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Tech Dives on Recreational Charters

Discussion in 'Technical Diving' started by lukeb, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. lukeb

    lukeb Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Central Florida
    So I am about a month out from completing my TDI Advanced Nitrox and Decompression Procedures classes, and I am starting to get thinking about where and when I can put these new skills into use and get some Tech dives in once I am trained and certified.

    How do you all feel about carrying out light decompression dives on boats that are carrying mostly recreational divers? Have any of you done this? I am thinking dives in the 100 - 120 ft range with limited amounts of Deco, so you are still back on the boat within an hour, but you had a noticeably longer bottom time then the rec divers did. Do many boats let you do this? I know there are specific tech diving boats aiming for deeper wrecks, but I wanted to know if we were able to do it on a regular boat.

    I am originally from England and there it was commonplace for there to be a mixture of tech and rec divers due to the depths and conditions. In fact tech divers often outnumbered the recreational divers.

    Anyway, thanks for your input! I'm super excited to finally be getting into tech.
  2. Wookie

    Wookie Curmudgeon Apprentice ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

    Ask the boat, but there are plenty of tech diving boats running lots of trips in FLL/WPB/Jupiter.
    Lostdiver71 and Hoyden like this.
  3. soonerwink

    soonerwink Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Glenpool, Oklahoma, United States
    On the trips that I book for our dive club, tech divers are welcome on trips where we are doing 2 dives on one location. They do one dive while the rec divers do two, of course it's for the same price.
  4. wedivebc

    wedivebc CCR Instructor Trainer ScubaBoard Supporter

    Like Capt Frank said, depends on the boat but I can tell you as a long time rebreather diver I have not found too many boats that will turn away tech divers unless they are cattle boats that need to sqeeze every neoprene clad body onboard as they can.
    lukeb likes this.
  5. ChuckP

    ChuckP Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cozumel
    I'll add that SE Florida you don't have to make one dive to their two - you can still do two dives, dive plan accordingly.

    Be nice to the captain and they'll generally be nice to you.
    Dark Wolf and lukeb like this.
  6. CptTightPants21

    CptTightPants21 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY/NC/FL
    Contact the charter operation. Some charters will do shorter dives at multiple sites, others will pick one site and stay there for two dives.

    Many boats run charters to specific wreck sites and will do two dives at the one site. The boat is usually at the site for about 3 hours (2x 45 min dives plus 90 min surface interval) This allows recreational divers to do two shorter dives and CCR/technical divers to do one long dive with deco. It depends on the dive and how much gas you bring, but you can either get in the water super early have a nice two hour plus run time or take your time suiting up and getting into the water and enjoy a nice 90 min dive.

    If it is a mixed boat of recreational and tech divers you will see this structure for wreck sites. It is usually less common on reef dives because the single tank divers will be done with their dive and want to be underway to to explore a "new reef".

    I would say that the set up you experienced in England is the standard in the Northeast and has been my experience with all the charters that I have used in Florida and the Caribbean---but when I travel I research and pick my charters ahead of time so I might be a little self selective with that and not realize how many charter operations don't accommodate a tech diver.
    lukeb likes this.
  7. kensuf

    kensuf ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    I would talk up front. There are places that will absolutely FREAK out if you do this. Others will be more than happy to accommodate you. If you see a charter marked as a "Double Dip" then they'll probably be very accommodating.
    seeker242 likes this.
  8. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    Up in Tobermory, the shop often has "advanced" trips where sites are deeper. While a chat ahead of time with the operator would be advised, I suspect that as long as you're back on the boat within the dive time set by the boat, you won't have a problem.
    maj2, davecampbell and Billy Northrup like this.
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Wide-eyed nube in the Pub ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Orlando, FL
    Not exactly the question you are asking, but I frequently practice some tech skills on rec charters that don't allow planned decompression for example. I always tell the DM (these are usually SE FL drift dives: Jupiter / West Palm) that I'm just practicing; will be within the time and NDL limits they have briefed in the dive brief; but I will shoot a bag or DSMB from the bottom; and stop for a minute at 50', 40', 30'.
    lukeb likes this.
  10. PT4476

    PT4476 Contributor

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Toronto
    Lot's of good advice in previous posts. As kensuf says 'talk up front', many tech friendly charters in Florida, just be clear about your run times and make sure they will allow you to dive solo (if that's what you intend to do). After I got my first tech certifications I did a lot of the double dip trips out of Key Largo, also lots of tech trips out of Pompano. And as Stoo says, Tobermory has quite a few tech friendly dive sites, without the eye-stingy water, with the bonus of not having to rinse your gear after diving.
    lukeb likes this.

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