Stay Away from Florida Keys Dive Center

Discussion in 'Florida Diving' started by xjeslesx, May 29, 2012.

  1. xjeslesx

    xjeslesx Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cape Ann

    [FONT=&quot]Just stay away, far away! Florida Keys Dive Center of Islamorada is a horrible dive operator. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]They jam divers onto their boats like sardines, with zero room to set up/store gear. I understand they are trying to make money, but there is no reason to stuff twenty five (25) divers onto a single dive boat. To top it off they had a second dive boat tied to the dock that they were not using. The entire boarding procedure was a chaotic mess and the dive boats left on average of 45 minutes late. To top it off some of employees were a$$holes.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I arrived at the dive shop early, so few customers were there. I asked an employee if I could use a pressure gauge to check my tank (which I had the dive op fill). I always check the pressure in my tanks prior to diving. The employee completely flipped out, yelling about how he was so busy and it was a giant inconvenience for him to hand me the gauge which was not being used by anyone. I explained that ‘it wasn’t a big deal, just a pressure gauge”, and the employee continued on about how it was a big deal and so on and so forth. I decided to go onto the boat and unpack my own reg to check my tanks instead.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]I’m not saying all the employees were bad, some were friendly and helpful, but one or two bad apples can ruin the day. When I pay decent money to go diving I expect to be treated as anyone would want to be treated, fairly. Is it fair to stuff 25 divers on a single boat? Is it fair to yell at a customer for no reason? I don’t think so, and that is why I am warning anyone that is considering using this dive op.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Stay away! [/FONT]
    Quintajr likes this.
  2. DandyDon

    DandyDon ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas High Plains
    For him to provide you with his pressure gauge, he has to stop what he is doing and watch you use it less it vanish as tools so often do. He felt it has already been checked by his staff. Using your reg & spg was appropriate since he was trying to get a big boat ready to go.

    Otherwise, if you don't want to dive from cattle boats - then don't book them. There are plenty of small boat operators around the Keys, but then they are not as well inspected.
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  3. mike_s

    mike_s Blue Whale

    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  4. Steve50

    Steve50 Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: USA - around the middle
    How many divers was the boat designed to handle? How many other divers came up to the shop to ask to use their equipment to check the tank pressure that they have already checked? I have seen, and been issued, short fills before. A full tank is provided from the extras brought on board.
    Bratface likes this.

    GROBIOG Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: SFL
    I think your thread is unfair.
    If boats are certified to take 25 people, I see no reason for them not to, most actually are certified for more than what they take, they limit their reservation for 2-3 less in case last minute or mistakes, that way no one is left on the dock.

    Have you consider paying for an additional 2-3 spots on the boat for some xtra room for yourself? How about a private charter? Did you ask not to be on a full boat when you booked your trip? There are operations with 6 pack boats out there, if that is your priority.

    I do not like full boats at all, the less people is much better, in fact if they could bring just my buddy and I... but, weekends and holidays are most always full boats, I choose not to dive then, I tried to avoid the places and times when the boat is full, but to come here and bash the operation for that is just wrong.

    As for your tank pressure, the employee should not be rude, however, there is always 2 sides to every story. I don't know the circumstances but I can see many reasons to be annoyed by your request too.
    If you are paranoid about your tank pressure (I have friends like that) buy yourself a tank pressure checker or simply use your reg before the boat departs, there are numerous ways to keep better track of your tanks pressure/content as well

    Hope this helps.
  6. HowardE

    HowardE Tech Instructor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Boca Raton, Florida
  7. fisheyeview

    fisheyeview Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ft. Lauderdale, FL (The Diving Capital of the Worl
    FKDC runs 2 46' Newtons These boats are certified to carry 36 divers. I go out with several ops in Florida that run the same boat. Is it nicer to have fewer divers on the boat? Sure, but there is still plenty of room on a Newton. Like a lot of people said, maybe you need to stick to 6 packs.

    ---------- Post added ----------

    Wow! Howard and I had the same thought?
    KBeck likes this.
  8. mike_s

    mike_s Blue Whale


    25 divers on this boat is not really over crowded.

    I've been on 46 Newtons before with large crowds.... typically you've got plenty of room.

    I've seen some other operators in the keys put WAY more than 25 people on a boat on a HOLIDAY weekend. Often combining snorkel and divers together for shallow sites.

