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Tech Dives on Recreational Charters

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

  1. Marie13

    Marie13 Great Lakes Mermaid ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Great Lakes
    Same with other Great Lakes charters, I know of, as well. Talk with the charter op. And if you’re already known to them, that’s even better.
  2. caydiver

    caydiver Manta Ray

    If there is a group that wants to charter they can absolutely do it. Smaller ops do it regularly. The problem when there are a mix of divers on the boat is that the desires of all the divers are our responsibility. Also in a place like Cayman where there is no solo diving you would need a buddy on the same profile. We have the same issue when we have divers and snorkelers on a public trip, but when it is a charter everyone is happy to accommodate their colleagues, friends and/or family.
  3. scoobydrew

    scoobydrew Master Instructor

    I work for a dive operation in Grand Cayman called Divetech who support both recreational and technical divers. Typically we do not mix these groups largely due to safety reasons, the two beasts are managed much more effectively when the boat is specialized in one area. For the exact reason you have mentioned in your original post we do periodically organize a tech only boat which we are currently calling Tech Weekend.

    The next one is in February and the idea is that you can jump on and be buddied up with another tech diver or group of divers and dive the walls to the extent of your training and certification. Check out our website for more info on that, it'd be good to see you on the boat there
  4. jadairiii

    jadairiii Solo Diver

    You need to consider a few points when deciding to do this. First and foremost is the boat a "tec" boat at all and do they understand the addition issues faced with having divers doing deco? Next, when mixing tec and rec, you have to anticipate that some rec divers will either get into some kind of trouble, medical or just drifting off due to lack of training. Now the boat had a team on the line decoing out and they have to run to fetch some rec newbie. Hope you dont have an emergency while they are away. Next, if it is a big cattle boat will they remember you are down there decoing? Think this doesn't happen? There are a few "1st class" dive boat operations that have forgotten divers on the reef, more than once (and not mixed groups).

    Not to mention the issue of timing. I doubt you will be doing 2 drops if you are doing deco, rec boats are on a schedule so your surface interval will really limit your second dive. And if you think, one long dive, well now you will be up early into the rec divers second dive. Hope you dont realize you are bent on the boat and have to wait for all the other rec divers to surface before they can get you back.

    End of the day, my advice is to dive the dives the boat is doing.
    kensuf and FreeFlyFreak like this.
  5. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Solo Diver

    As stated, talk up front. Locally on the West coast I know of a boat that has no issue with doing a double dip into a single long dive. What we will typically do is let the first batch of recreational divers drop in. Gives a little more room on the deck for the tech side to gear up and drop in. The recreational divers will be starting to head up as we go down. We have the site to our selves while the crowd does a surface interval. We will head back up about the time they drop for dive #2. We have the deck to ourselves to put everything away as they are on dive #2. We will loose the surface interval snack, but are the first to attack the post dive round of snacks.

    I think the crew doesn't mind. We will often help get the mass of recreational divers in the water and help them get back after #2. The crew isn't as slammed with as many divers all at once, but they do spend more time crewing.

    This past summer I did a trip to North Carolina with a bunch of recreational divers, on a recreational charter. I was the only one on a rebreather, there were others on doubles. For me it was simply putting hours on the unit, getting dives in on it. Could have done full on deco dives but didn't. The guys running doubles were tech capable, but were just keeping current in skills in a recreational environment. About the only thing that stopped us from being in full tech gear was we were not taking a deco bottle (high O2 gas) with us and we were not staying past no deco limits. I still practiced stops that I didn't need. You can still do valve drills on a recreational dive.

    Even when I am planning to do a technical dive I will often take all the gear out the weekend before and do a quick recreational dive as if it were a tech dive just for a shakedown.

    Something else to consider is space on boats. Doing tech dives adds a lot of gear and that takes space. Space is often at a premium on a dive boat

    If the charter says "no", don't argue. Take the recreational trip. Show some proficiency. Be a nice helpful guy. Bring it up later in the trip that you are looking to practice some of your new tech skills and they may go from the generic answer "No" to a "we can probably accomidate you next time". Or you may just see that the boat simply cannot accomidate the situation. There is almost always another charter wanting your business.
    RyanT, shoredivr and lukeb like this.
  6. KentB

    KentB Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Rather be under water
    One local boat is 60 min max but occasionally if boat is fairly empty they let us do 70-75 min All the other charters I’ve done don’t care just want to know your planned run time.
    Last charter I was on last weekend, first time with him (for all of us, but we had booked the entire boat) we had 9 divers all with 2 deco cylinders and all he wanted was run time so he would know when **** had gone south. We told him our time was 90 min and he said ok no worries and then asked if we would need fills for another one or if we were fine after one because he wasn’t in a rush to be anywhere!!!
    He was excellent. Cannot wait to charter him again!
    I guess my point is talk first. In my experience most are cool with anything as long as they know about your plan.
  7. lukeb

    lukeb Divemaster

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Central Florida
    Thank you all for the replies. I think the consensus seems to be to check with the charter operation and as long as they are good with your plan and it fits with the other divers on board, we should be good to go.

    Follow up question, kind of on the same lines....

    I have been watching lots of online videos of Tech wreck dives in SE Florida, organised by John Chatterton. Several of these dives have a runtime of less than 45 minutes, with 30 minute bottom times and anything from a few minutes to about 15 minutes of Deco.

    Whenever I see tech dive charters advertised, they aways say 1 dive. However with the above dive profiles (and a suitable length SI), I see no reason why you couldn't do two of these dives on the same trip. So my question is the one trip tech dive standard for charters, or is a two dive tech charter trip common as well (just maybe less well advertised)?

    Obviously I understand it all depends on the wreck, the divers, the plan, and the conditions. But I just wondered if charter ops think of tech as one and done, or if they are are open to two of the above dive profiles.

    If any of you have experiences of ops willing to run two dive tech trips, please let me know where and who they are!
  8. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    I'm guessing you're kinda new to tech diving? Your instructor might have covered the lesson.

    Most dive boats are set up to run a double in the morning and maybe an afternoon double, or maybe an afternoon and night dive. It's pretty well accepted that 2 deco dives a day is plenty with a long surface interval. Now, dive shops are set up to run a double in the morning, and you can still get home in time to mow the lawn/spend time with the kids, but spending the whole day on a boat to get in 2 deco dives is a long day for boat, crew, passengers, and to go without lunch.

    So yes, there are ops that run full day trips, but they are kinda expensive (when I had a tech liveaboard, the daily rate was over $600 per person per day) and you have to find 5 other folks who want to commit to a full day charter. That isn't that easy when compared to going out Saturday and Sunday morning and getting a tech dive in on a 2 tank recreational dive.

    You probably want the facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/359224937507738/ South Florida Tech Divers to find someone willing to dive with you your way.
    kensuf likes this.
  9. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Stop throwing lettuce at me! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    Most of the full day charters I've been on included lunch. Though sometimes you don't want to eat lunch, just to surrender it back to the sea.

    TBH I only rarely see two tech trips back to back, typically it is a tech charter in the morning with a rec trip in the afternoon. With many of the tech guys just doing NDL dives on those.
  10. CptTightPants21

    CptTightPants21 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: NY/NC/FL
    Sorry, but again depends on the boat. You will find that if the shop runs daily morning and afternoon charters there is usually a time crunch to get back to dock by a certain time so they can unload, clean, and load up the afternoon group--this lends itself to one long deco dive. Some boats only go out once in the morning, these are more open to two deco dives --usually in the 60-80 min RT with a surface interval around the same.

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