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Dive flag configuration 101

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by Kunk35, May 31, 2009.

  1. Kunk35

    Kunk35 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas
    390
    22
    One of the things my dive buddy and I didn't have any idea how to deal with was the dive flag. The didn't teach us a thing about what type to use, how to deploy it, or anything about the rules of when or how to use it. So, I thought I would explain some basic stuff about them and what we learned along the way.

    We started out with the one you always see at the dive shop. Basically, and innertube wrapped in canvas with a zipper. John and I used this for the first year, and wondered the whole time if there was something easier to use. It takes two people to get that big lunker down to the water, and then you have to deal with the rope. When we started out, we had no idea how much rope we would need, so naturally we had way too much in there to deal with. We also didn't know how much weight to use at the end of the rope. One of the few advantages of this type of dive flag, is the ability to put extra dive weights in it, since as new divers, weight checks and determining how much you need is something you just have to play around with.

    Eventually, after seeing what more experienced divers use as a dive flag, we downgraded (in size at least), to the type that has a styrofoam ball with a weight at the end of a rod, and the dive flag at the other end. Much easier to lug around and does the same job. Now for the configuration part. Here is what I tried out today, and it worked great:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The reel is on sale at ScubaToys.com for 15.00 bucks plus shipping. The weight is only three pounds. I'm sure in heavy winds or wave action, this won't be enough, but you can always change out the weight as needed for conditions. The reel provides a nice carrying handle, and negotiating the line is a breeze with it. Everything stays where it is supposed to.

    I forgot to mention at the beginning that we dive inland lakes, so I can't speak to what works for ocean diving. I just wanted to share what we learned the hard way of spending more money than we needed to trying different things. I hope this helps....
     
  2. Splitlip

    Splitlip Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Jupiter
    3,913
    468
    Uh Uh.

    The line on the reel needs to be attached to the flag. And not the weight on the bottom, but up near the float.
    If you like you can attach a weight or hook to the reel near you ( where you presently have the flag attached)
     
  3. Kunk35

    Kunk35 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas
    390
    22
    Why would it matter?
     
  4. Pearldiver07

    Pearldiver07 Contributor

    781
    3
    I think that you may have misunderstood how Kunk35 is using this.

    Although you're right on for travelling with a flag, often in local lakes we mark the dive near the entry/exit point with a stationary flag. In this case the weight is acting as an anchor.

    I believe what you're looking at is a system that allows them to drop the weight from the surface, then secure it so that the line doesn't reel out.

    But you're right for a travelling usage. A small weight integrated on the line just below the flag keeps it nicely upright.
     
  5. Pearldiver07

    Pearldiver07 Contributor

    781
    3
    Kunk35, could you clarify if you're using it for travelling (hauling around with you), or emplacing it to retrieve later?
     
  6. Kunk35

    Kunk35 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas
    390
    22
    I guess I didn't explain that part, Pearl is right, we don't travel with our flag. I've heard, (but have never been able to find it written), that in area lakes, it isn't legal to tow the flag. It has to be stationary.
     
  7. Splash-X

    Splash-X Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Palm Harbor, FL
    583
    18

    Nice bit of information. Thanks for sharing your setup!

    In the ocean when doing an anchored boat dive we use a flag on the dive boat to mark our location for the most part.


    What is odd to me is if we head over to West Palm Beach / Jupiter the guides over there don't use a dive flag they usualy use a orange float ball (like a surface marker) on the surface. I'm not quite sure what the law is regarding the use of the ball vs the use of a dive flag so I can't comment on that.

    Any time we dive from the shore or when we head to the springs where there are boats around we use the reverse of your setup, the weight attached to the flag and the reel in our hand so we can wind up / wind down.




    The few times we went lake diving I had considered how I might use our dive flag without "carrying" it and my thought was to use line double the depth, like a U around an object on the bottom and bring the reel back to the top. When the dive is over, undo one side and reel back in leaving the object you "U"ed through on the bottom.

    My approach seems like alot more work than yours for sure.
     
  8. Splitlip

    Splitlip Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Jupiter
    3,913
    468
    Got it. You set it from the surface or with a preset length of line.
     
  9. Splitlip

    Splitlip Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Jupiter
    3,913
    468

    Drift diving, the orange ball is easier to manage in that with a strong current it won't get pulled under as one of these flags will.

    The boat follows the ball, staying well within the 300 ft range, while flying it's own flag.

    In Boynton and south, where the current is not as swift, ususally buddy teams can get away with pulling their own flag.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Kunk35

    Kunk35 Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Texas
    390
    22
    Just in the few replies so far, it appears that I should have considered the different areas people dive in and the fact that some people tow the flag.

    This configuration works well, since we usually surface swim to our descent point, swim around on our dive, navigate back to the entry point if we can find it, then surface at the flag, or at least within a short distance of it. You could switch the reel around, and descend to the bottom with the weight hooked to the reel, but if you have to surface swim to the flag, you would have to descend to the bottom again in order to reel in the line. With my configuration, even if you find the line while diving, you do your safety stop, surface, then reel the line in.

    I really wish they would cover at least the basics of stuff like this in Open Water class. My buddy and I just had to learn by trial and error and watching others. And it seems that nobody we have seen so far, really has a great way of deploying and retrieving the dive flag.
     

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