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  • March 31, 2009

    Another Warning About Dive Connections In San Diego

    A year ago, I posted a warning about Dive Connections, Inc. out of San Diego; it seems that they pulled anchor and were about to leave a couple of Divevets in the water.

    Now another warning from a Divevets’ thread about DCI again!

    It seems that a couple had reservations to dive the Coronado Islands, they paid, their trip was confirmed the day before, but when they showed up the boat had been canceled because they didn’t have enough divers.

    Then, Dive Connections refused to refund their money as it was against their policy.

    You can read the Divevets thread here.

    By the way, I am still compiling my lobster liberation count from last season.

    10 Comments

    1. May 24, 2009
      I will agree and hope everyone that plans a dive in San Diego checks the reviews and is now forewarned not to use this company. We went on a dive yesterday on the boat Kelp Connection with Dive Connections, Inc. (www.gottadive.com). To start, about 30% of the tanks had to be replaced because they weren’t filled prior to departure. The crew way disorganized and did not appear professional. The captain was unfamiliar with the boat and didn’t even know how to turn the battery on. So needless to say, we didn’t even pull away until over an hour after past the scheduled time. Once we did pull away, they realized they had forgotten the breakfast and rolls for lunch sandwiches. One guy complained that his tank was leaking and the divemaster tool him that it was just a small leak and that he would be ok. In addition, the divemaster never got suited up, or even had his BC and reg attached to a tank, ready to make a rescue while divers were in the water.
      The head is only available for use while in open water and freshwater rinsing was only available when the engine was running, which meant that everyone had to get back on board before anyone could rinse. Luckily the dive conditions were great that day. Unfortunately, the crew did not want to go to a second location because there was a class on board, so we stayed at the same location for both dives.

      Comment by Adrienne — May 25, 2009 @ 6:38 pm

    2. I also had a horrible experience with Dive Connections (www.gottadive.com). I called on a Thursday to book a wreck dive for Sunday for 4 people and reserved with my credit card. When we got there on Sunday, the DCI owner Rich stared at us blankly and said we weren’t on his list. I told him I had talked to him on the phone multiple times just a couple days before and reserved with my credit card. Too bad for us! He told me they weren’t going out to do the wreck dives that we had booked, but we could go dive another site. He also told me that he HADN’T charged my credit card yet, so he took my credit card again to charge.

      Well, we did the 2 worst dives we have ever experienced, rented the worst quality rental gear, and when I get home from my trip, I see on my credit card statement that he did charge me for my original booking and then charged me AGAIN on the day we arrived. So I paid for the whole she-bank (dives + rental gear for 4 people) twice: almost $1000! Now I’m trying to get a hold of them to get back what I am owed, but it’s taking a while. Can’t believe how unprofessional this place is.

      Comment by Amy — July 10, 2009 @ 9:56 am

    3. Just got back from a 2 Tank dive trip with Dive Connections October 10th. Had no problems with them. Two people tossing there cookies up. (One was my Son) but on every boat there seems to be at least one. Booked on line with no problems. There weights where color coded. I did not see any of the problems mention above.

      William Rogers (PADI INSTUCTOR)

      Comment by William Rogers — October 14, 2009 @ 2:52 pm

    4. yeah, well these people killed my brother, because they were unprepared for an emergency and never released his weight belt. They are morons and do not dive with this company or you or someone in your family may be next.

      I am so grieveing the loss of my brother, which by the way was just on Sept 29th of this year. He was a police officer and a husband and a father of a beautiful 8 month old little girl.

      Think before you dive with these people. He ran out of air and the dive master jumped in with no equipment. They are not prepared for and emergency especially for wreck dives where there is alot of kelp. He should of never ran out of air.
      They are very inexperienced and don’t know what the hell they are doing.

      Comment by Lenise Prainito — October 20, 2009 @ 11:29 am

    5. I am very sorry to hear about the loss of your brother nothing anyone can do to fix that. I also am sorry for the basic training he recieved that must not of covered the basics, Air management, Ditching weights and other emergencies senerios.

      It was sad to read about this, as me and my son love to Dive. It reminds all of us we love a sport that can kill us.

      Deepest regards, William Rogers

      Comment by william rogers — October 22, 2009 @ 7:54 pm

    6. Hey, wait a moment! I recently dived with this company and I disagree! The poor management of the dives, the dive master’s laissez faire attitude for his divers and the defective equipment was setting Dive Connections up for a tragic accident.I don’t think someone needs to be told that it is the victim’s fault for what is the dive shops mistake. The only mastake he made was using dive connection. It is true that the dive company allows non-certified dives, or unqulified divers to dive adv. cert. dives. The dive shop itself is a shack!It is also true that the dive master never suited up or had a prapared breathing apparatus on the ready. On my dive trip with DC, a pair of divers got seperated, one going back towards the boat and the other deeper into the kelp field. I could tell that the one man swimming away was getting caught in the kelp and needed help. Where was the dive master? On the boat. Most of the tanks were only filled up to 2000 psi. Btw Roger, you seem to have a lot of good things to say about Dive Connections when everyone else is saying how bad it is. I keep on seeing the same identical statement from you on all the dive blogs. My heart goes out to the family and the friend of the police officer.
      =(..

