Our panel of specialists supply some helpful recommendation on how one can get the most effective out of the hardboat diving expertise
We have now already checked out RIB diving, so now we flip our attentions to hardboats. Secure, extra spacious and with some creature comforts – rest room, galley for these important teas, coffees and attractive snacks, and, in some circumstances, diver-lifts – hardboats can ship you to dive-sites which might be out of attain of smaller vessels.
Then there’s the last word hardboat diving: on a liveaboard, the place you keep, sleep and dine on board, and dive three, 4 and even 5 instances a day.
Relying on the dive location and depth you don’t must be an skilled diver to enterprise out on a hardboat. They provide an effective way for newly certified divers to get some respectable dive-time underneath their weight-belt. Nonetheless, there are some dos and don’ts, and the next pearls of knowledge from our company specialists will allow you to get essentially the most out of your hardboat diving days.
Greater than a water taxi
BSAC Superior Teacher Alex ‘Woz’ Warzynski: “A hardboat offers a terrific platform for exploring dive-sites which might be a bit extra out of the best way and never the extra widespread common websites. It’s tempting simply to make use of a hardboat as a water taxi to take you to the previous favourites however, with a little bit of analysis, a little bit of planning and the best staff of divers, it may be a way more fascinating prospect.
“Even in case you are diving the common websites, arriving with a bit of information in regards to the tides, climate and what to anticipate underneath water will assist everybody on board take pleasure in themselves that little bit extra.
“Approaching board with each little bit of dive-kit you personal might be tough within the restricted out there house on a hardboat. I arrange my equipment the evening earlier than the journey and ensure the whole lot works, then there are not any surprises once you get on board, equivalent to an empty cylinder or leaking reg. Thus far I’ve by no means missed a dive due to badly ready equipment.
“On arrival, I have a tendency to depart the bag or field within the automobile, and simply take the whole lot to the boat prepared to make use of. As a information, in case you’re single-cylinder diving you need to be capable to do that in a single journey from the automobile.
“I discover these massive blue IKEA luggage excellent for chucking the equipment for the day into, slinging over a shoulder and strolling to the boat. The one extras I tackle board are usually lunch, a bottle of water and one thing to maintain the solar off if we’re fortunate with the climate.
“Fortuitously I don’t get seasick however, as a result of others do, that water additionally is available in helpful if persons are sick. There are the same old treatments of medicine (Stugeron is OK, however there are meds that include an ingredient that will increase your possibilities of decompression sickness, so please ensure you test).
“For divers who get hit laborious, there are even some funky glasses you may put on that, though they make you look a bit foolish, give your eyes a man-made horizon to forestall movement illness.”
TDI’s Enterprise Improvement Supervisor Mark Powell: “Make a reservation with a good dive boat or dive-shop. Don’t know one the place you’re going? Perform a little research. You’d be stunned how significantly better your day will likely be when you’ve got a skilled, skilled crew and a extremely organised boat.
“Search for a ship that carries emergency oxygen and ideally has a crewperson along with the skipper.
“Take care to pack your certification card and test any gear you’re taking with you. Ensure it’s all in working order earlier than you get on the boat. If renting gear, make sure that the right gear is reserved earlier than your arrival. While you arrive, test that the rental gear is as anticipated and works appropriately.
“On the day of the dive, stand up early and get to the boat early. You’ll be a lot extra relaxed and able to benefit from the day in case you and your gear are loaded and squared away earlier than the mad rush.
“An early arrival may additionally provide you with an opportunity to talk with the crew and get to know them. It additionally permits you time to discover a parking house, which isn’t all the time straightforward in some seaside cities.
“When you get onboard, unpack your gear and begin preparing. That early arrival may allow you to to do this with out being crowded. Attempt to maintain your gear compact, and stow what you don’t want.
“Your dive-gear ought to match underneath your bench seat and your BC set-up shouldn’t be far and wide. On smaller boats, arrange your gear and stow no matter you don’t must dive. After all, if the crew tells you that there’s room, be at liberty to unfold out and get comfy.
“Speak to the crew and ask questions! If there’s something you’re uncertain of, or wish to know, simply ask. The crew is there particularly that will help you, to maintain you secure and to make your day satisfying. By no means depart one thing unsaid that may trigger you to fret.
