Diving from 16 foot fishing boat

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rfwoodvt

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Got a starcraft 16 open fishing boat (think rowboat with 35hp motor) and am entertaining the idea of diving off it.

Basically there are quite a few shore dives we don't do because getting our gear to the beach is a hassle, usually because it is a long hike, and the ever present need for a shore based person to stand guard over our gear at the beach.

On the other hand we can motor over in our Starcraft those same spots, set anchor, and have the time of our lives.

Aside from flying a Diver Down flag what are some other rules and considerations do we need to keep in mind when diving from a small boat?

For example:

do we need to have a person on the surface tending the boat while me and my divebuddy are down?

Do we need additional warning flags/bouys/etc?

Anything else?

Thanks!
 

rick00001967

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check on your local regulations.

typically you need to have someone on the boat and fly the appropriate flag so other boaters know there are divers in the area.

that said, many boaters do not know (or care) if there are divers down there even if you have al the proper flags and buoys etc.

another issue may be getting in and out of the boat. depending what style of diving you are doing, you may need to don and doff the gear in the water. i would have a way to clip off the bc or tanks to your anchor line or a second line in the water.
 

broncobowsher

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Don't know if there are any local laws. But in general nobody needs to stay on the boat. Put the dive flag on the boat. It will explain why there is an unmanned boat in the water. The biggest issue is the boat getting swamped by passing boats.
 

TMHeimer

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Good advice above. I've never heard of it being a law that someone has to be on a boat (what about boats simply moored when not in use?). But all that I've ever read says there should always be someone on board to make sure the anchor doesn't come loose. I imagine there are exceptions, like when my brother & I were diving in 15' of water and tied the small boat to a pole the thickness of a telephone pole sticking out of the water.
 

mac64

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Yes you can dive from your boat, you can dress and drop over the side to enter but it’s easier to float your gear and get back in over the stern. Make sure the anchor is set by going down the anchor line and checking it. In order to clear the anchor you’ll need to use a tripping line and float on the surface. An empty boat is always an oddity to other boaters and they usually go and check is everything all right so you’ll need to clearly show that there are divers below.
 

broncobowsher

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Having someone on board may be a commercial thing, or a Canada thing (that poster states location as Canada). But personal use in America, never heard of such a thing.
 

NW Dive Dawg

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Wow..... as a younger wipersnapper my wife and I dove off of a 16ft Starcraft for 5-or 6 years.. We now dive off of our 24ft Hewescraft up here in the Puget Sound, Neah Bay, BC...etc...

All great advice so far.... I would add that there are MANY boat owners who have no idea what a dive flag is or what it means.......so it's better to have a flag that's bigger than the normally and minimally required 20" X 24"....and the flag needs to have a built-in or installable diagonal "stiffener". You also can take a black permanent marker and write "Divers Below" in big block letters onto the white stripe......so if another boater approaches and doesn't know what a dive flag is.....hopefully they can at least read..

Another couple of suggestions when / if leaving the boat unattended......

  • Make sure your navigation skills are totally up to par..... take the obvious measures on direction if there is current present or expected. Square and reciprocal courses are your friend to get back to the boat.
  • I have a super bright LED flashing strobe like this one below and on your decent, clip it onto your anchor line about 20 ft from the bottom and it MAY help you get back to the boat in case your nav is a little off.
  • MAKE dang sure that anyone and everyone on your boat and anyone you are diving with on your boat fully understands the basics of your boat operations, emergency procedures and emergency communication procedures.
  • Don't leave your key in the ignition if leaving the boat unattended. Hide it and make sure that everyone knows where it is....
1300 Lumen Strobe

PS...... Like others mentioned, now that I am quickly approaching the big 70 in years.... I find it so much easier to just inflate and doff my kit and clip it around my valve and then retrieve it after I've climbed back onboard using a commercial "tree" ladder that's on a welded mount on the offshore bracket. We actually use our crap/shrimp pot puller to haul the gear up and then just pivot the davit to bring it onboard.

Best of luck and have a blast with your new boat... Cheers.
 

Belzelbub

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Yeah. It’s not a requirement to have someone on the boat, but in most locations, it’s a real good idea. Anchors drag, weather picks up, or current takes the divers too far away from the boat. Not the end of the world, since it sounds like these dives could be done from shore. But still better than watching the boat drift away.

Apart from that a dive flag is likely the only unique requirement. But don’t expect other boaters to follow the dive flag rules. In some cases they are clueless. In others, they’ll purposely get close to mark the spot to fish later.
 

Angelo Farina

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Got a starcraft 16 open fishing boat (think rowboat with 35hp motor) and am entertaining the idea of diving off it.

Basically there are quite a few shore dives we don't do because getting our gear to the beach is a hassle, usually because it is a long hike, and the ever present need for a shore based person to stand guard over our gear at the beach.

On the other hand we can motor over in our Starcraft those same spots, set anchor, and have the time of our lives.

Aside from flying a Diver Down flag what are some other rules and considerations do we need to keep in mind when diving from a small boat?

For example:

do we need to have a person on the surface tending the boat while me and my divebuddy are down?

Do we need additional warning flags/bouys/etc?

Anything else?

Thanks!
This one?
4039fb64e51b.jpg

It is very similar to my first boat, which I got from my father just after being certified.
It was terrible: too light, very unstable, dangerous in a rough sea.
I and my girlfriend had to splash down in perfect sync on the two sides, for avoiding excessive rolling. Same for coming up, we had to climb on opposite sides simultanously...
After two summers fighting against her oddities, we gave up. We swapped it with an used inflatable (a Zodiac MK2, which we yet own, although now it is in terrible conditions).
One of the best deals of my life...
Diving from an inflatable is much easier, safer and satisfying.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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