      Comment by AJ divegirl — October 25, 2009 @ 9:11 am

    7. I used to dive with DCI up until a few months ago. A woman surfaced not breathing after diving the Yukon and the DM got her to the boat and began CPR, but quickly learned that the O2 tank on board was empty. A diver from another DCI boat on the wreck swam another O2 tank over and that tank had very low air pressure. Thank god that the coast guard/life guard response was very quick and they were able to revive her. I would hate to think what would have happened if we were further out at sea or down at the Coronados.

      Comment by Cali Diver — October 31, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    8. My name is Barry Punshon and I started dive connections company in 1996 and ran until 2007 this was a good company until my partner of 10 years left to another state after that it has been like the hatfields and mccoys with assorted partners and problems. I came back and rebuilt company and was doing fine but greed set in because the people who now are there Robert Ellis Richard Sillanpa Charles Thrasher and Dan Whalen cant run a dairy queen much less a company like this one.I am sure most of you know who I am was in mission bay for 20 years running dive boats.I was in mexico on business when they came in and took over at the end of that a man who worked for me was in jail for arson on one of robert ellis fairy tales he spent 7 months in jail and went to court and was sited for mis handling a gas can he was going to his truck and was attacked by robert ellis.Robert ellis is a bungling boob and i gave him chances and he always fouled things up this latest disaster of letting this police man die was gross neglegents and sueable if I was his brother I would do this If he cares to speek to me I am in the big D at 3037594700 filling my own law suit against Richard Sillanpa.Robert ellis was not insured that day required by our lease and had let his dm card laps 2 and a half years before.Richard Sillanpa was evicted june 30 and doing things in business that were unbelievabe and dishonest he has caused problems from mexico to denver arizona and california. He pumps bad air explodes tanks and compressors runs boats aground almosts sinks boats drives boats with no dm or valid captains licence all the good people I had left when I was gone and the scum came in the very thing I stoped for two years. There web page has been removed by ther own doing and I will book people with the qualified other boats in the bay these men are a disgrace to the diving Industry and a menace to our society.
      Barry Punshon

      Comment by Barry Punshon — November 6, 2009 @ 7:55 am

    9. My first experience with Dive Connections was actually ok. I dove with them in 2006 but they went down hill dramatically after that. I was diving on another boat down at the Coronados Island. We had just arrived at a dive site on the North Island called Lobster Shack. Kelp Connections (Dive Connections larger boat) was already on site. While we were finishing eating our lunch we happened to glance south and notice that a diver had surface far down current. I will add that there was a REALLY strong current that day. The DM and crew on our boat called over to KC via the radio to tell them about the diver. They initially claim that the diver was ours. In this time period, our other DM grabbed his mask/fins/snorkel/ and tag line and was swimming out to help the guy. We turned our attention back to KC. In their haste to go collect the diver, they started their engines but had not pulled up their swim ladders yet. The ropes used to pull up the ladders got tangled around the props. As they drifted past us, we saw that one of their crew members was leaning over the bow holding the anchor rope trying to catch the anchor on something. Its a flat sandy bottom. Meanwhile, our DM finally catches up with the diver and starts towing him in. Fortunately, the diver’s buddy surfaces right next to our tag line and was able to pull himself in. All of the other KC divers were also in the water. When we realised that KC was not coming back, that something was wrong, we collected all of their divers on to our boat. I went for a 30 min dive with my student. At the end of the dive, KC still was not back. Eventually they did get back up to North Island. The crews were radioing back and forth to transfer the divers back to KC. While KC was manuvering to anchor and allow the divers to swim back over, their engines kept cutting out and eventually they went on the rocks at Lobster Shack. Trying to make this long story shorter. They eventually found an anchor hold and our captin manuvered our boat to transfer belongings. And then he manuvered stern to stern to transfer the lone diver who did not dive their final dive. Our boat transported all divers back to San Diego and on the way back we heard the KC calling to the coast guard saying they ran out of fuel. On the way back I talked to the lone diver who did not dive the last dive and found what happened. Rope got caught in the prop, crew members not suited up to go into the water to cut it free. They had to wait for him to put on his wet suit and assemble SCUBA gear. Once in the water, they did not have a proper tool to cut the ropes free and had to use a small dive knife. Crew member kept surfacing saying he was tired. The diver I talked to also confirmed that they went on the rocks.
      As we pulled away from KC, one of the crew members on board shouted across something like “thanks for all the great tips you’re going to give” I can’t remember the exact words.
      We dropped KC divers off at Dive Connections dock.
      Fortunately that time, nobody was hurt but I fear what may have happened if we had not been there.

      Comment by S1melan — May 10, 2010 @ 10:10 am

    10. The only time we dove with dive connections (www.gottadive.com) we booked the whole boat as a shop trip. we had a good trip other than leaving 2.5 hours late the divemaster never got suited up luck we were dm’s and instructors. I would never dive with them again let alone send anyone else to dive with them we had good dives but we all got short fills it got so late that we had a night dive @ point loma kelp beds our first dive on the yukon was good but had to be cut short due to short fills. But no never again

      Comment by jess — March 13, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

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