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I don't think this topic has been covered in depth. At least, I didn't find it when I did a search in the SoCal forum.
What are the do's and dont's of boat diving in SoCal? Every region has it's rules and I know it drives some people nuts when those unfamiliar with the local etiquette break all the rules.
Let me know what the things you should do and take into account are and also what things you should avoid doing.
What should you have with you and what should you leave at home? How big should your gear bag be and how should you keep yourself from "exploding" all over the deck?
It seems like a good topic to cover as we come up on spring and summer with more new people getting certified. There are lots of new divers joining our ranks here in SoCal and I haven't been on a boat dive for more years than I'd like to admit. :11:
Think of this as "Rules of Thumb" for boat diving in SoCal.
Based on my incredibly limited boat diving experience, I'd say:
1. Make sure you mark your gear beforehand. On some boats it's easy to get it mixed in with others' gear. And that leads to the inevitable cooties and stuff.
2. Don't forget to bring a tank with you
3. Don't forget anti-barf medications.
4. Don't forget to bring your C-card.
5. Don't forget to bring stuff like water, towel, dry clothes, etc.
6. Bring a plastic bag or something to put your important stuff in so it doesn't get wet (electronic car keys, etc.)
7. You'll probably be travelling to the site for at least an hour, so bring something to do.
8. Bring some $$ if you want to do any tipping.
One pet peeve I always see is this. When you approach the swimstep and hand your fins to the DM, he usually puts them up on the deck for you. People aways forget to pick them up and they end up in a pile on the deck and you end up either tripping over them or having to walk around them.
Also, don't dilly-dally at the gate. Be sure you are 100% ready to giant stride before you go to the gate.
I noticed one big difference between boat diving in California and Mexico. In Mexico (or at least the dive operation I had experience with), they tell you to put on your fins at your seat. In California, etiquette asks that we put our fins on at the gate.
My first boat dive out of OW class was in Mexico and they had me put my fins on were I was sitting. I came back to Cali and did that for my second boat dive trip and this instructor from Sport Chalet had a fit.
Work out of your gear bag. Don't make a pile of gear on the deck for others to trip over.
Don't get in line for the gate unless you are ready to go. I've seen too many divers blocking others while they zip up their suit, open their tank valves, adjust straps...all things that should be done while on the bench.
Try not to be the last one off the boat. Some people are so slow when it comes to getting their gear ready that the fourth dive is cancelled.
If you must smoke while on the boat, please take a fishing boat instead.
Arrive early! Pack the night before. Last minute rushing always leads to a regulator or weightbelt being left at home.
Don't expect the crew to do anything more than get you to the dive sites and take your fins from you at the swimstep. Anything else they do can be considered a bonus and should be considered in the tip. Expecting more can lead to disappointment and none of the other divers want to hear you complaining all day.
In the same vein as working out of your gear bag, try to keep your bunk area somewhat tidy.
Remember that the Captain is not in control of the weather. It's not his/her fault if you have a bad day.
I always attach my tank to my bc before leaving the house. It is easier to carry both of those items on my back for me and it is one less thing I have to do on a crowded boat. I usually set up my gear on the way to the dive site. I like being one of the first in the water. Besides, it is easier to do it before hand than when everyone else is trying to do it too.
Be nice, don't ralph on the deck or on someone's gear.
I don't put my camera in the rinse bucket on the way to the dive. I have the feeling that some of the bigger camera rigs can knock the housing loose on the smaller rigs. After the dive, I just dunk it in the bucket to rinse off the majority of the salt water. (just my thoughts)
If there are showers on board and you are taking one....make it quick. I hate hopping around on the deck (cause I'm cold) waiting to get into the hot water.
If you are good with air consumption, don't be the last off the boat. Then we will have to wait for you before we hit the next dive site and then your cutting into our other dives.
Tip the crew if you think that they are helpful. If one was a jerk, then hand the others a tip but don't penalize everyone.