00
You’re used to having a debrief, and you’re used to people telling you what you did wrong and how you can fix it. And then as you become the person, if you like in charge, you can tell other people what they did wrong and how to fix it, then you tell each other what, what each other did wrong and how to fix it. And so that culture is just embedded. And when you get to the stage I’m at, it’s completely normal. And everyone’s completely open to it and used to it. And it’s just it’s the done thing. It’s the cultural norm. And I think in diving, you probably agree, debriefing is not the norm. It does happen. But it’s certainly not the norm, especially in you know, recreational fun dive levels, instructional dives, yes, fair enough. You’ll obviously debrief students on their technical skills and things. But I think if you don’t have a fun dive with, you know, some mates just off the shore and Paul Stevens like I do here, it’s generally a case of everybody gets out and says, right, brilliant, I want to be good, off you go. And there’s no, there’s never any discussion about anything. And I’ve had a couple of times where I’ve witnessed other divers having their, their fins in the coral, because they’ve just got it quite sort of poor trim. And it really takes a bit of courage to be able to say, Hey, mate, just so you know, I saw your fins in the corner, I think you want to try and have a slightly better trim position just to avoid damage and stuff. And most people are quite receptive to that kind of criticism. I say, criticism, less feedback is a better word criticism is not the right word. Most people are receptive to that kind of that kind of feedback. But it’s, the culture is not there. So it’s definitely abnormal. And it can make people feel uncomfortable, both the person giving feedback and the person receiving feedback, because it’s not the cultural norm and diving. And that’s part of what the human diver is all about trying to just develop people in thinking about these kinds of things such that we can improve the culture and make debriefing and make feedback more normal, so that we can all improve this thing, just being able to talk to people, but it’s having that bravery to say, you know, even to a stranger, though, that the dive sites around Sydney is probably much the same your way they do get very busy at times, and just having that bravery in the car back sale. By the way, did you know your SMB was dragging over that, you know, they might not even know it was occurring and actually be thankful or grateful? Oh, yeah. And I think people often don’t know, because we’re diving, just by the fact you’ve got, you know, a mask on relatively poor hearing, it’s difficult to have a complete essay of what’s going on, you are often looking down at drinking straws, you get distracted by a fish, get distracted by what somebody else is doing, etc, etc. So it’s important to have to have that feedback. But it’s yeah, it’s not the cultural norm. Okay, so
Mike Mason 12:24
how have you got to this point with the human diver? What kind of what’s the line that you’ve taken with the training that you’ve had with Gareth, etc. I came across the human diver, aka Seth, I think about three years ago now maybe slightly longer. I can’t refer as by Facebook or whatever. But I came across the human diver and I thought, wow, this is brilliant. This is all this this stuff really relates to me, I can understand I can understand a lot of the concepts because of my aviation background.
Mike Mason 12:51
So I emailed Gareth, and I just said, Hello, this is me. And I think I wrote him like an essay of all the things that I thought were wrong with various bits and bobs, and it took a while to get
Mike Mason 13:00
within the end. In the end, we’ve got a bit of a report. I said, I would like to get involved and look at being an instructor for the human diver. And he said, Yep, sure, come on board. This is the course this is some, this is what it’s all about. So I just grabbed it both hands. And that was in probably about 18 months ago, now, maybe 1920 months ago, start doing the course. And that involved, maybe two or three months, one session a week, sort of a couple of hours at a time just online webinar with with him with the rest of the course that I was with,
Mike Mason 13:31
where we he delivered us the material to quite a serious level of knowledge, we would then go away, revise the material, pick up all the points that we could
Mike Mason 13:43
do some homework based on it. And then beyond that, we were then the next stage of the process was where we would get the brief the briefings that were prepared by the human diver to deliver to other divers as it were. And we then had to essentially give those back to our peer instructors just as a sort of a practice session show we understood the concepts.
