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First time diving from our own boat - suggestions?

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First time diving from our own boat - suggestions?

Old 03-14-2019, 05:46 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by capt.gene View Post
An experienced boat operator at the helm allows you to “”live boat “ dive.
We're going to try this at some point but I need to find someone who is competent at the helm and doesn't dive!
Originally Posted by Lrivenbark
You said your wife had surgery a year ago. I assume this is not her first dive since then.
If so, maybe it shouldn't be a "new boat" dive. Your call.
It actually will be her first dive since her surgery which is one of the reasons I want to make sure I've thought of everything before we go. Trying to make it as easy and stress free as possible for her.
Originally Posted by Lrivenbark
Nobody has ask about your experience level. It is assumed you are competent to go.
I started diving off my boat about two weeks after getting my C card.
Been doing it ever since
We've been diving since 2014 but haven't the last year or so because of her surgery. We're hoping that once we get the first dive done that she'll find that it's still enjoyable.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:06 AM
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Let us know how it goes. Others can learn from your first experience.
During my "first", my dive buddy was also a virgin at this.
He went off the side of the boat a lost his mask.
Oh Crap !!
It was then we learned to have an extra on the boat.
Experience is the best teacher, as long as the cost isn't too high.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:40 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Lrivenbark View Post
Experience is the best teacher, as long as the cost isn't too high.
I agree and that's why we have to jump in and do it but take it slow. It looks like we're not going to get out this weekend due to the weather.
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:48 AM
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Another thing to consider when leaving the boat unattended is the possibility of surfacing down current from the boat because of an emergency, getting lost, or other reason. There will be no one to come and get you and you may not be able to outswim the current, especially if you are towing an injured or unconscious diver.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:51 AM
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Hello, is it too difficult to don and doff your kit in the water? including sidemount config? might be easier, make sure your boat is properly flagged as divers down, take an SMB in case you surface far from the shot line, if you are going to do a lot of diving from your own boat without surface cover I would probably look into a PLB and a strobe and a DAN portable 02 kit to keep on board, make sure your insurance will cover a helicopter and might be a good idea to inform them of your intentions to use your boat for diving privately or take out DAN insurance, this is all in addition to checking the anchor etc. Also remember the golden rule of going up the ladder, whoever is still in the water should stay away from underneath who is on the ladder, If you have no surface cover inform someone on land of where you are going and how long you will be, just in case. Whilst you´re at it make sure you can get back on unassisted if the water turns choppy, hope all this helps.
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jhackl View Post
Another thing to consider when leaving the boat unattended is the possibility of surfacing down current from the boat because of an emergency, getting lost, or other reason. There will be no one to come and get you and you may not be able to outswim the current, especially if you are towing an injured or unconscious diver.
A very good point. For our first few dives we will be staying pretty much directly under the boat as we get comfortable with being in the water under our own boat.

Originally Posted by buxa
Hello, is it too difficult to don and doff your kit in the water? including sidemount config? might be easier
Never tried it but getting out of her gear in the water is the plan. As far as getting into it, rather than having her sit on the swim platform and roll off I may set her up on the transom where she can sit on the transom with her feet on the swim platform and when she's ready just stand up and giant stride off the swim platform. We'll see what works best for her.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:18 AM
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Rule number one: Always have an experienced person on the boat at all times. I can't count the number of disasters I've seen and heard of over the years from disregarding this.
Always have someone on the boat, winds change, currents change, that secure anchor may not be, when pulled from a different direction
I got my sailboat captains license for lakes and protected water at the age of 14, am dive boat captian from year 2000, dive instructor and dive operations owner with 5000+ dives under my belt.
I have experienced too much unexpected currents on the bottom, soo much changes of sea/weather conditions while down, had to recover sucessfuly many divers drifted away and heard of unsuccessful searches to know very well that i never left and never will leave the boat unattended, point
The only moment i would do that if i would dive alone would be either if i have to rescue someone as a question of life and death or if shore is nearer than 200 yards and i am absolutely sure that i can swim there
Keep a "save a dive" kit on your boat - Don't push questionable conditions - Maybe start thinking about redundant air systems - Have fun, think ahead, plan for the unexpected.
I would add to this: Oxygen emergency breathing kit, first aid kit and double check all your boat's safety gear

Leaving the boat unattended is not necessarily recommended but I have done it and will do it again I am sure.
Every diver must accept the risks he is taking while scuba diving and it's every divers own resposability to asess the risk he will take to stay alive.
It is always a good habit to think about if 50$ for a experienced captian is a good investment to dive much more relaxed and save

Chris
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:40 AM
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It sounds like you’re mostly doing a check-out dive. 20’ of depth is good; don’t try anything difficult or strenuous. Just stay under the boat, ensure the anchor is set, check your gear, check your procedures, do some simple drills, get back on the boat and declare success.