    You were thinking about Toast?
    hogpark7430, Jax and fisheyeview like this.
  9. bug catcher

    bug catcher Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Wisconsin
    I stopped at Fl. Keys D.C. in the last week in Feb. The long hair,(I don't mind polite long haired people), working behind the desk was irritated with our questions about the dive, no. of divers on the boat etc. He treated us like our questions were stupid. The winds were strong and waves high and their boat can handle 10 footers so they go no matter what 10' or less he told us. Well 10' waves make diving not fun for me anyway. We ended up diving with Ocean Divers of Key Largo. They were professional, answered our questions and even recomended we not go on 10ft. wave days. They have a 46ft. dive boat staffed helpful people and they go with just 2 paying customers. I guess some days they loose money if only 2 divers go. Their $100.00 2 tank trip is about the same price as the other dive shops. We had people from South America on our trip so I guess $100.00 for them was not too much. I'm retired from Florida and not wealthy so I don't go to the Keys much as the dive price is getting to be to much for me to afford and then add tips. So, I covered 2 subjects w/ 1 post and hope it helps anyone going to the Keys.
    floridanewbe and timg like this.
  10. simskiscuba

    simskiscuba Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: My Own Private Idaho, very near Princeton, NJ
    Ditto on Ocean Divers. Great operation. Can't speak for the other place.
    timg likes this.
  11. Rich Keller

    Rich Keller Great White

    # of Dives:
    Location: Long Island NY
    It seems to me like you are making a big deal out of a couple of very minor things. It was a holiday weekend and you have your own SPG. I dove with them a couple of days in March and they seem like a fine operation to me. The other thing I think you are doing wrong is judging and entire operation on one half day dive. How would you feel if you job performance and chance for promotion were based solely on you worst day on the job? Bad days happen, get over it!
    Scuba_Jenny likes this.
  12. jar546

    jar546 Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: South Florida
    I see a customer service issue due to attitude but no reason to bash an entire operation. Sorry, no sympathy here. Holiday weekend, large boat with 11 less divers than they are allowed? What's the problem? Your thread should have been more focused on the customer service issue rather than condemning an entire operation.
  13. Scott

    Scott PADI Pro

    # of Dives:
    Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
    <FKDC employees at the bar> You know it wasn't a bad day. Yes, we were behind but most of the customers were understanding. I only ran into a couple of a-holes.
    Tomorrow is another day, we'll try it again. Bottoms up.
  14. Pedro Burrito

    Pedro Burrito Administrator

    What's funny is the last time I dove with Ocean Divers (March 2010), they crammed 28 people onto their 46 Nekton. We waited almost an hour on the boat in the sun for the South Beach divers to finally show up. We encountered large swells, lots of n00bs, 5 people vomiting over the rail, an avalanche of dropped weights and bicycle kickers that stirred up the sand so much that many could not find the boat. 28 jumped in and only 24 returned to the boat. Never again.
  15. Reck Diver

    Reck Diver Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    When you open your dive center I'm sure everything will be perfect. Of course then it will be your turn to put up with those wonderful folks from the Northeast.
    Zieg likes this.
  16. Hawkwood

    Hawkwood MSDT Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canmore, Alberta
    .......obvious question.....what happened to the other 4? Still out there?

  17. faster7581

    faster7581 Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: bradenton, fl
    I wouldnt want to be on a boat with that many divers either, but if the boat can handle it, it is what it is... But, I definitely dont see a problem asking for a guage to check your tanks they filled.... if they were nitrox, youre supposed to sign out on the % after you check it with their analizer, at least at shops up here, so i dont get why it would be a problem to check pressure also..... I dont like short fills...
    floridanewbe likes this.
  18. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Tech Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    For one thing I always carry my own checker. It's on my reg. And unless you are doing the Duane or the Grove 2500 in an al 80 is more than enough air for me on a reef dive of less than 40 feet with an hour time limit.
  19. Selchie in LB

    Selchie in LB SoCal DIR

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Wakefield, RI USA
    Booo to the OP! Whine & cheese section please.
  20. conchrandy

    conchrandy Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Key Largo, Fl
    Being in the biz, I find myself a bit defensive, here. That said, no excuses for rudeness; the guy across the street (in this case, literally) is always willing to accommodate you.

    You have to understand that dive ops in the Keys rely on the peak days i.e. Memorial Day, The 4th, and Spring Break to turn a profit and stay in business. Not to mention the good weather attendant to same. Like every enterprise in the Keys, i'ts going to be a a little chaotic on those days. The boats will be full, all of them, even at the not so great shops. Every restaurant will be maxed out with hour long waits.

    Most boats operate at 50% capacity average during the non-peak period. Suggest those times if you don't care for the crowds.

    Memorial Day weekend was a scare for us shop owners as the weather forecasts were bad. Turns out we had glorious weather, filled our boats and as such were given a little financial strength so necessary in this very volatile business.
    jsisemore, KBeck, mjsylver and 3 others like this.

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