Mike Mason 14:05
And then beyond that the next stage which to be fair has been delayed very heavily by COVID is where we actually do face to face training. So the human diver offers various levels of training. And the the top one, which we call, excuse me, level two, are these face to face classes, where you have up to six students and it’s very immersive lots of interactive
Mike Mason 14:26
lessons discussions, this there’s some computer software programmes that get people working as teams. And the idea is that we get together for several of those where
Mike Mason 14:34
I would I will observe those then I’ll get involved in them then I will start giving those with if you like Gareth monitoring them, and then I’m kind of left or them if you like fully qualified. That was supposed to happen about this time last year. COVID is obviously doing that. But Gareth is coming to Australia this winter. So I will get fully ticked up then. Amy, good to go. In the meantime, I’ve done a few webinars, run a few blogs, just to try and get my name out.
Mike Mason 15:00
They’re just trying to get a get just encouraged thought amongst the general diving population, about what human factors and diving is all about. And when it’s goodbye for them in
Matt Waters 15:10
the reach of the human diver is clearly going to be a lot a lot more in the UK and throughout Europe than what it is down here. It seems more prominent over there. I might be wrong.
Matt Waters 15:20
But maybe it’s because Gerritsen you know, I think I and you know, the successful book launch? That we’re a long way from? Yeah.
Mike Mason 15:29
Yes, yeah. Yeah, it’s outside of my maybe maybe part of it. But uh, no, it’s definitely far more prevalent in the, in the UK market, that’s just cuz where the origins of the human diver are, or worshipping and point of view, but
Mike Mason 15:44
I’m hoping to, you know, get a bit of a footprint with it all in Australia and take it forward and help people out in this country as well. So let’s, let’s have a look at some of the benefits then.
Mike Mason 15:54
For let’s let’s start with the dietpros, DMS and instructors, what are the benefits for them to do the human diver courses? Well, let’s take a dive master as a good as a good start. So I work as a diet master and I try and embrace I try and take my human diver, or human factors rather concepts into the the divemaster world. If you’ve got an awareness of human factors, it just allows you to take a more
Mike Mason 16:23
a more considered a more a more real a more mature I suppose modern look at the way that systems work. So
Mike Mason 16:33
your basic divemaster or if you like you know your standard diagnostic training, from you know, party raid, SSI, whatever, you you do your course. And then you’re you’re basically said right here, go you’re qualified to have a job, go and be a divemaster look after these divers, and off you go. But you’re not really taught any, there’s nothing formal, in any of the divemaster training material to do with how you actually work well as a team. And there’s nothing to do with sort of formal leadership skills has nothing to do with effective communication skills. You are your briefing is kind of monitored, but has nothing to do with debriefing, which is some, you know, something which I think is quite important. So if you’ve got that human factors, training you, you can learn about how to be not how to be an expert leader, it’s not gonna make you the greatest leader in the world. But it will give you some ideas about how you can lead a team and how you can build a team quite quickly how you can
Mike Mason 17:25
just get people involved and feel comfortable and safe talking to you, if they’ve got any concerns, you know, your as a divemaster, you might have somebody who’s a complete novice or somebody who perhaps hasn’t died for a couple of years. And all of a sudden, you’re throwing them off a boat into water they can’t see the bottom of and they know and there’s a bit of swell around I think might be quite nervous. But with some of the Human Factors training, you can really help mitigate against some of those issues with with novice divers, just by just say some of the leadership teamwork communication skills that we can talk about. As I mentioned debriefing, I’ll probably mention this again, a few times, I’m sure during this talk, but you know, the norm is not generally for divemasters to have a debrief, because it’s not really part of the job description, I suppose it was, well, there’s a there’s a, there is a bit it’s just not as it’s not as formal, as you would expect it, you know, just sit down and have a coffee and talk about the dive and talk about what we’re seeing them where they weren’t, maybe not into the detail of any kind of you know, picking up on any kind of major issue. Yeah, that’s fair, that’s fair. And I think, I think that’s kind of what I like to do as a divemaster, as well is,
Mike Mason 18:31
