Pete Mesley

Pete’s passion for diving started in the cold English waters over 27 years ago. This is where his “Lust for Rust” was created and from then onwards he has dedicated himself to researching, finding, diving and photographing wrecks. With over 6000 + hours in-water experience spanning over 26 different countries, As well as being a PADI Course Director, Pete is a Technical Diving Instructor Trainer. Pete is notably one of the southern hemispheres most experienced Technical divers and Instructors. 

Pete’s highly successful dive travel business “Lust4Rust Diving Excursions & Shock&Awe Big Animal Diving” focuses on taking technical diver trips to remote locations, bringing full medical support and logistical expertise second to none. Places like Truk Lagoon, Solomon Islands, Bikini Atoll, Great Lakes, Sri Lanka, Palau, Gapalagps, the South Pacific and NZ. Pete has also earned himself membership in the coveted Explorers Club.

A well-published and accomplished photographer, Pete specialises in unique techniques lighting up large areas of wrecks and caves. He is also actively involved in assisting with scientific research papers (published in Medical Journals).  For more information visit his site – 

How and why do you use checklists?

I have been actively using checklists on CCR’s for over 25 years now. The primary use of this checklist was for primary assembly of my unit making it dive ready before donning. 

Initially the checklist worked well, but I didn’t really fully grasp the importance of using this process. I thought that as long as I knew the steps there would be no need for a listed, systemised sequence of commands to make my CCR dive ready. It wasn’t until I jumped into the water with my O2 turned off. I could have sworn that I had opened up all my tanks but on this occasion I must have isolated my tank valve shortly after doing my calibration. Luckily I was observant enough to notice my PO2 was dangerously low while swimming towards the downline on the surface. I immediately switched over to my BOV and switched on my O2. Ever since that day I have never faltered from conducting a full, checklist run before putting on my CCR. No exceptions!

Some believe that this checklist is exactly that, you need to physically tick off each stage as you conduct it. I too have tried this process, but quickly found this not to work for me (personally). I truly believe that what ever process you choose to use, you must always do it the same way. For example, this written, ticked off process didn’t work for me because I found myself on the boat without a new checklist or I didn’t have a pen to tick it off with. Now I just used the checklist visually, with the old ticks still there. Now, in my opinion, this is flawed because now I changed my process of doing the checklist. So now, I have my checklist and visually go through every step. I do this the same way, every time. If I get interrupted during my set up, I go back to the beginning and step by step make sure I have completed them until I have reached the point I left it at and carry on till I have completed it. 

I have also taken checklists to the next stage by making divers go over a short check before they get into the water. This has been implemented to all my trips for the last 3 years. Observations have been made during this check before divers enter the water on a number of occasions with gas turned off and computers set to the wrong gas. And these were ALL highly experienced divers. All I am saying is that Checklists work. They save lives. Plain and simple.