Dive boat etiquette - when to turn the dive on a charter?

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tigerbarb

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I am a fairly new diver, all of my ~100 dives are from the past year and a half. Mostly drift dives in Jupiter and West Palm, in varying conditions throughout the year.

When diving with a charter I hadn't used before, a fellow passenger attempted to "rescue" me towards the end of dive #2. The vis was about 80 ft and I was drifting over the ledge in mild current at about 50 ft with the top of the ledge at 70 and the bottom at 90. It's always good to know that people are watching out for each other, but I had my dive cut 5 minutes short.

No one said anything to me about it afterward, my guess is that they thought I wasn't paying attention to my gauges or to what the other divers were doing. My SAC rate is very low, the only reason I was hovering at 50 was my NDL time, and with great vis I was happy to drift and observe from above until the 50 minute maximum bottom time briefed before the dive.

The standard on the charters I am used to is you can do what you like so long as you don't stay longer than an hour below the surface and don't go too far east/west. After reading SCUBA forums and doing some dives in other states I am starting to think that Florida is the "wild West" of diving. If the entire group and DM turn the dive early due to low gas, am I obligated to join them?
 

wetb4igetinthewater

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That should always be discussed prior to the dive. I'm guessing you were group diving, correct? Were you essentially solo before someone came for you?
 

Divin'Papaw

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I am a fairly new diver, all of my ~100 dives are from the past year and a half. Mostly drift dives in Jupiter and West Palm, in varying conditions throughout the year.

When diving with a charter I hadn't used before, a fellow passenger attempted to "rescue" me towards the end of dive #2. The vis was about 80 ft and I was drifting over the ledge in mild current at about 50 ft with the top of the ledge at 70 and the bottom at 90. It's always good to know that people are watching out for each other, but I had my dive cut 5 minutes short.

No one said anything to me about it afterward, my guess is that they thought I wasn't paying attention to my gauges or to what the other divers were doing. My SAC rate is very low, the only reason I was hovering at 50 was my NDL time, and with great vis I was happy to drift and observe from above until the 50 minute maximum bottom time briefed before the dive.

The standard on the charters I am used to is you can do what you like so long as you don't stay longer than an hour below the surface and don't go too far east/west. After reading SCUBA forums and doing some dives in other states I am starting to think that Florida is the "wild West" of diving. If the entire group and DM turn the dive early due to low gas, am I obligated to join them?

I dive Jupiter and Palm Beach ALOT. On the boats I use (Pura Vida, Kyalami and Jupiter Dive Center), you are absolutely not obligated to end your dive with the group. I regularly do not. As long as you abide by the boat rules for bottom time, head on the surface time, and shoot your SMB, I've never had an issue. That is standard procedure on those boats and it is covered during the briefings.
 

Divin'Papaw

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One caveat I forgot to add. I am a certified solo diver and always equipped to safely dive solo. I have a redundant air source (40 cf pony), two computers, two masks, etc. With that said, the boats I mentioned are not there to babysit you. As long as you follow the boat rules, I've never seen them have an issue with anyone staying down a bit longer than the guide-led group.
 
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tigerbarb

tigerbarb

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I wasn't paired up with anyone in the group, my buddy (old roommate, not insta) and I decided after the first dive that he would signal when he decided to turn the dive and ascend the dive flag line on his own terms since the conditions were so surprisingly good. I watched him ascend and do his safety stop from the ledge.

I understand how it could have looked like I was in trouble, I use a steel HP80 and I was slowly rotating around to look in all directions in case a curious shark decided to approach after the big group moved up.

Next time I guess I will just let the DM and other divers know in advance that I will be maxing out the time. Plan on picking up a small pony bottle soon as well. Thanks everyone for the comments
 

Johnoly

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When diving with a charter I hadn't used before, a fellow passenger attempted to "rescue" me towards the end of dive #2.
We kinda know which boats it didn't occur on.
Which boat was your charter on ?
 

Brodydog

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Unless I’m solo certified, if the entire group has gone up then I should go up as well.
 
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tigerbarb

tigerbarb

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We kinda know which boats it didn't occur on.
Which boat was your charter on ?
Jupiter Scuba Diving "Kyalami", in the past I had used Scuba Works but they didn't run on Sunday due to the expected poor conditions (which ended up being excellent). I will go with the Kyalami again, so far I haven't found a Jupiter charter I wouldn't repeat. When making the booking online I did get the impression they see more tourist action than other charters, advertising photo options and guides in the booking itself. Good on them for watching out for someone who appeared to need help.
 

Scuba_Jenny

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I was on that boat this past Sunday.
Buddy and I surfaced early, so didn't see what happened.

First time on the boat. Will go back.
 

pickens_46929

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Captain sets the ground rules. Period.

It's up to you and your buddy (or group) to stay within those ground rules. So if the Captain said "surface with 500 psi or 60 mins which ever comes first.." and you're diving with the group but chewed through all your air, you pretty much let the in water guide know and head on up.

If you've not had a discussion with the Captain and crew, and it's not well understood that you're diving solo, then you're not really diving solo typically.
 
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