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Good boat for diving?

Discussion in 'Boats & Boating Equipment' started by mikey3091, May 28, 2009.

  1. mikey3091

    mikey3091 Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Crestview/Pensacola Fl
    Hello everyone! I'm currently looking at a bigger boat to replace my 17' Sea Ray. My wife and I will use the boat for cruising, fishing and hopefully diving offshore on the Gulf Coast (Destin/Pensacola) area. We've been looking for an all purpose boat, but there just aren't many sport/fishing type boats. I recently found a 1994 Sea Ray 220 Overnighter with a cuddy cabin for a great buy. Both of us love the boat. It also has extremely low hours and is kept in dry storage. The length is 22' and it has a 350 mercruiser. My question is this: would this boat be safe to take 8-10 nm offshore for diving? Of course, I would have all of the proper gear...GPS, VHF and depth finder. The boat also has a self-bailing deck. My knowledge of offshore boating is fairly limited, so I wold err on the side of caution at all times.

    Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  2. captain

    captain Captain

  3. mikey3091

    mikey3091 Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Crestview/Pensacola Fl
    Thanks captain. I understand that certain hulls are more seaworthy than others. Does Sea Ray build fairly robust hulls? I've had no problems with my runabout, but I rarely take it in the Gulf, and if I do it's no more than 1 mile offshore on a perfectly calm day.
  4. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    I/O in saltwater, hmmm, well, OK, I guess.

    This type hull and power may be a better choice:

    Dusky Marine - Dusky 203 FAC

    Typically the Sea Ray is a fine brand of boat, a 22 footer should do well in good conditions. I would rather have a "offshore" capable center console, cuddy cabin or similar design for fishability and diving rather than a pointy nose sport crusier.

    This can go anywhere you need to and get home:

    Parker Boats - Boat Lineup

    I am probably wrong but I always think of and thought of the small Sea Rays and similar "sport cruisers" with inboard/outboard power as being lake boats.

    These are a true inboard alternative and intended for saltwater use:

    Shamrock Sport Fishing Boats

  5. Jupiter31

    Jupiter31 Contributor

    Gotta agree with Nemrod, although for here in S. FL I prefer a bigger boat; at least 25' - and sometimes even 31' feet is too small when the seas kick up.

    While a SeaRay would not be my first choice in a boat, nor would the configuration as described be ideal as a dive set up, your question "would it work" is yes. But unless you are dry storing, I just don't like I/0's and salt water - in fact, having had a couple of I/0 powered boats in my life, to me, owning one for salt water use is one of those "good in theory and bad in practice situations - the less running gear in the water the better. Otheres will disagree, but that's been my experience.

    The time you are out diving vs other boating activities means you don't need a "dedicated" dive boat. Just realize you need to pick your weather and sea conditions carefully - there are other brands built to "take it" more so than SeaRay -

    OTOH, basically, 90% of what I use the boat for is diving, so for me, a center console makes sense.

    You will also come to agree with the saying "Every boat is a compromise" regardless of what you get.

    Its a great time to buy a boat w/ the current economy, and no boat is in short supply, especially in FL - look around, don't be afraid to drive out of your area, and negociate hard. Good Luck.
  6. Nemrod

    Nemrod Solo Diver

    But, the 22 foot Sea Ray can certainly explore the areas near shore Destin as long as the skipper uses some common sense as to the weather, no reason he cannot, just be a bit careful. If I had all the money in the world a 22 foot Sea Ray would not be my choice but still, they are a pretty little crusier, in a pinch, if you already have one, oughta work decent. With the down boat market right now, it is like doubling your cash to spend.

  7. captain

    captain Captain

    Other than an outboard on a 14" Zodiac 3 of my past boats have been I/O's. If it is a trailer boat and you fresh water flush the engine and outdrive EVERY time you use it in salt water you will be fine from a corrosion stand point. The I/O unit does require more maintenance than an outboard or
    or pure inboard what with U joints and the bellows seal around them. On either I/O or straight inboard a closed antifreeze filled cooling system greatly extends engine and exhaust manifold life, but it still would not eliminiate having to fresh water flush the I/O unit. I don't much care for I/O's on larger boats that are kept in the water.
  8. DwayneJ

    DwayneJ Contributor

    Nemod's Parker would be a great boat. You would be fine offshore in a smaller hull but you need to think about some redundancy for safety such as twin engines or single engine with kicker, twin fuel tanks, twin battery banks etc. As long as you are in VHF range, you have access to Vessel Assist although I still believe you need to be able to look after yourself.

    I choose a Stabicraft which I customized for diving and weekend family getaways - built for the Ocean. Popular up north in Alaska and Washington state.

    Stabicraft - Boat Details - 829 GIII SC Weekender

    If money is no object, check out this European boat - although only a single inboard engine...
    Last edited: May 30, 2009
  9. Jon Nellis

    Jon Nellis Captain

    ACB make a great boat that can be taken anywhere, just put enough motor on it to outrun any big wind waves. I have a 23' hull with a 2 foot swim platform and use it as a six pack charter. Twin 140s will push it close to 40 kts

    Welcome to Aluminum Chambered Boats

  10. Life-Is-Good-Diver

    Life-Is-Good-Diver Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Space Coast, Florida
    Mikey, with any boat you get, do your self a favor, if your going to venture into the ocean, or Gulf for that matter, invest into a Epirb, so if any storms do kick up, and shi* hits the fan, the coast guard will receive the distress signal.

    All though I dis-agree with the above post about the I/O, as I've had plenty of I/O's from 22' upto 34' inboards, I don't see any problems with a I/O, as long as it's fresh water cooled, but most important, is power to weight ratio with a I/O

    Next you have consider weight. Can the boat get onto plane with 4 divers, all their gear, and tanks, You would be surprised how fast all that equipment makes the boat heavy.

    Also you have to watch not to exceed the boats MAX weight capacity, while carrying all your divers, and gear etc.

    I dove my own 24' Cabin cruisers, and had issues with the boat being under powered, being it was a I/O, and carrying a 3 divers

    I also had several center consoles, with outboards, and the outboards tend to jump the boat right outta the water more quickly, and can stay on plan.

    Why does power to weight ratio count so much you may ask?

    Think of a calm day, boat full of divers and gear, your out diving for the day, and a storm kicks up, and your heading back in from 10 miles off shore, and suddenly your in 4'-6' seas with a loaded down boat.

    You'll need the power to keep the boat pointed in the right direction, and to not get caught from an incoming sea from behind

    I been diving off my own boats for the past 5 years, until about a year ago when we sold the boat and bought a motorcycle.

    Me personally I think Sea Ray makes a great hull, Little over priced because of the name, but being it's a 22' with a I/O, I'm not sure if it would pull the weight needed for several people to dive off of.

    If your going to use it every once in a while for a dive boat, but mostly use it for family outings and a cruiser on the weekends, you might be " OK ", but if your going to use it all the time for diving, I would look at another boat, maybe a 23' Center Console with a outboard, nice dive platform on one side, with a real dive ladder mounted to it.

    Good luck, and EPIRB !

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