at the end of it. At the start of a dive or the start of the day, I’ll ask people, I’ll say to people that I’d like some feedback at the end. So if you’ve got things you do like them great things, you don’t like them, please tell me and so on and so forth. And when we we’ve done a dive, I’ll you know, hopefully have written a few notes. And I’ll say, right, well, How’s everybody feeling? Nobody have a good time. If people didn’t get it, people got to their air quite quickly, you know, we might talk about how they can improve that sort of thing. If people have,
Mike Mason 18:57
yeah, quite upright, trim position. Again, I might well give them some advice on how they can improve that. And I’ll certainly ask people to debrief me as well, because I’m certainly not most experienced diver in the world. So you’re not experienced divemaster in the world. And and I want to improve, so I ask people if there’s things that I can do better, and occasionally people will
Mike Mason 19:15
come up with things and say, Actually, I thought we could have done more of this or less of that. And it’s like, okay, thanks. And I try and take that forward to improve my diet mastering okay, I suppose as, as individuals so the other side of the fence so the recreational divers that are going with the dive guides, if they’re
Matt Waters 19:33
more aware on the human factor front, and maybe they’ve been more empathetic to the dive leader who might actually be a little bit you know, nervous when it comes to giving feedback that might be a little bit awkward. Like your crapper trim. Yeah, it works both ways. And that’s something that we talk about quite a lot in the the teamwork and the what we call leadership and followership module where it’s, it’s very much a two way relationship and while
Mike Mason 20:00
You might have a dive master who is technically in charge, you are you still, the more you can do to support that dive master as a diver within a team, then the higher the chances of, well a safer outcome of the dive in general. But also, the higher the chances of just of just having a good dive, you know, just being able to make sure things happen quick, smoothly and efficiently. Such everybody has a good time. And everybody gets the most out of it. It’s not, it’s not all about safety. A lot of it’s a lot of it is actually about just getting the most out of the situation with the team that you’ve got. And if you’re working well as a team member, then you can, which as I say, those skills can be developed by Human Factors training, then you can really help the divemaster and the whole team achieve. Just get more out there diving more of what they’re doing. Well, what about the people? I mean, you’ve got quite a job ahead of yourself. I’ve got to say,
Matt Waters 20:49
you know, you taking on Australia on human factors and Ozzy’s a laid back lovable people that like, yeah, we get it done. It’s all right. Yeah. Be ready. Yeah, right.
Mike Mason 21:02
How are you going to get the people on side that are going to be like, Well, I’ve been taught how to dive so you can’t teach me anymore? This. It’s not really about teaching people how to dive. And that’s, I mean, I have no, I’m not a diving instructor. I teach people how to fly aeroplanes, which is fine, but it’s certainly not teaching people how to how to dive. So it’s not really about
Mike Mason 21:24
making people better at their technical diving ability. It’s about making them better, as
Mike Mason 21:30
team divers working, working with other divers and how they interact together to get more out of out of a diving situation. So in terms of winning those people over as it were, I mean,
Mike Mason 21:41
I’m not, there’s no point in me trying to shove it down people’s throats. There’s no point of me trying to say, You know what, Mister, you know, Mr. Smith with 5000 dives, that’s brilliant. But you actually have no idea we’re talking about because I’m Mike, a human factors expert, there’s no way I’m going to win the argument that you’re wasting my time. But all I all I want to try and do is just, again, there’s no real point in going in with a direct approach along the lines of right, well, actually, you need to think about this from a human factors point of view. Because otherwise, you’re just you’re not going to get any better, you often need to kind of shape things specifically, like
Mike Mason 22:13
the good example or an easy one to get across is the feedback we’ve talked about already. Like if somebody is, let’s say, somebody does have bad trim, and you can, and if you go to that person and say, Me, your trim is crap, they will instantly get the hackles up and say, Well, who are you to tell me about my trim, whereas if you can be a bit more,
Mike Mason 22:35
if you can make it about the behaviour, rather than about the person that you’re much more likely to actually build some build a decent relationship. So if somebody says to me does have a bathroom, and you can say, may I noticed your trim in the water, it was a little bit, it was a little bit upright, you might find that you get more, you get more of a tank of out of a tank of gas that you disturb the bomb less if you try swimming like this. So maybe think about tank positioning or where your where your weight to maybe your weight belts seem too low or, or something like that. So actually make it about the behaviour rather than about them. If you if you instantly jump in with your the problem, then people will get their hackles up and they won’t respond to that feedback. And that’s kind of a subtle, that’s, that’s one example of a communication skill that we talk about within the human diver training to try and just to help get the message across. A lot of it is about the way it’s not necessarily what you say to people, it’s the way you say that to, to people to try and get the message across, which really can make the difference between whether that feedback, feedback is well received or not. And then building up a rapport with that with
