Spearfishing is an activity that many SCUBA divers enjoy. It adds an extra skill factor into diving, and enjoying the fruits of your labor in the way of a lobster bake or grilled fish is certainly great incentive. Just like in SCUBA diving, however, there are certain unwritten rules of the game that need to be adhered to, especially when spearfishing with a buddy. As with all activities that are better with friends involved, there needs to be a heightened awareness of courtesy to avoid resentment between buddies.
Pull Your Weight
Notice that the title did not say, “Throw Your Weight Around.” Being respectful and cognizant of the fact that you are sharing this experience with your buddy is paramount, spearfishing or otherwise. If your buddy has the boat, share the expenses for fuel and supplies that both of you will be using. Don’t wait for your buddy to ask — nobody likes to ask for money. If you aren’t sure of the expenses, be sure to inquire; if it’s your first time, it’s okay to ask! Taking the initiative to contribute fairly to the excursion will make a lasting impression, and secure you a place in your buddy’s spearfishing circle.
It’s not just about the money, though. When it comes time for the boat to be cleaned, offer a hand. Cleaning the boat is one of those tedious tasks that would be much less so if everyone pitched in, but all too often is left to the captain. This is incredibly rude. After all, you participated in making the mess, so why should you get off easy? If you’re comfortable doing so, offer to drive the boat at times. Pull the anchor, or tidy up as the day goes along. Again, initiative shows that you respect your buddy and appreciate the experience.
First and foremost, if you say you are going to be ready at 8am, be ready at 7:55. Showing up late is a sign of disrespect in just about every culture. There are always things that can come up that were unanticipated, but you won’t get very many freebies on timeliness. If you don’t show up at all, you’d better have a seriously good reason — not an excuse. Although friends generally have a capacity for forgiveness and compassion, it will get worn out quickly if the only thing you’re consistent on is being inconsistent. Respect others’ time, and realize that it is hard to come by for many people!
Once you’re in the water, don’t have an “everything is fair game” attitude. If a fish is on your buddy’s side, let him shoot it. Although you may decide to compete one day, it’s probably a safe bet that your average spearfishing trip is not a competition. When you see that your buddy is in pursuit of a fish, let him have it, even if you think you could get it faster or in a better way. Be aware of kicking up silt or sand in your buddy’s face, making it more difficult for him to get a shot at something. And whatever you do, don’t shoot in his direction! Nothing says “You’re my buddy, and I care about your safety” like a misplaced spear in the flesh.
Above all, whenever you share a dive experience with someone else, remember that it’s not all about you. Think safe, give respect, and act like a buddy, and together you’ll be dining on your freshly caught delicacies for years to come.