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Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

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fayetteville
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2 posts
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Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

We had the absolute WORST diving experience with this "company". It could not have been any worse!

It is pretty clear that the reason the prices are so high ($165 per person for two tank dive with rental gear!) and the product is so bad is that there is no competition for this outfit.

Here's a quick run down of what happened:

It was just myself, my wife, and my father on the dive. My wife and I hadn't gone diving in 2 years and it had been 35 years for my dad. Obviously we were all rusty and all pretty much beginners.

We spend 15 minutes loading up and are directed to put all our gear together. If I'm paying 165 pp, I expect my gear to be put together for me - especially since we're so rusty and I want it to be put together SAFELY. But this isn't that big of a deal.

During the load up time and the 20 minute boat ride to the reef, the dive master never once says a word to us. No smiles, no introductions, no small talk - literally doesn't acknowledge we are even on the boat. When we get there, she just starts talking and giving directions. Never once learns any of the 3 of our names during the entire trip.

The first dive goes ok until the end. She directs us to all come up suddenly. We all had over 1000 psi still in our tanks (I had 1400psi). I ask her why we came up early and not dive until about 500 psi (we were only in 30 ft of water anyway right by the boat) and she said "oh, you could have stayed down until 500". Gee thanks for letting me know AFTER you cut our first dive short.

On to the second dive, my father didn't have enough weight in the first dive and couldn't ever really get deep so the dive master put some more weight in his vest for the second dive. Well it turns out that it still wasn't enough and he was never able to get deeper than about 10 feet. At no point did she try to help get him down, take him to the surface to talk to him about it, or add any more weight (all dive masters should carry extra weight that they can slip into somebody's vest at any point in the dive!).

************This is where it gets REALLY BAD AND REALLY DANGEROUS**************** On the second dive, my wife sat out so it was just me, my father, and the divemaster. Well we get halfway through and she rings her bell to get our attention underwater. We look about 30 -40 yards behind us and she is signaling to turn around. We do so immediately but to our surprise so does she without waiting on us. We are swimming as fast as we can to catch up but we just watch her fins disappear in the distance. SHE LEFT US. We continue to swim but never see her. She never lets us catch up, never turns around to check on us, JUST ABANDONS US. We are literally left by ourselves on this reef. So we slow down and just start really "diving" assuming she'll come back to get us. 15 MINUTES pass with no divemaster. My father and I decide to surface to see where we are and make sure the boat was still in sight. We see the boat and go back down and start heading back to the boat. Still no divemaster. She finally catches up to us (a total of 20 minutes diving completely by ourselves). At that point, she did not even check to see if we were ok or check our air to see how much we had left! We just kept heading to the boat.

Once we get there, we still had about 1000psi and she motioned that she was cold and was heading to the boat. She had warned us before this dive that she might "Get cold and head in early but that we could just continue to dive". When she headed back, again she did not bother checking our air!!!!!! Plus, what sort of operation lets divers dive by themselves with no divemaster?!?!? If we wanted to do that, we wouldn't have paid $165!!!! So dangerous and they should lose their license!!!

I liken this to going on a jungle tour in Costa Rica that your guide loses you on and after finding you again, cuts your tour short because she is hot and just leaves you in the jungle to fend for yourself while telling you to just find your way back and meet her at the hotel. Dangerous, crazy, unprofessional, and shocking!

My wife, who was on the boat during this second dive, said the divemaster surfaced and had to coordinate with the boat captain to find us. He pointed out our bubbles and she came back down to find us....

When we got back to the boat, I asked "What the heck was that?!?!" to the divemaster and she sharply replied that WE had left her! I said we were simply swimming fast as we could to catch up with her and that she didn't wait or even look back to see if we were there! Plus - how do you lose two (2?!?!) people!? It's HER Job to keep up with us - not the other way around!