Mike Mason 23:36
those very true. I mean, it’s a sport that, you know, I’m a massive advocate of communication. I think it’s, it’s key in almost everything that we do, and even more so when we dive in. Yeah, well, that’s it, it all adds up. There’s this, there’s no, there’s no real negatives. But if you if you can embrace it for what it what it is, what it’s trying what it’s trying to achieve, then, then yeah, everybody just gets more out of their dive, you’re likely to keep it safer, which is, if you like the general, and the general acceptance of what human factors training is all about, but actually, you’ll just you’ll just get more out of the dive as a team if you’re all communicating effectively, if you have a little brief and you just say right, well, rather than the person who’s the assumed leader saying, Okay, everyone Imago follow me it’s like, right, how much gas has everyone got? You’ve got slightly less. Okay, well, let’s just be aware of that. What does anybody want to do today? Or you want to try and find that nudie prank that you’ve never seen before? Okay, well everybody keep a lookout for that. And that way you can just you can just focus what people are trying to do by just having a little five minute chat beforehand, and then afterwards, you can talk you can talk about it in a debrief and just those communication skills you know before and after the dive really can improve the the overall situation the whole outcome, and it really just gets more out there diving by having those better communication skills. And those because you mentioned that you work in like, part time, free time, whatever it is. Where is it which dive shop Nelson Bay, isn’t it? Yes, I work for let’s go adventures in Nelson Bay in Portland. How’s it been received the video
Mike Mason 25:00
Have a bit of a bump at the start a bit of a brick wall at the start at all? Well, so far with the shop, I mean, I think let’s go Adventures is, I suppose a relatively typical dive shop in the current day and age, the stuff that the permanent stuff that are quite busy COVID has had a massive impact, as you can expect, so they’re constantly rushing around with their heads on fire quite a lot trying to sort out all the problems in the shop, but generally how I try and approach it, rather than sort of rocking up as this, you know, relatively inexperienced divemaster and saying to make the shop manager AIMEX just say, you know, I know you’ve been diving.
Mike Mason 25:37
Wrong. It’s just like, there’s no point going to get anywhere and make it is a very competent, experienced instructor, instructor and diver. But what I try and do when I go and do the,
Mike Mason 25:49
the guided dives on either whether whether it be shore dives or on the boat, I will you know, when I’m given the brief if there’s other sort of people, or there’s members of staff watching, I’ll talk to them afterwards and say, What did you think of that proof? Did you know Did you think it was good? Did you think it was bad? Do you think there’s things I need to improve? And I’m just trying to sort of slowly drip feed some of the ideas almost by osmosis rather than saying, Oh, by the way, human factors, we should be doing Human Factors better I just try and do it through what I think is demonstrating good behaviour and good specific practices and when the hope that other people go, Oh, it’s a good idea. Yeah, Mike’s got some good way of doing business. Let’s, let’s take it forward and improve as a shop. Hey, guys, and girls, I hope you’re enjoying the show. I just wanted to take 30 seconds of your time to give a huge shout out to a man who has breathed life back into my diving. Now let me explain that one. I’m getting a little bit older, grey in the beard blurry in the eyesight. And it’s the latter that’s been frustrating part, especially for underwater photography. You’re the hero of the day, Rob Hamilton. Now he is an optician located in dy and the founder of Oz Bob Scuba who specialises in prescription masks. He has a wide range of masks available, various lens types to configure to your specific needs and the skills and experience to add the adjustments to account for water refraction. Natalia, it’s the best money I’ve spent in years. So if you need a prescription mask, head on over to Rob or check them out online as Bob scuba.com. And say a quick hi from Skip, go to. Now back to the show. Right. So there’s a webinar course in Australia, starting next Wednesday. So that’s my first. That’s my first course that I’m going to run. As I say start on Wednesday at 7:30pm Sydney time, links to that on the human diver from Australia, or the human diver the various links around the internet for that kind of thing.