If it’s a place you’re going to dive again at a future date, have your wife stay on the boat for the 2nd dive, you do a short dive to learn how to check your anchor, learn currents, etc. This way, should the current take you away, your wife can come get you with the boat.

This will build BOTH of your confidences.
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Old 03-14-2019, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by tcpip95 View Post
It sounds like you’re mostly doing a check-out dive. 20’ of depth is good; don’t try anything difficult or strenuous. Just stay under the boat, ensure the anchor is set, check your gear, check your procedures, do some simple drills, get back on the boat and declare success.
That's basically the plan for the first couple trips @ 2 tanks each just as a refresher and to determine if she is capable of diving after her neck surgery. The doctor said she would be fine but reality could be very different.
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:03 PM
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The fun quotient is inversely proportional to the wave height.
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:20 PM
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My hardest learned lesson: Make sure the swim ladder is down before entering the water. That didn’t end well for me.

My only other tip is for your float line. With 60’ of line and a buoy at the end, the middle part of the line will sink rather deeply unless it is floating line. Use smaller floats on the line to keep it up. And beware of the entanglement hazard that line presents, even on the surface.
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Old 03-15-2019, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by C3D View Post
My hardest learned lesson: Make sure the swim ladder is down before entering the water. That didn’t end well for me.

My only other tip is for your float line. With 60’ of line and a buoy at the end, the middle part of the line will sink rather deeply unless it is floating line. Use smaller floats on the line to keep it up. And beware of the entanglement hazard that line presents, even on the surface.
I take a life jacket and tie it on to the end of the tag line. Bright yellow, floats, and easy to grab.
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Old 03-16-2019, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by KC2OTE View Post
Other than this and the diver down flag, is there anything else scuba related that I haven't considered? I have a good first aid kit and all of the required equipment for safe and legal boating so I'm just looking for scuba related recommendations.
Marker ball/buoy and weight. Especially if you plan on anchoring. Really takes a lot of the guesswork out of getting on the right spot. My buoy is an orange marker with about 150' of line and a 5lb weight on the end of the line. You can wrap it in a specific way to only allow a certain amount of line off. When you mark good structure, toss the buoy over. Then you position the boat and drop the anchor up current from the ball. Let out enough anchor rode so that the boat is near the marker. I usually descend down the anchor line. I do this for two reasons, first is to make sure that the anchor is set, and won't be difficult to retrieve. Second is to start the dive up current from the marker and boat.

And also, as said above, have a save a dive kit and the tools to take care of things. I always bring spare batteries (for computer), a variety of spare o-rings, o-ring lube, and a regulator tool. I've had to change o-rings a few times, and have had to change batteries on at least one occasion.

Since you said this is her first dive post surgery, I'd recommend possibly hitting up one of the springs near Williston first. Just so she can practice buoyancy, and figuring out how to enter/exit the water. Blue Grotto is nice and open, but prone to silting. You'll want to get there early, or go during the week. Nice wide dock to allow for a couple different ways to enter and exit. Devils Den is more interesting, but dark. You'll need flashlights. Also, entry is a bit more challenging. They want all divers to have their gear on and descend with gear. However, they do make exceptions if someone can't. I've had to carry gear down for my daughters as they were too small to safely carry a tank down on their back. Might be good to allow her to try donning in the water.

Last edited by Belzelbub; 03-16-2019 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bluewatermafia View Post
I’m too chicken to dive without someone on the boat.
What he said. Further to that point, I only dive if there is a competent skipper aboard. My wife stayed on board while we anchored and dove once. Anchor didn't hold (my fault), boat floated a mile away before we surfaced. USCG dispatched, bad day and now she doesn't "feel safe" on the boat.