“The extra you already know, the calmer you’ll be, and also you’ll benefit from the day extra. The extra the crew is aware of about you, the extra enjoyable you’ll have. In case you’re a brand new or inexperienced diver, ensure to let the crew know! If you could have bother on descent, or in case your safety-stop ascent is slightly shaky, let the crew know.
“The extra you inform them about your dive stage, what you anticipate from the dive and so forth, the extra enjoyable you’ll have and the safer you’ll be.
“Know your dive consolation zone. In case you’re an open water licensed diver and the dive is deliberate for a wreck at 30m, let the crew know you’re not licensed to that stage. The crew ought to all the time be capable to make lodging for you. You must by no means dive previous your coaching and certification!
“You’ll want to hearken to the whole lot occurring. Take heed to the captain’s welcome message and hearken to the crew’s briefing. Don’t speak to your buddies or fuss together with your gear. Necessary security messages and dive procedures are included in these briefings. Your enjoyable and security may rely upon figuring out what was stated.
“There ought to be loads of time earlier than and after these briefings to handle the whole lot. And a few of your questions may get answered earlier than you even ask! And on your personal sake and people on the boat with you, all the time observe crew directions. The crew’s solely aim is to ensure you’re secure whereas having an superior, enjoyable time.
“The journey is over. You’ll most likely be briefed in regards to the unloading process. You’ve had a good time and also you’re again on the dock. Await the crew to safe the boat earlier than you attempt to get off. As soon as your gear is off the boat, collect it up and get your self squared away. Be thoughtful to different folks when loading and unloading, and don’t depart automobiles blocking entry whilst you unload.
“Bear in mind to have enjoyable! And let others know what a good time you had. A sort phrase and thank-you to the crew, the house owners and a pleasant thank-you or evaluation on social media, TripAdvisor and so forth can be all the time welcome.”
Etiquette to think about
Garry Dallas, Director of Coaching RAID UK and Malta: “You’ve lastly acquired your self booked on a constitution hardboat or a luxurious liveaboard. As you’re motoring out to the open ocean, there’s some etiquette to think about in terms of hardboat diving.
“In some ways, it’s not dissimilar to RIB diving – you’re on a much bigger vessel however security is all the time key to having fun with your boat-diving experiences.
“Your skipper / tour-leader will all the time transient you totally. Pay shut consideration – they need you to take pleasure in it too. Bear in mind, simply since you’re on a much bigger boat and have extra space, don’t unfold your gear out extra. There could be much more individuals who additionally must get round you!
“Conserving your gear collectively reduces the chance of loss and injury. Merely handle your gear as you’ll do on a smaller vessel – others will admire it too and observe swimsuit. Mark-up / personalise your gear to keep away from any awkwardness. Ensure it’s secured and that it received’t fall over ought to the boat pitch or roll.
“Concentrate on slippery decks and deck-ladders when shifting across the vessel, particularly when barefoot. With bigger teams diving, there’s normally a system for getting into and exiting the water and stowing your tools away for refills for the following dive. Hear rigorously to those procedures to keep away from kitting up a spent tank and the stress that ensues.
“In case you undergo from seasickness, listed here are some ideas for you: the eyes usually see the world that’s nonetheless, whereas our physique’s equilibrium sensors in our internal ears ship alerts of a shifting setting to the mind. This confusion causes unrest within the physique; then tiredness and nausea kicks in.
“Get loads of sleep, keep away from greasy meals and alcohol and take appropriate seasickness tablets for divers. Hold busy or take a look at the horizon, keep in recent air and don’t go on the highest deck the place there’s extra roll. Keep near the centre of the vessel or the strict, not the bow. Drink recent water each quarter-hour and keep out of the solar. Strive to not sleep, as a result of this usually makes it worse.
“Lastly, ensure your tools is tip-top earlier than you get on the boat and by no means rush something. Get pleasure from!”
GUE’s John Kendall: “As with every boat-dive, it’s finest to have your tools all arrange and checked earlier than you allow harbour. Attempt to arrive with loads of time earlier than the marketed ‘ropes-off’ time, and introduce your self to the skipper.
