Boat diving is a wonderful activity to be a part of. It is a popular activity, but you may not know it by that name. It is known in the mainstream as scuba diving, and it is one of the coolest water activities anyone can try.
There is something unique and refreshing about being geared up, diving off a boat, and going underwater. Indeed, there is a feeling of exclusivity to it. Boat diving allows you to reach inaccessible sites.
It allows you the privilege of hopping between shores, islands, and bays easily. As fun as this sounds, however, there are risks and shortcomings associated with boat diving. You will have to deal with problems like broken mask straps, leaky regulators, and failed O-rings.
This may sound like serious problems. Of course, they are serious if not quickly addressed, but they are relatively easy to fix. Most of those mentioned problems can be solved by packing extra gear with you on the trip.
Shore diving can be taken as the opposite of boat diving. While it is also a fun water activity, it does not offer the same exclusivity levels as boat diving. For example, you can only access a handful of dive sites with shore diving, unlike boat diving.
While boat diving has some advantages over shore diving, any dive boat captain will tell you great pleasure requires extreme caution. You can take this article as a Boat Diving 101 class.
It will expose you to the details you need to have at your fingertips if you want to know how to boat dive right. There are do’s and don’ts that you must be aware of while you are on a boat. Read on to learn what is acceptable and what isn’t because obeying the rules will ensure you have an enjoyable boat dive.
What is Boat Diving?
In plain terms, boat diving involves the activity of hopping off a boat in full gear. Are you shocked that there aren’t fancy terms in that definition? That is how simple the activity is.
To understand boat diving, you must understand its relationship with the more mainstream term – scuba diving and shore diving.
There are two ways in which you can dive and explore the underwater world. You can shore-dive, or you can boat dive. Exploring the world’s underwater parts in itself is scuba diving, but the diving site makes one a shore dive or boat dive.
Boat dives give you access to sites you obviously cannot reach if you shore dive. A boat carries you to a chosen site along with your gear, and you roll-off or dive off the boat into the water and start exploring. It is such a thrill!
Scuba diving is mainly associated with boat dives, so that it will be used interchangeably in this article. It is primarily done for its reach into the unattainable undersea world. Humankind has found it difficult to explore the underwater world.
The numbers are completely shocking when you read about them. With the level of technological advancement that humankind has attained, more than 70 percent of the ocean has still not been explored or mapped.
There are so many things that we might discover that may change the world as we know it, just there sitting somewhere in the ocean.
This is because humans cannot breathe underwater, meaning we only get limited water-time whenever we do get the opportunity to go underwater. How do we go underwater? Boat diving.
Boat diving has always attracted humankind since they figured out there was a world there in the water unknown and unexplored. The difficulty of exploring this world has been mentioned.
Some form of apparatus is required to go into this world and come out alive successfully. The apparatus used is called SCUBA, and that is where the popular term ‘scuba diving’ was coined from. The word scuba is in itself an acronym for Self contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.
Simply put, it is the magic device that makes it all possible. So you will need one when you decide to go on boat dives.
Key Components of Boat Dives
Every water activity has its non-negotiables that make participating in it safe, possible, and enjoyable. Boat diving is no different in this light. You can’t just drive a boat to a location at sea, step onto the boat’s edge and take a dive into the captivating body of water beneath you. There are tools you need, and one of them has already been mentioned in explaining what boat diving requires.
Can you guess what it is? If you said ‘boats,’ then you have been paying attention, and you should bite into or have a sip of whatever edibles you have in your hand because you deserve a treat.
Boats are one of the key components of boat dives (it is in the name). Other components of a successful boat dive are:
- Wetsuit or Drysuit
- Scuba Tank
- Weight Belt
- Dive Knife
- Dive Computer/Dive Watch
In this article, the focus will be on the kind of boats you need than other equipment.
Types of Boats
Several boats are used in diving, from small, simple boats to large boats with facilities to help you stay out in the water for several days. However, the most commonly used ones are:
This cool-sounding boat name is the commonly used acronym for Rigid Inflatable Boat. It is sometimes favored because of its light-weight build. It is a high-performance powerboat that has inflatable tubes around its outer edge. There is a variation of this boat where you will sometimes see it fitted with a solid hull, which becomes an RHIB, not a RIB.
This type of boat is commonly used for boat dives mainly because of the presence of inflatable tubes. It can withstand turbulence because the inflatable tubes, especially when combined with a solid hull, have incredible shock-absorbing qualities.