The worst part is that we complained directly to the owner when we got back. We told him the whole situation and never ONCE did he apologize or even seem concerned. He even gave us a sense of apathy. He defended the divemaster saying she had been with him a long time. He also replied with a snappy "Well what was your bottom time?" as if we were complaining more about the diving times than the absolute disregard for safety and human life. Again, never apologized once and said "he'll look into it".

So I would highly suggest that people don't dive AT ALL there as opposed to diving with this monopolistic dive company. It's clear that zero competition has created a culture of unprofessionalism, danger, apathy, and high prices with this outfit. Avoid them at all costs! There is an outfit in nearby Green Turtle caye that is supposed to be good - it's just not on treasure cay. Not sure the name but the diving wasn't that great anyway. Beautiful reefs but not much wildlife and trash abounded on the ocean floor. Nothing like Mexico or Belize!!!

Tampa, Florida
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2 posts
35 reviews
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1. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Thanks for the warning. We are heading to Treasure Cay in two weeks. Sorry to hear about your experience. This is the exact reason that I try and pay for everything with a credit card. I hope your next dive experience is better.

Great Abaco Island
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25 posts
3 reviews
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2. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Sounds like your were overcharged for what you got. Did they ask about your previous experience and how long it had been? With no diving for 35 years, I would not trust anyone in the Bahamas or Caribbean to take me on a dive without a complete 'intro to diving' course as part of what I requested. A few hours at a local dive shop in the US before the trip would be more cost effective, and provide a greater comfort level since care for a dive accident is very limited in the Abacos. If the "divemaster" was aware of your experience level and left you behind when there were no other divers to distract her, then it sounds like she was not worth paying.

Great Abaco Island
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25 posts
3 reviews
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3. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Forgot to add something. A few years ago we went on a dive/snorkel with Dive Guana. They seemed very responsible. When 3 women on board became very seasick, they had a small boat dispatched to take them back to home base. And when they saw a large shark cruising the next dive site, they moved on to another spot that was an equally nice dive.

Gastonia, North...
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3,479 posts
52 reviews
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4. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Ditto on Dive Guana. Very professional and safe. But we still dove the same spot when Troy and Corey spotted the shark from the boat. I was the first to jump in!

JENSEN BEACH
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10,858 posts
51 reviews
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5. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Dive Guana, Froggie's on Elbow Cay and Above and Below in Marsh Harbour are all outfits I have had good experiences with in the Abacos. When we stayed at Treasure Cay Resort the people in the dive shop were pretty rude. The day I planned to dive they cancelled because they said they didn't have enough people to make it "worthwhile". Sounds like it was just as well. I would be very uncomfortable with a divemaster who was so uninterested in their Guests as well as safety.

Abaco, Bahamas
3 posts
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6. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Hello, I am Brent White, the owner of Treasure Divers for 11 years now. I have built this dive operation on my reputation of being a safe a reliable dive operator. We have many repeat customers who love to dive with us.

We dive with the grand parents, parents, and have taught all their children to dive within Treasure Cay Second homeowners.

Of the 7 dive shops here in Abaco, we are one of the safest dive operations in Abaco, having no accident reports and never having sunk their dive boat like other dive operations in Abaco.

Please understand that there are always two side to every story. I am not saying the customer is wrong, but both parties need to take responsibility for their actions.

When a customer comes in to the dive shop after a dive and complains, I always listen to what the customer has to say, and believe in what they say. I request then to speak to my dive master and boat captain and find out more information before I can make a judgement as to what really happened. We have had three problems over 11 years, and some people you can never make happy!

First off, as a Certified Scuba Diver, you are always responsible for your own actions, and must take on this responsibility. This is taught in the course, to look after your gear, your air, yourself, and also you dive buddy's. Never dive alone!

