At a specially called public meeting the NSS-CDS Board of Directors unanimously approved a “Cave Supervisor” program which will allow experienced divers so certified (and insured) to guide (read mentor) newer, less experienced divers in caves. What this means is that at some point in the near future new divers or divers who have been away from the caves will be able to come to the CDS and find a buddy they will not only be safe with, but can learn from. This will not be a “cash cow” for anyone. It will be a free service that members of the CDS will provide for all cave divers in the hopes of furthering two of our stated missions, promoting cave safety and conservation.
Quite frankly I am extremely pleased with this. Those of you who know me also know that this is something I have been “hollering about” for years. NSS-CDS, NACD et al are not for profit organizations whose mission is to promote safety and conservation. Anyone who really participates in this sport knows that once certified “Full Cave” you have nothing more than a license to learn. Once fully implemented this new program will give you the opportunity to use that “license to learn” in a safe and controlled manor. It will be no longer necessary to post “buddy needed” on a forum and hope you get someone competent.
Until now I have not seen or heard of any organization that would even remotely endorse, never mind enact such a free program. I can even recall the notion of creating one viewed with hostility by some who might have viewed it as an “encroachment” upon their livelihood. Kudos to our training director, Jim Wyatt and his training committee consisting of Bill Dunn, John Jones, Paul Heinerth, Reggie Ross, Dan Patterson, Steve Forman and Jeff Loflin for presenting this program for board approval.
Since the CDS is an international organization this will also mean that divers on holiday anywhere in the world will have a standard by which they can judge a guide they might choose to hire. At the very least they will know what he (the guide) is supposed to be doing OR not doing. Hopefully the day will come when a standard question to ask a guide anywhere in the world will be “Are you an NSS-CDS certified Cave Dive Supervisor?
Will there be an (approved) list of Mentors soon? I'd like to start making plans for my return to 'Cave Country' and sure could use this program.