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Boat diving questions

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by caliko, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. tracydr

    tracydr Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    This is good to know. I've been on a lot of boats in other parts of the world where you need a little net bag for your gear.
    We're going to San Diego next week. Hoping to do a boat next weekend to wreck alley.
  2. diverrex

    diverrex Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: LA - North Hollywood
    The San Diego boats are smaller than those we use in Los Angeles. On those you probably need some kind of smaller bag. The big difference between Los Angeles boats and others on the coast is most of our trips are to Catalina or other of the Channel Islands and depending on the boat and the island the ride is 2 - 5 hours, then 3 or 4 dives, so it's typical to stay on the boat from around 6 AM to 6 PM, longer, maybe even overnight, for the further out islands, hence the boats are bigger and we end up taking more stuff to make all those hours enjoyable. For instance it's not unusal for divers to bring laptops, iPads, wine/beer, etc. On a quick smaller boat of course you don't have time or room for that stuff. We get bunks below deck on many of our boats.

    The boat ride in San Diego will probably only be 20 minutes.
    tracydr likes this.
  3. Kitty_Kat

    Kitty_Kat Contributor

    If you're going out of San Diego the Marissa is great! Like many others have said, most San Diego boats provide tanks, weights, food in between and can accommodate larger roller bags or boxes unlike many warmer weather boats. Things like being able to fill nitrox onboard might become a lot more important later on!

    When you're looking at dive boats most sites will have pictures of the boat. Think about things like sun/foul weather exposure. For day trips will you be able to get out of them or be stuck on deck? Do they have trips going out in your comfort depth range? For example the wrecks in San Diego start at ~65 feet with the sand anywhere from 80-120. All of the charters also run kelp trips though (which are awesome!) at much shallower depths. Or day trips to the cornados. Both make better new diver trips. See how these fit with your schedule!
  4. freewillie

    freewillie Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: SoCal Beach Cities
    I like the Humbolt in San Diego as well. It is operated by Waterhorse Charters. They provide tanks but use steel tanks instead of aluminum tanks.
  5. fnfalman

    fnfalman Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern California, USA
    Specifically talking about SoCal dive boats, the majority of these boats have air compressors on board so you don't have to swap out tanks between dives. Smaller boats like some of the six-packs types obviously don't have room for air compressors. About the only good size boat that I know of in SoCal that doesn't have air compressor on board is the Raptor out of Ventura. The shop there would provide additional tanks on the boat so that you can swap out between dives.

    Some boats would provide for tanks and weights as part of the trip fee. I don't know which one top of my head because I have my own everything. Some boats would include tank and weight for additional fee. Some boats can rent you the whole shebang (the Peace boat is one that I know of top of my head). Some boats don't have any tanks and weights for rent at all and would suggest a local dive shop for you to go to. Usually they would state on their websites what gears are included.

    As far as food and water go, most boats would include food & water in the boat fee. Some boats give you the option of bringing your own or pay for your consumption separately. I DO NOT recommend either of these options. It simply isn't worth it to bring your own sandwiches or leftover plus drinks. Space on boat is premium, not to mention people are going to enjoy freshly prepared food and here you are eating soaked through PB&J. Or you'd try to ala carte the food from the boat and end up paying a lot more. You don't save any money because the food price in the total fee is really low.

    Some boats; as an option, would charge you only for the fills that you've used. But really, you have already spent thousands of dollars getting to SoCal to go diving and you're worrying about $6 of airfill difference between two tanks dives versus the planned three tanks dives?

    Usually the food, drinks and fills are included. The Spectre boat used to have separate prices for food or no-food but fills were included. The Mr. C (I don't even know if it's running any more and it's a blah boat anyway) used to have ala carte everything.

    I don't have any experience in San Diego boats except for the Horizon boat and it's a huge one with Nitrox capability. The fee includes grubs and fills. Nitrox is extra. I "think" that the Horizon can provide for various gears as well. I simply don't pay attention to rental gear service because I have my own everything.
    tracydr likes this.
  6. tracydr

    tracydr Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    One thing for non-California divers to realize is that these are not guided dives. The DM is not going to get in the water and lead you around like a flock of sheep.
    freewillie likes this.
  7. fnfalman

    fnfalman Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern California, USA
    Oh yeah, bring warm coats and fluffy bath towels to keep you warm between the dives. Water is still fairly warm right now (low 60-Fs) and the sun is still out and the air is fairly warm, but that could change any moment.

