Anyone gaining dive experience and have any plans on doing any diving outside the local quarry know that having a knowledge dive boat etiquette is a crucial topic. With that in mind here’s a simple list of “rules of the road” for diving off of boats. Of course this list may very well depend on where in the world you dive.
1. Listen to your Captain and Crew’s instructions. Most often diver’s are more interested in finding their mask defog or drinking their coffee while the crew are trying to give simple instructions on safety and operation of the boat. Most safety briefings take a couple of minutes and the information provided will make for a more pleasurable and safer trip.
2. Know your equipment and have your dive rig set up before boarding the boat. It’s quite a bit easier to set up your BC and test it on solid ground than it is on the deck of a pitching boat. In addition, pack your dive bag so that you can gear up in an organized fashion. I’d even recommend a “dry run” of gearing up in a small space the day or night before the trip.
3. Dive bags-Good, huge tupperware boxes-Bad. Most boats have limited space and the clearer the deck, the safer and easier it is to get you off and on the boat.
4. If you’re asked to move, the crew is not being rude. Yes, you are the customer and the crew will move mountains to ensure an amazing dive experience but it is a boat after all. We have lines to handle, ladders to rig, tag lines to deploy and gear to shift. It’s all part of the experience.
5. You’re not done with your dive until you are back on the boat. Climb the ladder with your mask on and reg in place. If you can fall off a ladder in your house while changing a light bulb you surely can in pitching seas with 50lbs of awkward equipment on your back. Once on the boat move from the boarding area so the next diver can get on board.
6. Seasick? Stay out of the cabin and don’t sweat it…the fish will eat it. Trust me people get seasick, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Some of the most experienced ocean divers tend to chum the waters from time to time. If you get seasick regularly or are concerned about it ruining your dive trip, give your physician a call for options.
7. Not sure? Ask questions! All members of the crew were once new divers on their first boat trip. They love questions and would love you to back for another trip as a seasoned veteran and every phase in between.
8. Tip your Divemaster and Crew!! They work hard to ensure the best dive experience possible and love diving, but still have bills to pay. 15-25% of the charter fee is acceptable and greatly appreciated.
Here at DRIS we are always ready to make your next dive your best! Dive Boat Etiquette will help you and your dive partners have a great experience.