Mike Mason 27:35
And then the face to face courses, where there’s going to be about six I think being run in Australia, starting in July, all the way through into August. And again, you can find details on those on human diver.com. And then from there, I will take the reigns as it were and every future course in this part of the world Australia Asia Pacific will be hopefully run by yours truly. So that’s the that’s the idea webinar starting next week, face to face classes started middle the year and I take it on so go as coming across to do the face to face bits and and work with you to hand over the reins. Exactly. Okay. Yes. Right. So sometime it probably end of next week, I’m going to put a link out on on my Facebook, human diver from Australia page, my intention is to try to try and sow the seed for what human factors is all about in the world of diving, I’m going to do a 20 minute zoom chat, which anybody can obviously sign up to just access the link, and they’ll be questions at the end. And the idea is that people can just come along completely for free. And I’ll just give a 20 minute chat about what human factors is are all about how they face the world of diving. And I’ll go into a bit more specifics about you know, different types of divers and what they can actually expect from it. So in
Mike Mason 28:51
one of the problems, one of the criticisms that’s been levelled at human diver in the past is that it often gets quite academic and just sort of quite serious, high end.
Mike Mason 29:00
Academia type concepts, and people just lose interest because most people just want to go dive in, right? Nobody cares about the theory of butter, nobody cares. A lot of people don’t care about the theory of learning the theory of teaching. So when those concepts kind of crop up, and there are links posted to it, people just go, Oh, I’m just not interested anymore. I just want to go diving. So what I’m hoping to do more with this soundbite webinar
Mike Mason 29:22
is just come up with some specific examples for specific types of divers. So if you’re a recreational diver, then
Mike Mason 29:30
things that you want to sort of know about is how, what you need to do or what you can do as a sort of junior novice diver to kind of help the instructor out. And that goes back to those communication skills, those kind of awareness things.
Mike Mason 29:44
And if you’re the instructor at the other end, again, how you can encourage your students choose to speak up when they’re not comfortable. Something because again, that’s a lot of that comes comes from a leadership point of view for instructional point of view, but those skills aren’t necessarily taught like I say formerly in instructional classes. A lot of it’s more
Mike Mason 30:00
focus on technical skills and things like that. If you’re a
Mike Mason 30:04
if you’re a divemaster, we’ve talked about that sort of thing already. But
Mike Mason 30:08
communication skills, how you’re going to things you can put into the brief, engaging your audience a bit more, I often find that divemaster briefs are normally quite good. They’ve normally got all the information there that you want. But they’re very one way, there’s not much getting information back from the audience. So what I will always try and do is ask my divers, right, if I say if I give you the signal for how much how much gas have you got? What are you going to give back to me because you get a big variety of answers. And it’s important to try and sort that out before the dive before you get in the water. So that’s the kind of about two way communications that’s something that diagnosis and get out of it. If you’re a boat Skipper, you know what sort of things do can you get out of that, and a lot of it boat skippers are often kind of a bit sort of stand back and don’t want to get involved. But if you can build up a bit of a rapport with with the people that are on your boat, and interesting courage, some discipline, some checks and habit patterns and some cultural norms that again, off commander human factors, then you can do just do more as a skipper to again, ensure safety, but also ensure that people will get more out of their diving, if you’re if you’re a dive shop owner, there’s plenty of things you can do there as well. If you’ve got, you know, Junior, young divemasters, or instructors working for you, it’s important that you build the culture that they can speak up and contribute to make the company a better place to work and a better place to function. You don’t want to be that boss that just kind of constantly borates your staff for being idiots, because they’re never going to tell you when things aren’t going well, because they know you won’t want to hear it. And as soon as soon as they can, they’re just going to leave and do something else. So lots of human factors things for them for dive shop owners, as well. It’s the whole spectrum of,
Mike Mason 31:44
of the dive industry as it were right from, you know, agency manager all the way through to brand new recreational diver, there’s something in there for everyone. So this sound bite webinar, I’m just going to try it, I’m just going to look at each individual, each several individual examples of a typical person in the in across the spectrum of divers. And just some specific examples within that of how human factors can improve what you get out of your diving with a view to try and get people to think oh, yeah, okay, that actually kind of something. For me. It’s often it’s quite common that when I try and sell human factors to divers, they’ll they’ll look at it, and they’ll almost look for an excuse that it doesn’t apply to them. So I posted a link out for the for the webinar series to Facebook people a few weeks ago, and one of the guys got back to me and said, You know, I don’t think it’s relevant to me, I’m only a recreational diver don’t do this technical stuff. And it’s like, Oh, okay. And I, you know, I replied back to him and said, I agree that on face value, it’s probably more applicable to technical diving, rebreather diving, that kind of thing. But there are definitely a huge number of lessons you can get out of, or huge
Mike Mason 32:47
wealth of knowledge and experience you can get out of human factors trading.
