Dive Shop or Charter Company Negligence
When a diver contracts with a dive shop or charter boat for a diving trip, a legally recognized relationship is created. In return for certain consideration (an agreed upon price) the dive shop or charter operator obligates itself to provide a certain service. The nature of this relationship is determined by the specific agreement.
At minimum, a dive shop or charter company is responsible for providing safe transportation to and from a dive site. Often, the agreement encompasses the duty to provide not only safe transportation, but also lodging, equipment, dive masters or guides and supervision for the duration of the voyage and dives. It is imperative, therefore, that before leaving the dock, each party obtains a complete understanding of what services are expected from the dive shop or charter company.
Defining the relationship benefits both parties. This, however, does not mean that every aspect of the agreement must be defined. For instance, the duties of the operator to navigate and captain the vessel safely is implied by nature of the relationship.
When would a dive shop or charter operator be liable for injuries sustained by its guests? When the charter company or dive shop fails to deliver on the agreed upon service and that failure is the cause of injury, compensation may be due the diver. Under those circumstances, the dive shop or vessel owner’s failure to provide the agreed upon service may be defined under the law as negligence. What is important to
remember is that a dive shop or charter company will only be found legally at fault where the dive shop or charter company has failed to provide the agreed upon service and that failure was the cause of the injury.