When you came into the dive shop to make the booking, you informed me that you had not dove in several years, I then, as always, offered you a refresher dive in the pool to get aquatinted with scuba diving and practice some skills. You REFUSED, saying that all was good, we are good divers, and needed no help, but were a little rusty! Yes, rusty from not diving for several years. Well, big surprise to us, when you remember nothing and lie to us. We always have all of our certified divers/customers set up their own scuba gear on our boat. This shows us if you know what you are doing, are really certified, and if it has been a while since your last dive, lets you get reacquainted with your scuba gear, and reminds you where everything is and if everything is still working, (Just like a Sky Diver who takes responsible for his own gear, a jumper always packs his own shoot, knows all about it and how it work on every jump). We then look after the equipment for you from then on, including changing the tanks and rinsing the gear after the dive. We always look after all resort scuba divers, beginner divers, and student divers, but certified scuba divers, saying they know it all, but are a little rusty, need to take responsibility of their own actions. I see that you have never dove in Florida, where you carry your own tanks, set it up, change over tanks, do it all, and have a dive master not in the water, but only on the dive boat. We have two boat captains on the boat at all times, and one is a dive master to lead the dive and help the divers who ask for help. The boat captain looks after the boat, and follow the bubbles. NOT all dive shop in Abaco have two boat captains on their boat! Some leave their boat unattended and have no one on the surface if a problem occurs.

A dive master is a guide to guide you around the reef. If you cannot follow a dive master nor if you cannot follow simple instructions, especially when you are only two divers to follow one dive master, then you should not be scuba diving as a certified diver. You were in water at a depth of 45 feet, in 35 feet of visibility and lost a dive master? Sorry, but my dive master does not have eyes behind her head. When we have certified divers, most certified divers wish to look around, sometime stop to take pictures, and then swim behind the dive master. The dive master looks back every 4 to 5 minutes to see if you are still following. Sometime certified divers do get separated, and as a certified diver, you should know what action to take. Search for one minute then surface. This is what my dive master did when she could no longer see you. My Boat Captain, also saw the dive from the boat, saw your bubbles reverse direction and swim away from the direction of the dive master. He even mentioned this to your wife on the boat. That you were "separated" from the dive master. Our dive master lost you, searched for a minute, then surfaced. Upon surfacing asked the boat captain where your bubble were, and then swam to you.

As for the dive experience the divers had, all of our dive tours are timed at 40 to 45 minutes. Some divers use less air than others, and normally divers return to the boat with between 500 and 800 PSI of air left in their tank.

We do have good divers who may return with up to 1500 PSI, but as we have a dive master in the water, and the divers are require to follow the dive master, we dive by time. This keep us to our work/boat schedule. Dive operator understand this!

If a customer/diver wants us to hold their hand and do everything for them, we do offer a resort scuba diver course, and are more than happy to do this for the divers who ask for help.

And yes, we charge more for this service, up to $200 for a two tank dive. Our normal price for a two tank dive is $135, and includes tanks and weights. Equipment is extra. We are the same price as some of the other dive operations in Abaco. We are as expensive as the Dive operations in Hawaii and the Florida Keys. We are not cheaper than Mexico, Dominica Republic and Costa Rica, nor is our Bahamian beer at $48 a case! The Bahamas is a lot more expensive, food, electricity, fuel, & manpower.

I am very sorry for your bad experience and wish I could do something about it, but I know there is nothing to change your mind!

Abaco, Bahamas
3 posts
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7. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Oh forgot to mention, we, Treasure Divers, normally go out with a minimum of

4 scuba divers = 4 x $135 = $540 to cover costs.

We took out 3 divers, which we normally never do. But tried to make these divers happy as they had not dove in a long time. We were losing money!

Fuel cost for the trip is ( 40 gallons @ $5.85/ga = $234.)

Boat Captain = $125 - Dive Master = $125

Total cost = $484.00 per trip

We have boat expenses, maintenance costs & dive shop expense.

Electricity is $400 month for our small shop.

Boat Insurance $6000

Dive Insurance $850

Store rent $1000 month

We dive to have fun!