Matt Waters 32:51
Whenever I go, whenever I do my divemaster and stuff, I come back with it with one or two new case studies every time. I’ve got to interject there, because I think it’s the opposite. I think technical divers, cave divers, repre there’s all that kind of stuff. I think they have actively stepped into the environment where procedures are key. And I’ve not met many tech divers that don’t actually follow procedures, whether they’re getting kitted up getting in the water or doing the dive. However, recreational divers, I got to Thailand on the pitch, they have three days, they get taught by someone who’s been on the test with them on how to do open water diving. And then the next time they go dive in, again, is on holiday where someone puts all the equipment together for them, helps them splash around in the water for a bit just because they want a bigger tip.
Matt Waters 33:43
And they forget about the basic skills. So I think it’s I think it’s more relevant to recreational divers than what it is technical divers personally. Okay. I think there’s probably a mix there of you. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. But the
Mike Mason 33:58
technical divers are definitely taught to follow procedures with everything they’re doing, you know, rebreather, assembly, pre die checks, etc, etc. I totally agree. They’re all taught to do that. But one of the things that it’s important to be aware of is that the real world that’s the diving systems that we find ourselves in, don’t necessarily know about those procedures. So for example, I mean, the best case study I’ve got for you is probably the Have you seen the video if only that’s some that Gary produced a couple years ago, you know, there you go. You’ve got a team of, you know, rebreather divers going and doing a deep rebreather course, but just due to several little things adding up, the procedures weren’t followed exactly, because distraction got in place, other other factors played in and ultimately somebody died. So
Mike Mason 34:40
while the technical divers are certainly taught to and most of the time do follow those procedures, little things just get in the way and
Matt Waters 34:49
there’s always going to be that element of little bits, you know, and little scenarios and it’s this, you know, what if this what if that, but, me personally, having worked in the recreational industry in several cases
Matt Waters 35:00
trees now, I think it’s more relevant there for if he were to put it under a generic umbrella of who needs human factors more.
Matt Waters 35:10
A very good example will be conducted over 1000 dives in Papua New Guinea. Yep. And their customers that came to the resort, I would always get them new customers, you’re always going to get your kit on the deck before you get on the boat. And you’re going to set it up and you can do the preflight checks, then we know what base level we’re working with. And the amount of
Mike Mason 35:33
majority of the time people were okay, but I had more stubborn people in in that environment than anywhere else that I’ve done any kind of dive in, because they, you know, I think it was the embarrassment of knowing that they couldn’t remember how to put the equipment together, let alone check it. They’re just used to someone else doing it for them. Yeah. And that’s a big part of it. The cultural, the cultural norms that they’ve been exposed to, or they go to a dive shop and the case set up for them. That’s, that is fine from a customer. Well, sorry, I wouldn’t say it’s fine. It’s potentially beneficial from a customer service point of view, because they get great reviews for look at what we were looked after. But yeah, from a from an overall diving safety, culture point of view is terrible for the reasons that that we know, it’s if people don’t practice those skills, then the skills will fade, and they will not be as safe in the water as they could be. So yeah, I agree that recreational divers certainly have its there’s a lot for recreation recreational divers to take out of it. So let’s go back to the
Mike Mason 36:30
broad brush definition of Human Factors There are, if you were to Google what human factors are, though, you can get all sorts of really complicated, again, academic jargon about how it’s all to do with the way human beings interact with systems, processes, et cetera, et cetera. And that instantly, unsurprisingly, loses people at the first hurdle call all the time, the best definition I found for human factors is they are all about making it easier to do the right thing, and harder to do the wrong thing. And if you kind of always go back to that basic principle in whatever you’re doing, as a human being interacting with anything, then that is what human factors are all about making it easy to do the right thing and harvested the wrong thing. Yeah. Now, within the human diver, what we tend to focus on within the world of human factors, which is huge, because there’s just so many aspects of, of the subject, the human diver tends to focus on what we call the non technical skills. So
Mike Mason 37:25
you’ve within diving, you’ve got your technical skills. And that doesn’t mean tech diving or recreational diving. Technical skills are things like just fitting technique,
