Nearly 2 weeks ago it was reported that two divers were left behind by a charter dive boat off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida. Fortunately, they were rescued three miles off shore by a passing yacht after several hours at sea. Neither diver knew each other and had gone on the dive trip without a friend or part of a group.
Anyone diving on a charter trip by themselves, without having a friend or being part of the group, may leave themselves vulnerable to a crew a miscount or an event where they are simply forgotten, as was the case with the divers in Key Biscayne. The best scuba diving advice when diving on a charter dive trip, is to go in a group of three or more people and have at least one of the people “buddy up” with someone who is not part of the group. That way, when all the divers resurface an accurate recount can occur. If a member of the group is missing, the crew can be notified of the missing person and avoid leaving a diver in the water. This is not always possible when diving. In the instance where someone wishes to go on a dive charter with strangers, they should make sure they have researched the charter company and captain thoroughly, and obtained references. There are websites and blogs dedicated to referrals and reviews of dive charter companies.
In short, plan a dive prudently and go with a charter that is reputable, reviewed and respected. Thankfully, this event had a happy ending and didn’t conclude in a boating/diving tragedy.