SNKG – CHAPTER 1 – THE “RESPONSIBLE SNORKELING GUIDE”

SNSI manuals consistently emphasize “responsible practices” to encourage participants to avoid accidents that could harm themselves or their buddies.

As an SNSI Snorkeling Guide, you are expected to exhibit a higher level of reasonableness and prudence than that required of the snorkelers you are guiding.

It is often said that for a good Snorkeling Guide, the job is only deemed complete upon entering the water. To make this a reality, all preparatory work prior to the excursion must be executed correctly.

For a Snorkeling Guide, excursion preparation begins with the proper handling of all office paperwork, which is vital for supporting all activities. Part of your responsibility is to stay informed about changes in legislation, snorkeling practices, and generally accepted procedures. This includes being knowledgeable about current national laws governing diving, checking for local legislation where applicable, and being aware of the specific local laws of the place where you operate. In the absence of specific regulations, your sense of responsibility and adherence to SNSI Standards become crucial. Following these standards does not absolve you from liability in the event of an accident, but it can be a positive factor in determining responsibility.

Each time you change your work location, it is your duty to familiarize yourself with the local rules and procedures. Do not rely on others to provide this information, as it often only surfaces in response to a problem or an infraction. In such cases, ignorance of the law is not a valid defense. Therefore, proactive learning and adaptation to the local diving environment are key responsibilities of a Snorkeling Guide.

Forms to be Filled Out Before the Excursion

In snorkeling, as in all human activities, there are inherent risks. Snorkelers must be aware of these risks and willingly accept the potential consequences. This understanding is crucial from a legal standpoint, as it implies that participants voluntarily assume the risks associated with water activities like Snorkeling. As a snorkeler, you’ve likely experienced being asked to sign a liability release and risk acceptance form at diving centers. While a snorkeler’s signature on such a form doesn’t automatically absolve the professional of responsibility, it serves as a significant defense, particularly if the Snorkeling Guide has followed all procedures correctly. Hence, it is essential that these forms are always signed.

For the form to be valid, the signer must fully understand and evaluate the nature and extent of the risks they are accepting. When used correctly, this form also acts as an accident-prevention tool by reminding snorkelers of the behaviors necessary for safe diving. A valid declaration requires that:

  • The person understands the risk.
  • They are participating voluntarily, without coercion.
  • The risks are explained in a clear, simple, and understandable manner.
  • The person has sufficient knowledge to assess the risks involved.

The last point is particularly important. For instance, if you lead a minor without the parent consent in writing, you might be held responsible, as the minor may not understand the risks.

As a Snorkeling Guide, you should not allow anyone who refuses to sign the liability release form to participate in any activities you organize and supervise.

While these forms can be useful in defending against a lawsuit, they are not sufficient to completely exonerate you. Always remember that, irrespective of the forms signed, you must fulfill your duties as an SNSI Snorkeling Guide. Your primary objective remains the safety and enjoyment of the snorkelers in activities organized by you or the diving center you represent.

Forms to be Filled Out After the Excursion

As a conscientious Snorkeling Guide, ensuring that liability release forms are signed before the excursion is just one aspect of your role. Demonstrating high professionalism also involves meticulously recording the details of each excursion. After every excursion, it is important to log the activity on the required form. This serves as a record-keeping tool and also as evidence of your serious and professional approach to managing snorkeling activities.

The retention of these forms is as critical as their accurate completion. You should keep all forms for at least five years, or longer if required by the regulations in the country where you operate. Properly filing and storing these documents is essential. A form that can’t be located when needed is effectively as good as not having been filled out at all. The same applies to a form that’s been filled out incorrectly.

Therefore, it’s vital to establish and maintain a systematic and organized method for handling all excursion-related paperwork. This practice supports your professional conduct and also ensures that you have necessary documentation readily available in case of any inquiries or legal matters that may arise in the future.

M

Snorkeling Guide