    Between dives, strip off at least the top of your wetsuit and vigorously dry yourself off then wear the warm coat to keep your core temperature from dropping. I see people shivering because they keep their wetsuits on between dives. Wet wetsuit isn't your friend outside of the water.

    The local divers tend to have these things called boat coats or dive parkas that they put on between dives. Essentially they are enlarged versions (to go outside of your wetsuit) of the swim coat that the swimmers wear. However, for people who only visit, there's no need to spend more money to buy a piece of gear that you'd hardly use again after a visit to SoCal.

    ---------- Post Merged at 08:45 AM ---------- Previous Post was at 08:43 AM ----------

    Not unless you make previous arrangement for their services in said manners, and of course, pay for such services.

    Howeverr, local divers are super friendly and don't mind playing tourist guides for visiting divers. Go down to the SoCal subforum and post about your trip date & destination. Chances are one or more of us would be more than glad to join in.

    I'm not in San Diego, but I don't mind playing the tour guide for people that want to dive around LA or Ventura (Catalina or the Northern Channel Islands).
    tracydr likes this.
  8. tracydr

    tracydr Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: North Carolina, 3 miles from South Carolina
    Nice offer!
    just got to San Diego. chilling in the Coronado Inn right now, deciding what to do for tomorrow. Hoping to find a Yukon trip Saturday.
    Dry is good. Much warmer between dives. Although, I would love to have a pee -valve, like the boys!
    next on the must buy list!
  9. Doc Harry

    Doc Harry Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Appalachia
    My primary concerns are the number of dives, whether or not I have to follow the dive master, and whether or not there is a time limit.

    Some boats offer 1 dive for the price. Most boats will offer you 2 dives. Some boats offer 3 dives. Good to know what you are paying for.

    Some boat operations require that everyone stay in a group and follow the dive master. Most boats allow you to roam on your own.

    Some boats have time limits. Often they will require you to be back aboard within 45 or 60 minutes. Other boats allow you to stay down as long as you have gas.

    Other issues include how the boats track the divers (to prevent leaving a diver at sea) and emergency equipment.
  10. Gilldiver

    Gilldiver Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Northeast US
    This thread has so far been mostly Southern Cal diving as you are from AZ, as one poster said the Great Lakes is a bring your own stuff diving and the US East Coast is also bring your own stuff, even water. On the East coast there are not many large boats except for some Florida, North Carolina, and some in NY/NJ.

    If you were to dive out of New England expect to have a 25 to 40' boat that is just a taxi, that being no nothing (tanks, air, food, water, or bunks) except the ride to and from the dive site/wreck. A Typical day would to be loaded and off the dock by 7 or 8AM, diving about 2 hours later, a 2 hour SI, 2nd dive, and run for home which gets you back on the dock by around 4PM. Once the boat is unloaded some boats have bunks that can swing down but tend to be very narrow and there is no AC or mosquito netting. So, you would need to bring all your stuff including food and water for each day.

    Normally, there will be no Dive Master to guide you and no one will be checking you air pressures etc when you get back. In other words from the time you leave the boat to the time you get back on you own and once back on the boat you will be expected to quickly gather and store your gear.

    What you may see is a mate who goes in first to tie the anchor in unless there is a mooring where you will just be told that "The ocean is Open." Also, don't be surprised if the mate and/or captain make a dive during your SI. If the mate did a tie in he also most likely did a normal dive afterward, if so the normal way to tell the boat captain that the tie in is complete is to let a Styrofoam coffee cup go from the bottom, so you may hear "The cup is up" which means gear up and go diving. At the end of the day the mate may make his 2nd dive which at the end of he unties the anchor and rides it off the wreck and then comes up. Yes the mate is diving solo and don't be surprised if there are two or more solo divers on the boat.

    Also, make sure you understand the cancellation policies for the shop/boat you are booking through.
    Typically, if a dive is canceled by mechanical or weather problems there is a full refund
    If the trip is canceled by the captain after leaving the dock but before the first dive there is a full refund
    If the trip is canceled by the passengers before or after leaving the dock there is no refund
    If the trip is canceled by the captain or passengers after the first dive there is no refund.

    As the east coast can also get choppy quite quickly sea sickness is a big possibility. If you get sick and can't dive you still pay the fair and the boat can't run you back to the dock till the days charter is complete for all the passengers.

    So, depending on where you are going always call ahead and make sure that you know what you need to bring and what services are offered.

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