Mike Mason 37:35
maths clear in drills, putting up a DSMB if you’re a cave diver that’d be laying line in a cave, if you’re
Mike Mason 37:43
a rebreather diver be doing bailout drills, etc, etc. Those are kind of specific technical skills for how you actually do your diving as it were. Now, non technical skills are things social skills,
Mike Mason 37:56
that are to do with making your making it easier to do your technical skills in simple jargon. So the non technical skills that we sort of talk about are, it’s all about making good decisions, which is fed by having good situation awareness, which is fed by having good communication, which is authored by having good teamwork, and good leadership, and so on, and so forth. Now, if you’ve got all those things together, with in a good non technical skills environment, then as a team, you have what’s called a good shared mental model. And the idea that the idea of a good shared mental model or the or the meaning of it is that you’re all thinking along the same wavelength, you’re not necessarily thinking exactly the same thing. But you’ve got a better idea of what’s going on. And therefore, you’re more likely to have a better outcome, whether that’s a safer outcome or just a high performing outcome, or whatever. That shared mental model will just improve the output of the team. And the best example of probably not the probably the simplest example to relate to with non technical skills in in a mature environment would be airline crews. So whenever you have a civilian airliner, you’ve got two pilots at the front, and they often won’t fly together all the time, they just get thrown together on according in accordance with their crew roster. But they’re used to working with SOPs, they used to work in with the same checklist. Jobs together, SOP standard operating procedures, standard operating procedures, sorry,
Mike Mason 39:17
military jargon in there. So they used to doing all these things together. But because they they come together as a crew, so that they can
Mike Mason 39:26
and they have it they’ll have a brief before they go flying, they’ll obviously communicate all the time when they are flying. And then afterwards, they’ll have a debrief to talk about things that potentially, you know, could have been done better.
Mike Mason 39:35
And the idea of, of, of working in that kind of environment is that airline crew has a really solid robust shared mental model.
Mike Mason 39:43
And that is a very, that’s evolved, you know, in here we are 2022 over, you know, decades back in the 1970s when airliners were crashing relatively often.
Mike Mason 39:53
The whole non technical skills training just didn’t exist. It was just, you know, you listened to the accident date recorder afterwards and you’re like, oh,
Mike Mason 40:00
those pilots were idiots, but they probably didn’t mean to crash the aeroplane. So non technical skills has evolved massively in commercial aviation. And that’s where I think it really comes into diving just by taking all those all those years of experience in the airline industry or aviation industries in general, and trying to shape it into into diving context, just so we can get more out of more of diving and making it safer and, and more rewarding and more enjoyable. And aviation is not the only world that does this, you know, medicine, it’s, it’s massively in medicine. Now. Nuclear power, mining, oil and gas, there’s lots of other industries out there that really take non technical skills training within human factors, you know, quite seriously, people invest in organisations, companies spend a lot of money on this stuff, because they get more out of their people.
Matt Waters 40:45
It’s, it’s, it’s good for business, it’s for lots of reasons. And I think diving can can really take a lot from it as well. Yeah. And I think it’s fair to say, um, and just to, just to doff my cap to what you’re doing and what you’re going on to do here, I think, I think we’ve got to recognise that you, you seem to enjoy
Matt Waters 41:07
getting better in performance out of people helping people, oh, yeah, you wouldn’t be doing the job you’re doing now. And you wouldn’t be looking at doing this.
Matt Waters 41:15
On the side, and
Mike Mason 41:18
it’s, I human, when you get really into the human factor side of it, like it’s, it’s fascinating how you almost automatically look at things in a different way. Little things like I was in the kitchen a few days ago, and something something was spilt on the floor. And I think once upon a time, I’d have said, who did that. But actually, now you kind of look at it and go, I wonder how that happened. Because, you know, you try and look at it from a point of view of that probably wasn’t deliberate, therefore, something came together to make that happen.
Mike Mason 41:50
Mike Mason 41:51
Whereas I think, traditionally, especially in diving, you know, something goes wrong. Social media forums, classic example, people will, you know, jump on other people and say, who did you know, who did that? What an idiot? You know, how dare they do that? How stupid is that person, when in actual fact, it’s like, they probably didn’t mean to be stupid, they probably
Mike Mason 42:11
didn’t come from me.
