Dive Etiquette: How NOT to Behave Underwater

Two diversWhile it takes longer to catch on for some divers than others (and never for an unsavory handful), etiquette is one of the most fundamental aspects of diving, and one that serves us well throughout our diving lives. Although there are always personal additions and modifications for each diver, we consider the basic tenets of dive etiquette to be:


  • Spatial awareness – always be conscious of your immediate area
  • Good buddy practices – be ready to assist other divers with equipment and checking to make sure all is OK
  • Marine life – don’t touch, chase, or otherwise harass aquatic animals
  • Respect the boat – pick up after yourself and keep your gear out of the way
  • Know your limits – never dive in any situation you feel uncomfortable with

Seems pretty straightforward, right?

Not so with this aquarium collector, who was filmed in rather unsettling footage aggressively approaching a diver who was part of a coral health survey team off Hawaii’s Kona coast. Apparently annoyed (for reasons that are as of yet unknown) that other divers were in the region, the collector swims rapidly over to team member Rene Umberger, gesturing angrily. When that doesn’t seem to get the point across, he or she then yanks Umberger’s regulator out of her mouth, an act that was caught not only on Umberger’s underwater camera, but also by another member of the team. Even after the collector swims back to his perch, he or she still continues to make threatening gestures at the stunned team.

This is not good dive etiquette, people, and frankly, we here at Aquaviews are appalled that another diver, regardless of what activity they’re engaging in underwater, would behave in such a deplorable manner and put the safety of other divers at risk. The offending collector has not yet been identified, but Umberger understandably wants the person tracked down and held accountable for actions that would have sent anything less than an experienced diver shooting to the surface in a state of panic.

What do you think of the events portrayed in this video? Should the collector face criminal charges?


Image via quinet


  1. Sherralee Huot says:

    Absolutely charges of assault AND attempted murder should be laid!

  2. Where was her spear gun??

  3. It was not cool but if this lady has 10,000 dives and almost died then she shouldn’t be making annoying noises on her tank. If what they were doing was legal I think she may have violated a few etiquette rules herself.

    • Agreed!! If one of my open water students can’t retrieve their regulator, guess what?!? They don’t get their C-Card!

  4. Yes. To the full extent of the law!

  5. Nonsense! This has nothing to do with dive etiquette. It’s criminal assault.

  6. What? Never had your tank turned off while 18meters under? Just take off your BCD and fix it.

  7. Christine says:

    Joe Smith, are you serious? That diver was completely in the wrong. You don’t yank people’s regulators out of their mouths. It doesn’t matter if the diver wasn’t hurt & managed the problem– the ass who grabbed her regulator didn’t know that she’d be fine & severe complications could have resulted if she hadn’t stayed calm.

  8. doug wendell says:

    I think attempted murder is a bit extreme. Any trained diver should be capable of retrieving their reg and or making an emergency ascent with or without breathing off of their BC. That said, there was no call for the other diver’s actions and he should be prosecuted.

    • Kevin Cornwell says:

      It doesn’t matter in law, whether the intended victim died, or lived, or stayed calm and survived. Attempted murder considers the action/intent of the attacker and the action’s possible/probable/intended result to endanger life. The diver attacked had her life support forceably removed from her. Her life was under imminent threat at the hand of another human. That is attempted murder, by intent, with or without motivation, with or without cause.

  9. Maybe Joe Smith is the idiot that pulled her regulator! The suspect in this. Video needs be caught and prosecuted!

  10. They do know who the offending jackass is. He filed a harassment complaint against Umberger! Being filmed is harrasment, I guess. So far, no charges have been filed against him, but the police are investigating.

  11. along with criminal charges he should have his certification pulled and banned from diving

  12. Deborah Pereira says:

    Absolutely prosecute him. I don’t think attempted murder is extreme, he had no idea of the experience of the other diver.

  13. So, what’s the verdict? What happened? Did anyone press charges?

  14. Clay Cunningham says:

    He should be prosecuted and all of his Scuba license revoked. He should never dive again.

  15. I would like to see a follow up story

  16. I,d like to meet this Jackass up close then he wouldn,t have any teeth to hold his regulator in!!!

  17. Why didn’t he like being filmed, something to hide?
    Rightly or wrongly, he should have sought retribution on the surface.

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