I feel it is necessary for me to offer up thanks to Tom Mount and the folks at IANTD for stepping up, investigating, and putting my mind at ease.
I will not mention the names, locations, or businesses that are at the heart of this because I do not want to promote them in any manner what so ever!
A while back a cave diving documentary began making its way onto Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, IMBD, and Documentary Addicts. It was also the cover story on California Diver for a while too. Links to this video trailer were posted on several dive forums also. Some in depth information was released on Caverdiver.net and the follow up threads ended up leading to a threat of a lawsuit by the film producers. The forum cowered to the threat and removed the entire thread. Scubaboard, on the other hand, stood their ground and not only retained the thread, but responded with a polite “we will not do as you ask”.
The trailer had a 12 year old boy that was cave diving, scooter cave diving, and exploration cave diving. His Stepfather was his mentor and the producer of the video. I began posting my concerns on every media source that I could find that they were using. California Diver took it off their cover page. It disappeared from YouTube, Vimeo comments were disabled, IMBD remains with my negative comment, and their Facebook pages removed my posts and blocked me.
I finally posted my concerns on the IANTD page and Mark Fowler promptly asked me to supply any and all evidence for review. I bugged Mark a couple of times and found that they were waiting for replies to some inquiries.
All of a sudden TJ posted about a new video that was available to rent or buy and a “coupon” for a freebie. Turns out it was this same video and I got all over him for promoting anything to do with a violation of IANTD training standards. We communicated a bit and he took down the post. I was happy to see it removed.
It was time to bug Mark Fowler again and he directed me the COO, Luis Pedro for further information. I went back to the IANTD page and posted something about it again. Today, Tom Mount and I messaged a few times over the matter. Later when I called to speak with Luis, Tom answered the phone. We spoke of my concerns, the people in question, and IANTD involvement. Tom asked what I wanted them to do, and did not have a response. I just wanted it looked into and dealt with accordingly. I did not feel it was my place to tell them how to police their instructors. Tom clarified a few things for me, such as the boy was NOT certified, the Stepfather was NOT an instructor and that IANTD standards were NOT violated. I told Tom that my concern is not so much for the boy, or any of the others, but for an innocent child that might see the video and thank it is OK for a 12 year old to cave dive, and end up dead. I feel that it is our responsibility to try and protect the innocent.
Tom finally gave me his thoughts on my concern. He told me that he was not very worried at all about another 12 year old dying from watching the video. It would be extremely difficult for your regular 12 year old to be able to obtain the gear and help necessary to cave dive. Finally something that made sense and let my concerns subside. I fully agree with Tom and my worries, even for the best of intent, are not very probable.
I can finally let this go. Huge thanks to Tom Mount and the rest of the IANTD folk who investigated this.