The inflatable and the hull combine to become something known as a Variable Geometry Hull, meaning under the impact of waves. The vessel can change shape. There are two types of RIBs. They are:
Open RIBs are the commonest design of RIBs you will find. They are opened like a canoe with no roof, meaning the boat’s deck is exposed throughout.
It is popular among pleasure boaters because of its speed, stability, and sea-going capabilities.
They come in different lengths and shapes.
The opposite of an open RIB is a cabin RIB. Exactly as the name states, it is a type of RIB with a roofed deck. The length of the cabin varies according to the carrying capacity of the boat.
It is common to see cabin RIBs as large as fifteen meters and have a carrying capacity for 12 passengers and space for the vessel crew.
Day boats are larger than RIBs. They are made of a much more solid material that is sometimes wood and other times steel. It is usually solid enough to hold from ten to thirty people. This means when used for boat diving, you have more carrying capacity for gears. They are called day boats because you can comfortably spend more time on them than RIBs, for example.
However, they do not feature overnight capacity. In terms of comfortability, they range from basic to very comfortable. The very comfortable day boats have showers, toilets, and pantries.
If your choice boat for diving is a dive boat, you will have to get off the boat using the giant stride entry and get back on using a dive ladder.
Liveaboards let you do exactly what the name implies – live aboard them. They are large boats, often about one hundred feet or more, with full living facilities on board. There is a compressor for filling scuba tanks, and the boats can carry up to 20 to 40 people. This multi-day boat can sustain you from a few days to a few weeks, and it is commonly used for underwater study and research.
Do’s and Don’ts
Here are some things that are allowed on dives and others that are a no-no.
1. Touch or Harass Marine Life
Marine Life is beautiful and captivating. Being underwater and seeing fishes you’ve never seen before with colors and patterns unlike nothing you have ever seen can draw you to touch them. Sometimes you want to take a photo for your Instagram, so you try to push a marine creature into the shot.
Do not do this. It is rude to start with because you wouldn’t want to be pushed into a shot yourself, and secondly, you could be poking a dangerous animal. You could end up getting hurt.
2. Not Pay Attention
Once you hit the water and go underneath, there is a thrill that builds up in you, and a side effect of that is you wanting to wander off on your own. Do not do this.
Do not abandon your dive mates and go off on your own. If you get into trouble, they may be too out of reach to help you, and it could cost you your life.
Remember, a large part of the ocean is unmapped, and you can get lost pretty easily and pretty quickly too.
3. Do not push your limits
As tempted as you might be to go above your limits when scuba diving, you have to resist the urge to do so. Do not go deeper than you think you can go. It can get very lonely very quickly underwater.
4. Keep Your Gear in one place
A new diver will almost certainly be confused about where to keep their gears. When you get on the boat, you will most likely be shown a spot that will be for you to keep your valuables safely. Listen to the boat crew and keep your gear wherever they provide for you. Ensure your gear is kept in that area and an orderly fashion.
5. Hanging onto Gear
If there ever is a problem during a dive and you need to cut your trip short, if a part of your gear accidentally gets caught by something, lose it.
Yes, your gear is expensive, and you do not want to lose your dive watch, but your life is worth more than any gear you have on, and the best thing to do is lose it.
Do not struggle to stay afloat while trying to break your trapped gear free.
6. Get out of the way
Try as much as possible to stay out of the way of the boat’s crew. When the crew instructs you to stay in your designated area, listen to them as they are there to keep you safe.
Boat diving is the riskier version of shore diving. Boat diving allows you to visit more sites than you can as a shore diver. Boat diving is more dangerous than its less risky version, but there are guidelines that you can follow that ensure you go in and get out of the water safely.
The type of boat you pick for boat diving matters a whole lot. One factor that determines which boat you choose is the length of time you plan to stay on the water. If you do not have plans to stay long, then a RIB is the best boat for you.
A RIB has everything you’ll need for a couple of hours on the water. If you want to stay all day, a day boat is more appropriate. You will need access to toilet facilities, and there are very comfortable day boats with those facilities.
A multi-day boat, also called a liveaboard, is an appropriate boat for week-long diving. It has a compressor and living facilities for up to 40 people. You will love boat diving once you try it out.
It sounds scary at first to head onto a large body of water and plunge yourself into a body of water that large. However, if you follow the instructions given to you, you will be just fine.
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