No. All IUCRR members are already certified and properly vetted experienced cave divers. Also, all IUCRR members must attend classroom training in order to learn about the unique situations encountered when organizing a rescue/recovery operation. However, the IUCRR does not issue any certifications for in-water training. Some IUCRR members are instructors of the NACD, NSS-CDS, and other recognized cave diver training agencies, and as such can provide in-water training for IUCRR members, and can train and issue cards for Recovery / First Responder divers. These cards are not IUCRR cards, but are the cards and certification of the respective cave diver training organizations.
Yes. The IUCRR is registered in the State of Florida as a non-profit organization. No members are paid for their services, nor is anyone on the board of directors paid. All funds contributed to the IUCRR are used for administrative support and to support divers during a rescue/recovery operation.
Membership is open to anyone who is willing to volunteer their time and expertise, meets the minimum requirements, agrees to the by-laws and rules, makes themselves available for call-outs, and completes the RRSOM training. No one is automatically made a member, even if they are in-water trained; everyone voluteering has to be approved by their Regional Coordinator before they are granted IUCRR membership. Click here for full information.
If you want to support the IUCRR, but not be a participating member, then click here for more information.
The IUCRR can only document underwater-overhead incidents that it knows about, and was involved with at some level. To keep track of and record every incident would require more resources (money, time, travel, etc.) than is available to us. And since we cannot base our reports on hearsay or 2nd-hand information, there are only a limited number of incidents that we can record.
No. A large fraction of law enforcement agencies have qualified divers that can perform the tasks associated with an open-water rescue/recovery. IUCRR members provide a highly technical, very specialized support task that only a handful of law enforcement agencies have available to them internally. The only open-water environment the IUCRR divers will provide support for would be for very deep open-water venues where the recovery of the victim would result in the recovery divers incurring extended decompression obligations. This is what is called a virtual overhead. In situations like that, the IUCRR members may provide operational support.
Absolutely not. Just as cave-divers are taught that it's okay to call any dive at any time for any reason, or no reason at all, the volunteer members of the IUCRR also retain that same right. Most cave-divers will agree that the best time to call a dive is before the dive even starts. Despite their training and commitment, the IUCRR diver is the only person who knows whether they are or are not ready to perform a recovery dive. Recovering a victim from an underwater cave is extremely difficult and stressful, and the recovery diver must -- before they even start -- be sure they can comfortably perform the task. No one can be compelled to do a recovery dive. It is an IUCRR fundamental principle that no diver should ever risk his/her life to recover a victim. As important as it is to recover a victim's body, it's not worth the life of another diver.
No, the IUCRR never determines the cause of an incident. One of the fundamental principles all IUCRR members agree to, is to never speculate about the cause of an incident. Our members volunteer to help in the rescue/recovery of a victim, and then to document everything they saw, as well as all facts around the case. At no time are they to speculate, nor are any conclusions made from the gathered facts. That simply isn't our job. Unfortunately, even the most basic incident with an ample number of facts can result in many possible causes. Consequently, since it's extremely rare for there to be a single, incontrovertible reason for any given incident, the IUCRR cannot and does not make any conclusions. We simply pass on the data for others to make their own conclusions. With respect to their involvement in a rescue/recovery, IUCRR members are asked not to speak to anyone outside the recovery team. There is an IUCRR Public Liaison who acts as the central point of contact for all inquiries regarding a rescue/recovery.
It's important to understand that the information collected during a rescue/recovery operation does not belong to the IUCRR. The IUCRR is always a subordinate to the local law enforcement organization (LEO) that is in charge of the crime scene. (Yes, every recovery venue is consider a crime scene until the LEO deems otherwise.) Consequently, there may be many reasons why the IUCRR does not (and often cannot) post the information to its web site. The most common reason it may not show up is simply that the information hasn't been released by the LEO. Also, there may be legal issues associated with a recovery, and we may be restrained by those proceedings from posting the information. Bottom line is, if we can post the information, we will post it.
It is also pertinent to know that we do not hold any information back, with one exception noted below. Once the recovery divers have written their report, law-enforcement has released that information, and the regional coordinator has checked it for accuracy and approved it, the information is posted on this web site. No information is withheld, with the exception of the victim's name (and, sometimes, the buddy(ies) name(s)). The purpose of posting is to provide information to cave divers and general public on what is known about an incident, in the hopes that the information will provide educational or safety value. Since the victim(s) name(s) nor the buddy's names are not relevant to the educational or safety value of the information, they are not published.
Only the Director (or, in his/her absence, the Assistant Director) or the IUCRR Public Liaison are permitted to speak to anyone outside the organization, on behalf of the organization. Anyone else in the organization that purports to speak for the IUCRR, verbally or in writing, is subject to suspension. During and following a rescue/recovery operation, the only IUCRR members permitted to talk to law enforcement are the Surface Operations Manager, the Regional Coordinator, and anyone on the Board of Directors. Again, any other IUCRR member not authorized to speak for the IUCRR, yet does, will be subject to suspension.