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Hauling Tanks for Sidemount Shore Dives

Discussion in 'Sidemount Diving' started by bradymsu, Mar 27, 2021.

  1. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    263
    100
    A fair amount of the shore diving I do involves walks through shallow water of 100-200 yards (meters) before reaching a 5' (1.5m) depth to begin a dive. Gearing up at the beach would be cumbersome and makes little sense as it defeats a key benefit of sidemount. So my question is how to get the tanks to the point where I begin a dive.

    We're legally required to have a dive float where I live and it's a law that's enforced. So my thought at this point is to have a dive float that I can use to tow the two tanks from. I contacted XS Scuba about their UFO spearfishing float. They told me that the interior of it isn't wide enough to hold two scuba tanks and that it doesn't have enough weight capacity. But it would be buoyant enough to tow two attached steel tanks and the interior could be used to carry my fins, mask, and even a camera platform.

    I'm certain I'm not the first diver with this issue when converting to sidemount. So what are the better options for gearing up sidemount on shore dives involving longer hikes through shallow water?
     
  2. Wibble

    Wibble Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: UK
    725
    507
    I rig my sidemount cylinders with a top clip and simply hook them on like stage cylinders from the chest D-ring. Then sort the bungee out in the water.
     
  3. _Ralph

    _Ralph Contributor

    680
    318
    Build a leash, and either toe them out, or clip them to a lower attachment on your harness, or under your float...

    _R
     
  4. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Working toward Cenotes ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    2,178
    1,354
    I'm not sure many have experience with 100-200 yard in-water walks to get to 5'.

    I shore dive with LP50s, but my in-water walk is all of 10-20 yards. I fully rig the left tank. On the right, I hold the valve and clip the neck leash off to a hip D-ring, leaving the hose on the tank. That tethers it in shallow water while I put fins on, or if I pause on the way to the water and want that hand free. (Though often I just fully rig both of them.)

    Using bigger tanks and the UFO float, I might do the same walking to the water with the right. For the left, I'd only clip the neck and tail to the chest and waist. I'd strap fins in the float and carry it over the left shoulder. In foot-deep water I'd drop the float, unclip the left, and put the left in the float. Then trudge out towing float-fins-tank and tank. At 5', I might clip the right to the float bottom, then unload the left and clip it to the bottom, then get fins on, then tanks.

    A tank in hand but leashed to the waist is fairly convenient. The only reason to chest and hip clip the left is to free up that hand, and a bit of "while in the water a reg close at hand is a good thing."

    Better might be to bungee the fins to the top of the float sides. Then you can get them on first, and not have to remove the tank first.
     
    Cdncoldwater likes this.
  5. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    263
    100
    Food for thought. Thanks for that very detailed reply.

    As for the walk out, I live in western Michigan. On this side of Lake Michigan, it's typical to have three sets of sandbars parallel to the shore with troughs in between. So from the shoreline, I may first encounter a trough 2' deep, then a 1' deep sandbar, then a 3' deep trough, then a 2' sandbar, finally a 4' deep trough followed by a 3' sandbar before it drops to 5' of depth and then a dropoff to deeper water. That often takes 100-200 yards. Doing it in backmount can be a decent amount of exercise. Doing it in sidemount with tanks suspended from the harness would be a major pain in the butt.
     
  6. MichaelMc

    MichaelMc Working toward Cenotes ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Berkeley, CA
    2,178
    1,354
    Ouch.

    Having the valve leashed to the waist takes most of the weight off once you are in a bit of water. It's really like how joggers tie their dog's leash to their waist.

    It sounds like the float with the tank should clear all the 1' depths.

    You could also do 2x LP50s. I imagine they would both fit in the float. Or do two UFO floats.

    There are also some tank buoyancy bladders, for un-mounted passage through narrow caves. You could rig the tail of the second tank with that to keep its draft shallow, and leash its valve to the float.
     
  7. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    263
    100
    I'll try this option versus towing alongside the UFO float. Two concepts to work with. The last thing I need is more tanks. But I'll check out LP 50s. So skinny.
     
  8. rx7diver

    rx7diver Solo Diver

    1,083
    400
    is there a site nearby where people put in their canoes, kayaks, or small boats?

    rx7diver
     
    happy-diver likes this.
  9. Coztick

    Coztick Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: calgary
    686
    449
    How about a very small inflatable dinghy? Like a kids pool toy. Just big enough for all your gear but small enough to deflate and bungee to your float.
    All gear would be secure for travel, you could partially deflate it to ease access when you're ready and you could reinflate the raft with the reserve you surface with.
     
  10. bradymsu

    bradymsu ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA
    263
    100
    It depends on the location, but yes, I often use Public Access Sites for entry. Although those locations aren't ones that have long shallow walks out to depth as they're situated in areas deep enough to shore for watercraft navigation.
     

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