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AD 2015 Q4

This is the “not do” component. It is also somewhat harder to define. After all, who determines the duty to care and the non-compliance thereto in unique emergency situations? Still, this component is more likely to lead to a recovery of damages. Put differently, when you are under a legal duty to take reasonable care and you do not do it, then you could be held liable for damages that are directly caused by the breach of that duty. The key elements are “reasonable care” and “directly caused”. Let’s break that down, starting with directly caused. This means that the damages are linked directly to the failure to perform the reasonable duty. This is called a causal connection. In other words, there must be a connection between the duty not complied with and the damages. deep diving are so hazardous that it may well be better to only jeopardise the life of one individual rather than two. That is, of course, as long as no one is put at risk during the subsequent body recovery or rescue efforts! Well, as a qualified instructor and dive leader, I shall continue to teach and advocate the buddy system. I do not like the idea of diving alone anyway. I prefer to share the joys of diving with someone able to share the memories of the dive. To me, diving is, and remains, a team sport. Which introduces another consideration: How would the principle of duty to take care be applied to children who dive? Training agencies impose age and depth restrictions on children who enter the sport before the age of 14. Depending on the age and diving course, a child may be required to dive with an instructor or at least another adult dive buddy. If the adult were to get into trouble, the child would not be expected to meet the duty of care of another adult. He/she would be held to an age appropriate standard. What about all those waivers? As mentioned in the previous article, waivers define the boundaries of the self-imposed risk divers are willing to take by requiring that they acknowledge them. Waivers do not remove all the potential claims for negligence and non-compliance with a duty of care. As such, it is left to our courts to ultimately interpret the content of a waiver within the actual context of damage or injury.

LOCAL DIVING Between the

LOCAL DIVING Between the Depths and the Shallows EXPLORING CAPE COD’S WET HABITATS Text and photos by Ethan Daniels The Atlantic’s nutrient-rich seas run through the veins of America’s formative history and are still a cornerstone of New England culture. At the region’s marine heart is an iconic peninsula, Cape Cod, described by Henry David Thoreau as “the bared and bended arm of Massachusetts,” where lies “… nothing but that savage ocean between us and Europe.” Lily pads, backlit by afternoon sunlight, grow along the shallow edge of a freshwater Cape Cod pond. Opposite, from left: A starfish rests in a seagrass meadow. Cape Cod is extremely popular with boaters, but fewer people explore its underwater wonders. Geologically fairly simple, the cape is a long, bent spit of sand left behind by retreating glaciers at the end of the Pleistocene epoch (the Great Ice Age, which ended about 11,700 years ago). The peninsula juts 65 miles from the mainland into the North Atlantic. Influenced by the fertile waters of the Labrador Current from the north and the warmer Gulf Stream from the south, the cape plays a vital role in the migration routes of many birds, marine mammals, fish and marine invertebrates. Just a couple of hours 36 | FALL 2015

HOW TO DIVE IT Getting There Regular dive charters are not often advertised, so it works best to contact one of the cape’s dive shops ahead of time. Charters typically take place during weekends and depart from various harbors depending on weather and the shipwreck the captain has in mind. Conditions Water temperatures in Vineyard Sound, south of the cape, can be warm during summer months, reaching the high 60s (°F) or even low 70s (°F). Ocean temperatures off the outer cape are much cooler on average, only reaching the mid-50s (°F) during summer months. Most local divers use drysuits, though a full 7mm wetsuit with a hood and gloves could suffice if you’re only diving for a day or two. The region is not known for clear water, and visibility varies from about 5 feet to 45 feet. Strong currents are found just about everywhere around the cape, and dives are usually planned for slack tides. Most offshore wrecks are considered intermediate or advanced dives due to the potential for currents and rapidly changing conditions. Topside Adventure When not underwater, hike the gorgeous trails around Cape Cod National Seashore, where, as Thoreau put it, “a man may stand there and put all America behind him.” During summer months catch a Cape Cod Baseball League game; the league features some of the best collegiate baseball players in the country. Rent a kayak, and explore the many bays and coves that make up the peninsula’s seashore. from Boston, this stretched arm of sandy soil shelters the essence of New England, incorporating the classic imagery of vast tracts of beach and salt marsh, crusty fishermen and summer vacation homes. It also offers a range of remarkable diving opportunities. The peninsula’s many peaceful bays — littered with saltwater ponds, narrow creeks, marshes and inlets — serve as nurseries and fertile feeding grounds for all sorts of marine fauna. The ever-flowing waters in these calm habitats are rarely deeper than 20 feet and are home to teeming ecosystems. Incoming and outgoing tides play an influential role in the bays’ ecological webs, where menageries of flora and fauna thrive below the low-tide line. CRITTERS Timid hermit crabs and well-camouflaged decorator crabs can barely be discerned from the surrounding seafloor due to the prolific sponge and algal growth hooked onto their articulated limbs. Scampering across the bottom, stirring up a cloud of sand in its wake, a large male blue crab disappears into a forest of seaweed. Submerged glacial rocks are carpeted with filter-feeding barnacles and bright orange and yellow sponges. Sprouting from the sand nearby, delicate branched arms of a sea cucumber patiently collect passing zooplankton, continuously stuffing the minute creatures into the animal’s stationary gullet. A pair of russet-colored horseshoe crabs bulldoze through the scene, the smaller male clasping the massive female from behind. These distant relatives of scorpions evolved 450 million years ago; they are quintessential Cape Cod inhabitants and one of the peninsula’s keystone species. Above the kaleidoscope of bottom-dwelling creatures live dozens of species of vertebrates. A giant northern pipefish, a slender relative of the seahorse, appears out of the seaweed mélange, blending into the habitat with subtle color patterns. The strange, flattened profile of a ALERTDIVER.COM | 37

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