“Ask the crew how they need the boat loaded, and do not forget that most UK hardboats take 10-12 divers, so even when it seems to be as if there’s loads of house, this doesn’t imply that you need to convey each final piece of diving tools that you just personal. Simply convey what you want.
“Massive benefits of hardboat diving usually embody the flexibility to make sizzling drinks, and in addition to journey to the dive-site out of the climate, however observe the skipper’s directions about the place you may and may’t go in a moist dive-suit.
“Lastly, attempt to not block the bathroom. Most marine bogs received’t take care of something that hasn’t first handed by means of you.”
Finest on the planet
Vikki Batten, PADI Course Director: “UK skippers are among the finest on the planet and are normally very educated about sea circumstances and the dive-sites they drop you on. However you must also educate your self. The PADI RNLI Distinctive Speciality Diver course was developed with the RNLI to teach divers about security at sea.
“Take heed to the briefing about getting into and exiting the water rigorously. Strategies could be very totally different to these you’ve got skilled diving in different areas. In case you don’t know why somebody is telling you to do one thing, simply ask. There’ll all the time be an excellent cause and it’s normally safety-related.
“While you’re within the water, stay alert and targeted. Keep conscious of boats, buddies, buoys and contours – that makes it simpler for the skipper and buddies to speak with you if they should, and so that you can reply to any change in circumstances.”
That liveaboard feeling
Jonas Samuelsson, PADI Course Director: “My favorite hardboats are liveaboards, and it’s laborious to clarify the sensation once you’re departing from the harbour on the best way to an incredible reef or wreck.
“Your day on a liveaboard consists of three favorite pursuits of mine – sleep, eat, dive and repeat. I like all types of diving, however the benefit of being on a liveaboard is that you’ll be able to attain among the most spectacular dive-sites… and the meals, in fact.
“Simply bear in mind when diving on liveaboards to make sure that you talk about your certification and expertise stage with the dive operator in order that it may give recommendation about which journey is most fitted for you.”
Emily Petley Jones, PADI Course Director: “Probably the most difficult facets of diving from a hardboat could be the exit. You must hear very rigorously to this part within the briefing, as a result of there are various variations as to what you need to do once you’re leaving the water.
“If utilizing a ladder, you need to notice what kind of ladder it’s. Whether it is an open ladder (the place there are not any sides), you may depart your fins on to climb again onboard, and slide your toes in from the edges. If it’s a closed ladder, you need to take away your fins earlier than you climb on.
“Just remember to all the time have one hand on the boat, or a line related to the boat, earlier than you are taking off your fins!
“Probably the most widespread considerations for skippers is divers crowding across the ladder. At all times give one another house, and make sure that just one diver is on the ladder at a time and, extra importantly, that the bottom of the ladder is evident in case they fall again into the water.
“Some ladders generally tend to pivot because the boat rocks within the water, so attempt to get your weight on the ladder as quickly as you may, as a result of it will assist to cease it from swinging fairly a lot.”
’George all the time sits there’
IANTD’s Kieran Hatton: “Divers are like fuel – they increase into the house they’ve out there! That is fantastic once you’re the one diver on the boat, however one thing of an issue once you’re with 9 different like-minded people.
“Diving offshore requires a level of organisation and staff planning. When boarding a ship, folks will discover their seat, and this could be on a ‘George all the time sits there’ or a first-come, first-served foundation (mine is the one by the gate). Both approach, upon getting your seat, finest to see in case you can keep it up for the week.
“Completely different journeys are going to require totally different tools however, very similar to once you’re diving, take solely what you want as a result of house will all the time be restricted. If diving on a liveaboard for a number of days, it is going to be a good suggestion to take spares and instruments.
“If a long term out for a single dive at slack water is the order of the day, there’s little level on this. In case you’re not able to go when the skipper says go, the dive window will likely be closed anyway.
“Be prepared earlier than you allow the marina, as a result of making an attempt to repair a rebreather whereas travelling at 20 knots is just not numerous enjoyable.
“Deliver meals – meals to share (don’t overlook in regards to the veggies). A long term again to shore is best on a full abdomen.
“Final however not least, purchase the skipper and crew a pint – it’s lengthy time out and too usually a thankless job taking care of divers. Oh, and did I point out it: Don’t sit in my seat!”
Pictures by Mark Evans
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