A lot of the great dive sites here in Puget Sound and up in British Columbia are only accessible by boat. As a Diver, you need to be well versed in boat etiquette when schlepping your gear on board the dive charter. Here are some helpful tips.
- Condense your gear. Don’t bring bulky gear boxes on board. Pack it into a gear bag that takes less space when stored. Space is a premium on board a dive boat, or any boat for that matter. Be courteous and take only the space you need. Don’t spread out into other dive stations, unless you know the boat is not full and there is room to do so!
- Be on time and listen to briefings. Nothing is more frustrating than a group of divers being held up because one diver is late. In fact, many charters will disembark without you if you are not on time. Departure times are often keyed into sensitive tides and estimated travel times to dive sites. You being fifteen minutes late could impact the entire day of diving. Also, know your set up times. If you are one of those whom like to take their time setting up gear, start early. Ask the Skipper or Divemaster, how far out it is to dive site. Be ready to enter the water at the scheduled time. And lastly listen to the briefings and the Boat skipper or crew. That means stop fiddling with your gear when they speak. Valuable information about emergency procedures and informative details of the dive sites are information you will not want to miss.
- Have the proper training! Many dive charters do not have limitations on certification levels for customers. Here at Argonaut Diving, we require you to be minimum Advance Open Water certified to attend our chartered dive trips. Mostly for your own safety and comfort. Boat diving often deals with aspects of diving beyond the scope and skill of Open Water divers. The primary being depth, followed closely by current. Many NW dive sites are beyond OW Cert limits. Know your entries. Giant stride entry is the most prevalent in the Pacific Northwest. Smaller vessels will often incorporate the roll back method. Know how to do them. Additional certifications above the PADI Boat Specialty class that are helpful are; PADI Enriched Air Diver, PADI Deep Diver, PADI Drift Diver, to name a few. All are offered at Argonaut Diving. Visit class page for more information and schedule.
- Carry in water signaling devices. Every diver should carry a minimum of two signaling devices and be well versed in their use. One should be auditable, such as a whistle (minimum) or dive alert, which is connected to inflator hose (highly recommended). Alternately, the diver should carry a visible signaling device, such as a safety sausage, or hand held mirror. Adding a small reel with 25 ft, of line comes in handy when doing a safety stop. Allowing you to deploy the safety sausage from depth, letting the boat crew know where you are, and as a signal to other boaters to practice caution as divers are below. Lights for night are a must, of course. An added note, for the dive alerts. Don’t use them unless you need help!
- Be courteous and respectful of charter rules. Stay out of areas that are off limits to divers, such as the wheel house (often called the bridge in larger vessels) and crews quarters. Do not go into designated dry areas with your wet gear on. Have situational awareness of the space you are using in relation to the next closest diver. Be courteous.
Following these easy guidelines will almost assure you of great dive experiences. Check out our Fun Dive and Events page for the next scheduled Boat Dive Charter. space is always limited. Continue your scuba education and challenge your horizons! See ya in the water! Dive Smart, Dive Safe!