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Shore, Dive Boat, or Drift Dive?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by TheDivingBear, Oct 14, 2005.

  1. TheDivingBear

    TheDivingBear Registered

    Someone posted in a recent response that new divers should stay away from drift dives (I believe they were talking about how Cozumel was mostly drift dives). Anyway, as a new diver who is pretty well land locked and will be diving quarries around the midwest, I suppose I won't have to worry about that too much. However, my first ocean dive was a shore dive on Paradise Reef at Cozumel (chosen due to not wanting to descend on a line, making my descent and ear equalizing easier). While the current was stronger than I expected, I still managed well enough to enjoy it without crashing into the reef.

    My question is simple. What do you, the experienced divers, see as the advantages/disadvantages of each: shore dives, boat dives, and drift dives?


  2. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    Well my experince is limited to Shore and Quarry but I have some input based on that experience.

    Shore: Cheap so it's easy to do often if you have local sites. Walk in entry and varrying degrees of slope and depth. In any even you can always have a bottom reference so it's easy to manage equalization and depth. Potential for deep water varies but good light. critters and experince are right there to enjoy. May be susceptible to tidal restrictions. Usually prefer high tides to avoid slippery entries and exits on seaweed. May be in close proxility to boat traffic. Limited number of sites. Certiain critter just won't come into range regularly. You nad a buddy is all it takes.

    I'll add that for us Salt water is about eye candy, critters and all. Freshwater is more about artifacts. Freshwater is also 6 pounds lless weight and a quicker gear clean-up. I can be at either withing 15 minutes so me mix it up. Freshwater is usualy the fall back to high seas that keep us out of the ocean.

    Boat Dives: You avoid the chance of geting sand on your gear though I haven't had that problem on my shore dives some do. No long walks geared up but the lug to the boat can vary, carts are sometimes available. You need a boat or a charter $$$. Seasickness is a drag for some. Navigation is more important since it's not as simple as making sure you head back towards land, you need to hit a point, not a shore line, not a big deal on a led dive. Ascent/descent is either free or on an anchorline. Infinite number of richer sites. Tend to be deeper thus shorter dives. May need lights even by day. Easy access to deeper sites. Having someone to tend the boat while divers are down is preffered.

    Drift, I'll venture is essentially boat with less effort and given the nature slightly higher risk. More of a ride. Different critter mix.

    Quarry is sort of a shore / boat hybrid with whatever is unique about the site thrown in.

  3. Charlie99

    Charlie99 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Silicon Valley, CA / New Bedford, MA / Kihei, Maui
    Shore dives: Pros --- Cheap. You aren't tied to the departure time of some boat, so it's nice for spur of the moment dives.
    Con -- surf entries. Sand in gear. in some places you have long swims to get to nice dive sites.

    Boats: Pro -- the boat takes you to dive sites that are too far out to do as a shore dive. No sand or surf. A diver traveling along can easily find a buddy on most boats.
    Cons -- expense. Tied to boat timetable. Other divers in the water with you or around you.

    Drift dives: Pros: Lazy diving since you don't have to swim against current. Good for the navigationally challenged, since the boat does a valet pickup service rather than you having to find your way back.
    Cons: higher danger of separation from the boat. Difficult to stop and look at small stuff or take photos in a current.
  4. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    My favorite - at least at Caribbean resorts - are dock dives. They're easy to get to, generally free and good diving since there wouldn't be a resort/dock there otherwise. Usually have stairs to get in/out, have tanks, rinse stations, showers and there's generally a resort behind them with food for a SI. No sand/surf to deal with either.

    In Bonaire last summer we did boat/beach/dock dives. Next time I'll skip the beach dives - with one or two exceptions.
  5. HowardE

    HowardE Diver Staff Member

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Boca Raton, Florida
    My first OW dives were drift dives... Love the drift diving, unless it is STRONG current.

    You get to see more reef, with less effort. The boat follows you, so you don't have to swim back to where you started.

    As long as you're the one with the buoy, you're never lost...

    - For a beginner, I would think that beach diving is harder than drift diving off of a boat... You have to walk in your gear, in the sand... fight the waves to get into the water... swim out...etc.

    Diving from a boat... You walk about 5 feet in your gear... take a big step in, and you're diving. SO EASY...
  6. Diesel298

    Diesel298 Contributor

    i prefer to do boat dives over shore dives....
    almost all my dives this year have been boat dives,
    very little hauling of gear. you splash, and decend on the line and your on the wreck. Navagation is usually simple, or you just run a reel...
    and when you come back you have a fixed line for deco.
    the boat is also a comfey place to relax, watch some video that was shot, take a nap, relax eat some food and just enjoy the day, and the being on the water....
  7. moneysavr

    moneysavr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    As said by Howard a drift dive is easy,its from a dive boat,and hope they have a good crew/DM /Capt. ect , You take a short or long not real long boat ride to the site as you gear up as told so you dont over heat,then you are given a dive plan,and then set with a group,or DM or pal and Dive ! Dive! Dive! you hit the water give the boat the ok and get down to depth as you clear your ears as you reach depth the group as you will drift allong,you can stop,and look at the fish and sea life but then get back wih the group! it so easy,and fun with all the life on the reef,the drift dives are mostly on good sections of reef with lots of life! as you come up and do your SS you will see the flag or float line,dont hang on it just keep depth and go with the flow,after your 3-min hang go up slow look around as you go up!! all around,some dive boats will be right on top of you,or will come to you so add air to your BC and enjoy the float top side. No need to swim to the boat they come to you,and board the boat as told by the crew.
    Man its so fun so easy,just dont try to dun the Grove,Duanne,on your first dift dives thease can be hard even for Exp divers due to harsh currents!
    Boat dives are great,
    Dive safe have fun
  8. Whatgoesdown

    Whatgoesdown Instructor, Scuba

    With the right training they are all good! Don't expect to be able to tackle a deep, fast drift if you learned in a quarry. Don't expect to have a ball in low vis, cold water if you learned in Cozumel. I dive mostly from a boat (because that is what they pay me to do!), I find it convenient and drift dives are best of all because I don't have to swim back to the boat. On my own time I hop in off shore because I can dive for two hours without holding everybody up! Each type of dive has its own benefits and drawbacks, you may as well try them all. Your wallet will hopefully give up long before your enthusiam!
  9. Don Burke

    Don Burke Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: southeastern Virginia
    shore advantages
    - I dive on my schedule, not the boat's.
    - I can have lunch with friends and family on my surface interval.
    - It is normally quite cheap.
    - EMS can normally get to an injured diver faster.
    - Solving a gear problem can be as simple as driving to a dive shop or getting some tools from my truck.
    shore disadvantages
    - Sand can get in everything.
    - Entry/ exit can be difficult.
    - The number of dive sites is more limited.
    - The logistic problem of getting gear to the dive site can be substantial.

    boat advantages
    - I ride to the dive site.
    - Immediate help is closer, both for entry/exit and injured divers.
    - There is a wider variety of dive sites.
    boat disadvantages
    - Seasickness can be a big issue.
    - If the weather turns nasty on short notice, most or all of the day is shot.
    - A major gear problem can easily end my diving for the day.
    - EMS can be a long way off.
    - The cost can be pretty substantial.
    - Divers who get lost can be difficult to recover.

    drift advantages
    - All of the advantages of boat diving apply.
    - There is little or no swimming against the current.
    - More ground can be covered.
    drift disadvantages
    - All of the disadvantages of boat diving apply.
    - The number of dive sites suitable for drift diving can be limited.

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