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AD 2016 Q2

As we pointed out in the spring 2013 edition of the Alert Diver, even being a dive buddy has potential legal implications. So, to bump this up a notch, what about the diver training organisations themselves? Where do they stand? How do they relate to South African law? Are they all considered the same under our legal system in spite of the differences in organisational structures and training programmes? How does this affect their respective instructors and trainee divers from a legal perspective? These are not exactly simple questions. It is certainly true that the respective training organisations differ in a number of ways. However, this does not imply that there are necessarily differential legal implications for each of them. In fact, under South African law, the legal principles are common in all matters. Therefore, if you suffer a loss and you (or your estate in the case of a fatality) wish to recover damages, the legal principles would be applied commonly; whether you are driving or diving. Although not a frequent occurrence, there have been quite a number of law suits associated with diving injuries and damages in South Africa. This is not surprising, as the occurrence of law suits is really a function of “numbers”. As training increases, so do the chances of injuries and, with it, the chances of legal recourse. So, it remains wise to insure yourself, your equipment or your business in a proper and effective way. But before getting back to the potential differences amongst the training agencies, let’s first explore the foundational legal principles on which any civil claim would be adjudicated: inherent risk, negligence and duty to take care.

SOFT CORAL GOBY Raja

SOFT CORAL GOBY Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia By Adriano Morettin 1st Place I was about to end my dive when my attention was drawn to something very small that moved and hid among the branches of a soft coral. I approached to find two tiny gobies jumping from branch to branch. I pointed my camera toward part of one branch that was not covered by polyps and waited patiently until one of the gobies stopped right in this spot. Nikon D800E, Nikon 60mm micro f/2.8 lens, 1/160 sec @ f/22, ISO 200, Seacam Seaflash 150 strobes (2), Seacam housing; www.facebook.com/adriano.morettin 90 | SPRING 2016

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