SeaWorld Waterwork Desensitization Training (New Video)

It’s no secret that it has been going on. But here are two quick vids, shot by an enthusiastic guest, showing Orkid working with a trainer in the med pool (which has a floor that can be raised).

Orkid, or course, made a particularly dramatic appearance in Blackfish:

Here’s one section of SeaWorld’s investigation into the incident which illustrates how hard it is for SeaWorld to maintain situational control all the time:

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Of course, Orkid is no slouch when it comes to doing what she feels like doing, and ignoring protocol, either. Here’s the rap sheet from her SeaWorld profile:

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The renewed waterwork desense training is a good reminder that, despite claiming record revenues in 2013, SeaWorld is still determined to bring waterwork back into the show. I’ve always thought it was a long shot, because I always figured it would be hard to get anyone, most of all OSHA, to agree that being in the water with fast-rising floors (or any other safety mechanisms SeaWorld could throw into the mix) would be as safe as simply staying out of the water.

Which is perhaps why SeaWorld’s best hope is winning the federal appeal it argued last November, which in essence argued–to put it into layman’s terms–that OSHA had no right to butt into SeaWorld’s business, and that in any case waterwork was so central to SeaWorld’s brand and business that asking for a ban was akin to asking the NFL to ban tackling. That decision should come down in coming months.

If it doesn’t go SeaWorld’s way I’m not sure what SeaWorld’s options are. Steamroll OSHA into accepting fast-rising floors with some power lobbying and Congressional pressure? Resume waterwork at the California and texas parks, which weren’t cited by OSHA? None of the alternatives seem very good.