Divers are prone to exaggeration and underestimation. Divers like to tell sea stories. Gauges are needed to combat this all too common flaw that gives divers not only a lack of credibility, it can sometimes make them a danger to themselves.
We are all told in our basic scuba certification class that underwater things look bigger. Divers have taken this as a license to exaggerate. That black sea bass that openwater diver Fred Mouth said he saw was “the size of a Volkswagon.” Or how ’bout that 20-pound bug back in the hole you could not reach. Sharks grow instantly when you look at them. The larger your eyes become, the more light they take in and the bigger things appear. A gauge would be the answer — just point it and it would give you not only length and width but girth and weight. But to be truly effective, the gauge would have to be tamper proof because you know divers would “adjust” the numbers.
I am sorry, but I have never seen a half-dozen halibut lined up side by side, yet I have been told this time and time again. “Hundreds” of lobster in a hole, a “million” fish on the reef—I could go on. Gauges would go a long way to curb a diver’s nitrogen induced tendency to not knowing how to count.
“YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN HERE YESTERDAY” GAUGE
Divemasters need this one. The water was clearer, the fish were bigger, there was more lobster, blah, blah — all yesterday. Ya? Show me on your gauge.
This gauge needs two modes—pre-dive and post-dive. Pre-dive the gauge must be accurate and make recommendations according to the diver’s experience level—”OK to dive,” “You’ll spit sand for a week,” “Stow the dive gear and break out the surf board,” and “Run.”
In the post-dive mode, the diver can enter their own numbers to substantiate excuses for lost and broken gear and/or
Like the Surf Gauge, this one needs to have a pre and post-dive mode. As a commercial diver (in my 20s and in good shape) I had the opportunity to dive with an honest-to-goodness current gauge in the water (not attached to me but to an oil platform). You really have to work hard to make headway in a 1.5 knot current. Forget it in a 2-knot current. I love hearing divers telling how they fought, and beat, a 3-knot current on their dive last weekend.
In pre-dive mode the gauge would read: “OK to dive,” “Puff & Pant,” “Marathoners only,” “Pick you up in Mexico,” and “You will be stripped bare in 3 seconds.” And like the surf gauge, diver’s will want to punch in their own numbers so they can continue telling their tall tales (single digits only please).
A diver’s tendency to exaggerate or worse underestimate (their ability, surf size, current velocity) could be a boon to gauge makers. But can they be designed or put to effective use? The more important question is, will they sell? Next to diving, a divers favorite thing to do is tell sea stories and sea stories rarely carry fact. Gauges would only get in the way of a good sea story.