YMMV
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Old 03-16-2019, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jhackl View Post
Another thing to consider when leaving the boat unattended is the possibility of surfacing down current from the boat because of an emergency, getting lost, or other reason. There will be no one to come and get you and you may not be able to outswim the current, especially if you are towing an injured or unconscious diver.
Words of wisdom.....
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Old 03-16-2019, 12:38 PM
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Just a little personal experience here...I broke my back in 5 places, and it is impossible for me to put on gear in the boat due to the weight issues....The perfect workaround for me is to throw the BC and tank (slightly inflated) in first, and put it on in the water. It's really easy to do. Put your other gear on the swim platform, and put it on last. The hardest one will be the weight belt. (I switched to using shot bags in the BC pockets, but that's up to you).. BTW, you should ALWAYS have 1 person topside who is capable of driving the boat...ALWAYS. I hope this helps!
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Old 03-17-2019, 08:13 AM
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Everyone has their own way of doing things.
Sometimes what is right is what works for them and that's cool.
I say this so as to not sound challenging to others if I do things different.
That said,
When I "mark" my target to dive on , I drop a weighted buoy on my "spot.
The buoy has a dive flag attached to it.
I then drop my anchor on this spot and have the boat drift back to set my anchor.
Keeping in mind not to drop anchor and damage something on the bottom if that is a possibility.
Another dive flag is on the boat
By doing this, I use my anchor line to "guide" me directly to the spot I was searching.
I am then "upstream" to start with if current is present.
I would continue upstream once I started the dive on the bottom and return to the anchor line at the end of the dive.
I then can return to the boat with 2 dive flags over my head via my anchor line as opposed to coming up under the boat with a chance of drifting behind it on assent.
We dive allot on artificial reefs and one piece of concrete looks like another with 40 feet of vis.
When spearfishing, we are not paying so much attention to direction.
Because of this, I do use a wreck reel and compass heading diving unless I am on a ledge but is down the road for the OP
Hope you get out soon.
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:25 AM
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This will be my 38th dive season. For the last 20 years, exclusively offshore, always shipwrecks, mostly off of my own boat, frequently with boat being unattended. Always doubles, dry suits and we always exceed NDLs typically with deco profiles of 30-60 minutes and run times frequently exceeding 90 minutes. Depths usually requiring trimix. I’m a dinosaur and still diving open circuit but most of my guys are CCR.

Anyone who thinks that leaving an unattended boat without a competent operator who understands the dive operation being conducted is “SAFE” is an idiot. We dive empty boat all the time and attempt to mitigate some of the risk with established protocols and standardized procedures but no one kids themselves, it’s dangerous and the opportunity for bad things to occur is constant. What can I say, we love to dive and non-diving guys, who can skillfully operate a boat who wanna spend 12 hours bobbing up and down on a boat, watching other people have fun are few and far between.

My “kids” are now all adults, can’t make them spend their one or two days a week bubble watching (with the CCR guys can’t even do that) so we dive empty boat.

If/when the shit hits the fan, I always carry one of these in a waterproof canister in my dry suit pocket. Might not work or save my life, but I like to think should I end up stranded in the water it might give me a small chance on eventually making it back to dry land alive. No guarantees, the entire endeavor is high risk from start to finish but way better off having one then not.

For the life life of me, I cannot fathom why anyone who boat dives does not carry one of these or a unit from another manufacturer with similar capabilities.....



Last edited by Mpellet; 03-17-2019 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:33 AM
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Good advice on anchoring with a bouy. Also carry spare equipment and have proper safety gear.

I probably would have started my dives with no person in the boat but luckily I have learned to dive in my area from my older dive buddy and he has told me some of his very scary experiences that could happen to anyone. I guess when people tell you this stuff on the internet it does not sink in but having heard the following stories first hand from my friend and his wife I am also firmly in the camp of keeping someone in the boat.

First story, normal dive with his wife and friend. Boat anchored and no persons onboard. They surface behind the boat and the current is ripping on the surface and it took them a minute to realize that swimming with his back turned to the boat and BC inflated that he was losing ground fast. He decided to kick off his gear and keep his snorkel and fins and swim for the boat. He said it took, what felt like eternity, to get to the boat and he barely had energy to get in the boat and puked his brains out. Had to throw the anchor line over and search for his wife and buddy as the current took them very far away. They would most likely been lost at sea for many hours or forever. This happened in 80 ft of water but can happen anywhere with current.

Second story. Him and his wife diving shallow 20-25 ft spot. They surface after a very long dive at this depth and what was a sunny day is now blacked out, rough seas, and lightning cracking everywhere. His boat took a few waves over the bow (19 ft center console) and water is knee deep in the boat. They struggle to get in the boat and as he is getting ready to start his engines he hears "help". His wife does too so they look over and see a women in the water with dive gear on. They grab her which was not easy in the conditions, and she is in a state of shock. Says her husband is out there. Luckily they find him very quickly. The guy gets in the boat and says his boat sunk as they to were anchored and took waves on there smaller boat and it sank.

Third point. Don't leave motor on when people are boarding. Seems a few people die each year from props.

Question:
Does anyone practice a way for the boater to signal the divers? How would you do it? Let say that 2nd scenario above as an example or what if there was some sort of emergency happening at the boat and they needed to signal the divers. In shallow water I guess the boater could rev the engine as a signal, but how about deeper depths?
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by sway21 View Post
Question:
Does anyone practice a way for the boater to signal the divers? How would you do it? Let say that 2nd scenario above as an example or what if there was some sort of emergency happening at the boat and they needed to signal the divers. In shallow water I guess the boater could rev the engine as a signal, but how about deeper depths?
All of the dive boats I've been on they would bang something against the dive ladder. When diving together I'll bang the pommel of my knife against my tank to get my wife's attention.
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