>There is something to be said for being 100% familiar with your gear (and I
>am except when I add something new) but when you become dogmatic and
>automatic, you make mistakes.  In SCUBA, you only get one.

I have to disagree with Chuck on the "one mistake" comment.  His intent
was correct but in reality it is often a series of mistakes that uncorrected
becomes fatal.

Recently a neighbor went flying with marginal weather (fog in freezing
condition) forecast.  He and another pilot where flying after dark in
bad weather.  They supposedly got lost for an hour or more despite having
GPS and VOR on board.  At some point they reportedly admitted to ATC that
they were lost and were to contact an airport not far away.  They never

They crashed about seven miles from home, possibly out of gas.  Both were

There were many places along the way where a mistake should not have been
made but was.  Even with mistakes, they could have still survived but
other mistakes were made until they had no options.

Diving can be the same way.  One mistake might not be fatal but left
or compounded by other mistakes and you can die.  To mitigate that happening
I suggest lots of training, diving in varied environments (not just 150' viz,
82 degree F water in Cozumel), self-sufficiency and the ability to know
when to
go home.

Ron Lee