JENSEN BEACH
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10,858 posts
51 reviews
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8. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

I'm a little confused about the "are really certified"??? SURELY you verify the cert card with photo? Not sure where that came from. While of course there are always two sides to every story and you, rightfully, defended yours, my exp w/ the shop was not a good one I'm sorry to say.

Abaco, Bahamas
3 posts
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9. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Hello

Finally an account from the dive guide. The dive guide is a friend of mine and helps me out from time to time. (when I am sick or when we have many students).

She is a PADI Instructor and own her own sailing and dive charter business.

This is her account of what happened.

Please understand that she is from France, and her english written is not perfect, nor is mine, but this is her account of what happened.

You asked me to dive with a group of three divers as you were sick and they were all certified. As you could not do it, and as a favor to a friend, I was happy to volunteer and help you in this matter. When I introduced me as their underwater guide (and not as a divemaster), they did not answer back with their names, which is fine with me: it happens sometimes that people are shy and are not comfortable in giving you their names. No big deal! We went to Turtle Reef first, where I did the briefing in order to know how we will be diving and how the site was like and then as they entered in the water, where I already was just in case, I asked them to check their weights as per the usual PADI procedure. The father had not attached his properly so I fixed it for him. They seemed OK with the weight belt they were given. Then I asked them if everybody was ready and as we all were, we went down nice and slow. Once on the bottom, I asked them if they were OK and they gave me the OK sign. So we went for our tour. After 10 minutes, I asked them their air consumption, although I did not have to do it as they are certified and during the briefing, I had asked them to give me the half tank sign for me to know when to return. Approximately 20-25 minutes after the beginning of the dive I asked them again and as they were around 1500psi (for the dad)-1700(for the 2 others), we turned and headed back to the boat where we surfaced after 42 minutes of diving time. They seemed to enjoy it although they would have liked to stay longer as they still had 1000psi in their tanks.

We then had our surface interval and we arrived at The Cathedral. As the father and the son’s wife had troubles with their buoyancy by the end of the first dive I added respectively 3 pounds and 2 pounds in their BCs. When we were about to go down, the lady said she did not want to dive so it was just the three of us! Easy! We applied the same procedure as for the first dive and I asked them once underwater if everything was fine and they gave me the OK sign. We were about to go when I saw that the son had his weight belt loose and I helped him putting it back in place and then he was fine. We went on tour where regularly I checked them to see if everything was fine and it was. We got in the Cathedral with all these silver fish which was nice to swim around. Then we went on for the deeper part of the dive before getting to the “shortcut” on our way to the boat. That’s here that things went not so well. The two of them had a tendency of not following me but going ahead of me or on the side. That was fine with me until we had to take the shortcut as you turn on your left there. As they were ahead of me and on my left, I started to turn in order to “cut their route” and have them following me. I signaled them where to go. Obviously they did not see the signal as they continue their route. So I used my signaling device and show them to come to me. Which they did: they turned back to come towards me. Therefore, I started to take the cut, which means you have to “climb the hill” and then go down after the cut. Once on the other side, I waited 1 minute in order to gather. But I did not see them. So I got back on the other side of the cut where I expected to see them. But they were not there anymore. So I surfaced as without a guide, that’s what they should have done. Unfortunately, once on the surface they were not there either. I asked Sandy where the bubbles were and according to what he told me, they were going back to the boat following the route we took before. So I went a few feet down and tried to reach them. I was swimming fast but I had to check all around me and also by the surface in case they would have surfaced and I get past the Cathedral when I saw them. Then I asked them if they were OK and they replied with the OK sign. So we went on and then the boat was next to us. The dive time was 45 minutes. As I had told them during the second briefing and because they wanted to spend all their air underwater, I signaled them that the boat was there and that if they wanted to stay longer they could (as they are certified) and they signaled OK. So I surfaced and to my surprise they followed.