Mike Mason 42:13
The culture, the culture, they used to diving perhaps wasn’t very productive in terms of doing body checks, and therefore they weren’t used to doing those sorts of things. So all these little things were more likely to add up to them having an accident and those things I’ve never really looked at in diving. So I think, yeah, my human factor stuff has really made it quite, I look at things in quite different light now, which I think is quite healthy. Yeah. Yeah.
Matt Waters 42:34
fairplay to as well. If you can promote, you know, better constructive criticism and assistance to people and fair play to because I’m about to bond I’m sick to the back teeth with Facebook armchair warriors, that someone will ask an innocent question or pose a scenario that they went through looking for advice on how to avoid the same situation occur. And again, and within the first two, three comments, there’s always someone who wants to berate the person and put them down for doing the wrong thing. Usually looking for that they’re looking for assistance to prevent people, people want advice, people, they want it, they want to get better. And so they, as you said, as you said, put their hand up, they put their head above the parapet, and there are it’s a shame, there are plenty of armchair warriors out there, we’ll just shoot them down. Yeah, it’s becoming
Mike Mason 43:23
I think it’s probably becoming less so. And I think I think part of that is perhaps people are just more aware of, of human factors and decent feedback skills, and so on and so forth. So I think there is
Mike Mason 43:34
it that the culture is moving on slightly slowly, but yeah, there’s a lot of
Mike Mason 43:39
old old fashioned attitudes out there, which document sometimes
Matt Waters 43:44
we’ll leave them behind, we’ll just we’ll just
Matt Waters 43:47
continue on with the people that have got empathy and understanding and make everything better. Well, that’s the thing, you know, if you’re,
Mike Mason 43:56
you’re, you’re a student, and you’ve got, you know, you’ve had two instructors in the past and you’ve got an option to go with one of those instructors again, in the future, or, or dive company or dive shop or whatever, if you’ve had a good relationship with one of those in the past, because they gave you good honest feedback, or they listened to the feedback you gave them. And you think all these people, they were they want to listen to me, I want to listen to them, that relationship will will develop and prosper and go forward. Whereas the relationship that was perhaps a bit more toxic, for whatever reason, will fail. And therefore that particular you know, dive shop dive company will will not get the repeat business. So it’s, it becomes self once it’s embraced for what it is and what it can offer. It really can become self perpetuating, and everybody wins. It’s not. It’s not about, you know, somebody’s doing better than somebody else. It’s about the whole diving world, winning basically getting more out there
Matt Waters 44:45
and being safe. And that Yes.
Mike Mason 44:49
Safety is if the best part of it. I think definitely you’re not you’re more likely to have safer outcomes by just trying to do more with the Human Factors non technical skills outside of diver
Mike Mason 45:00
But it’s certainly it does go way beyond that it’s people will get more fun out of it, people will just perform better as a team, you know, we talked about people if you’re having if you’re happy, and you’re getting feedback on,
Mike Mason 45:12
on on perhaps poor trim technique, which is, again, all part of human factors, non technical skills, then you’ll get more out of your diet. And therefore, if you’re part of a group, and you’re the one that always gets through your gas quicker, everybody else gets more out of their diet as well, because you can just do more as a team. So it’s all about improving you know, everybody’s diving, not just not just your own. Okay, well, I think we’ll wrap it up there. Ladies and Gents you’ve got you’ve got Mike, given his time next week for free on his webinar to go into a bit more detail about him and diver so we’ll we’ll put the link up and Michael either on his Facebook page, you got Instagram as well. No, no, I just use Facebook a moment. Okay, the human diver from Australia, just put that to the search bar and you can find that quite easily. Cobain’s and check it on Instagram as well making it you’re going to need that, right.
Matt Waters 46:00
Yeah, yeah. Okay. Thanks for coming on the show, man. Thanks for opening up season three. And I wish you every success going forward for the human diver in Australia. And I believe we might have to have another beer when I’m up in Newcastle next time.
Mike Mason 46:14
Sounds good. I look forward to it. My pleasure.
Matt Waters 46:15
Thanks for Thanks for tuning in everybody. Bye for now.