Once back on the surface they were sharply questioning why I left them; to which I answered that they left me and I was searching them. And then that’s it. They never asked any further explanations or enquired about what happened there. For me that was the end of the story as everybody was back on the boat and at no time there had been anyone in danger whatsoever. They were not left alone by 15 or 20 minutes as they are stating (which I would like to know how they were able to estimate as they did not had a computer with them, only the pressure and depth gauges on their BCs).

I was really frustrated that such a thing happened and annoyed because they were not following the guide they were supposed to, but apart from that, it was just that they did not get the tour as it was planned that upset me: I like when things go the way they are planned to. Once back at the dock, by curiosity I checked the air they had left in their tank and the father was at 500psi, the son at 700! Not what they pretended to have.

I know that the divers were rusty, and may have not remember all that they should have. This is way we take a refresher course.

Unfortunately most divers do not wish to accept this and especially pay the extra money for a simple refresher course.

Please keep diving, I know not with us, but scuba diving under the proper rules and instruction is a lot of fun!

Long Island
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504 posts
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10. Re: Stay Away from Treasure Divers!!!! Unprofessional and UNSAFE

Although I am not familiar with this specific case aside from what I've read here, I thought I'd chime in with some general impressions. I am a PADI certified divemaster and my wife is a PADI instructor. We met working dive classes together at a dive shop in Denver, Colorado. My wife has been an instructor since 1988, and I've been a divemaster since 1989. She worked as an instructor and dive leader in Cyprus for 2 years. We both have well over 1000 dives logged, but we haven't been active in the instructional side now for 15 years. The training still tends to say with you.

What Treasure Diver said above is quite accurate as to procedure. Even when on a pleasure dive trip, I watch the actions of those around me as they get ready for the first dive. You can get a quick read as to comfort level just by watching them assemble and put on their gear. When you have worked as many Open Water classes as I have, you automatically rate diver skill in your head, and you flag those who may need watching. I'm sure that the actions of that group on the boat sent out alarms to the dive leader.

I don't know why some divers are so frightened of admitting just how uncomfortable they are, but as an experienced divemaster, I've come to expect it. I've seen basic open water certified divers who have been diving for one trip, maybe 10 dives at most, and haven't been in the water since that first trip 5 years ago, yet they still won't admit to needing a refresher. My wife and I, even with more than 1000 dives each, would still take our gear and do a short pool session, go through our basic skills, checkout the gear, and just make sure that we have it together. We do this if we haven't been in the water for one year, much less for several years.

I'm thinking that perhaps there was some communication breakdown on the trip that inspired this thread. Perhaps the party wasn't informed about or failed to understand the 45 minute limit placed on dives with this operation. Even so, when they lost touch with a divemaster who was supposed to be leading the entire dive, they should have known to surface without needing to be instructed to do so. Their failure to follow such a basic safety procedure is indicative of their lack of experience.

The divemaster probably should have been watching them more closely too. I know I would have been, especially with the issues that the father was having. I can't believe that they didn't do a shallow water weight check even before heading out. Even though I know well what I need, my body may have changed since my last trip, and that usually requires a weight check to fine tune it. I might just take what I know is probably a bit too much on the first dive and then adjust from there. That way I don't hold up the group, or my buddy, while I fool around with lead. When the father had trouble getting down, the dive should have been aborted until he was ready to go. Sometimes such issues arise not from too little weight, but from the anxiety of the first dive in several years and breathing too fast and not letting yourself descend, or from using an unfamiliar BCD and not venting all of the air from it.

I see some errors on both sides of the dispute here, but it all started with a group of divers who were beyond just rusty, but wouldn't admit that they needed help, not to the dive operation before the dive, not here even after the fact. I'd have had lights flashing and bells ringing in my head over just about everything that happened with this group, both with the difficulties assembling gear and with the buoyancy issues. As a divemaster, I'd never have allowed them out of my sight, and with only 35 feet visibility, I've have been checking far more often than every 4 or 5 minutes. I'd have also gone over separation procedures in my pre-dive briefing.

Fortunately, the only effect of the mistakes made was a bad dive. It could have been much worse.