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Experience or license - What makes a Captain?

Discussion in 'Becoming a Captain' started by Wookie, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. Bob DBF

    Bob DBF Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: NorCal
    And it isn't limited to Long Island. And another reason for licensed commercial skippers with experience in avoiding them.

  2. Akimbo

    Akimbo Lift to Freedom Volunteer Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    So true. The vast majority of boats in San Diego marinas wouldn't clear the fjords off Norway by more than a few miles before taking on water. Harsh conditions make more diligent seaman and divers... or kills them.

    I have spent far more than a 365 days working offshore, but have no business logging more than about 5% of them towards a master's license. I wasn't a cook, but being under a boat isn't much more relevant to running it. By the same token, a trans-oceanic tugboat captain doesn't automatically make a good dive boat captain in the Caribbean -- "probably" safe, but not necessarily good.

    I have noticed that the captains I have respected the most have an air of authority about them that comes with the burden of responsibility. This should not be confused with unfriendly or the kind of "distance" that is common in the military. They share a situational awareness that is apparent even when you are having coffee onshore.
    caydiver and Bob DBF like this.
  3. Steve_C

    Steve_C Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    Experience that they have learned from is key. Not all with lots of experience have learned anything. And that applies to about everything in life.
    BenjaminF, Hoyden, Wookie and 2 others like this.
  4. caydiver

    caydiver Barracuda

    So we are probably the smallest op on the island. We are hiring a new DM. We asked for his experience. He is coming from a few years on one of the Sisters. He will still have training on our boat in local water. I just think some people don’t understand how much everyone in the dive industry here need to care. Here is an abbreviated list of experience — I totally realize that there are many with more experience but disagree with commentary about captains with no experience. My colleagues with bigger boats will want even more.

    as far as boating experience, 36" and 46" newtons, small twin vees and dustys. several ribs and dingys, for smb watersports, the 3 boats they have including the50" jet drive v hull. in malta a worked on 100" trawlers and in scotland captain of a 24 meter livaboard for almost a year, with several international crossing from orkney to norway, aswell as several crossing from orkney to mainland scotland of over 150 miles and orkney to shetland.
  5. flyboy08

    flyboy08 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    To me, a license is a means to continuing the journey of learning...I’ve been flying since I’ve been 15 and continue to learn on every flight....same with diving, I treat them the same and look forward to my semi annual training...yep, I still have to attend class :)
    caydiver likes this.
  6. caydiver

    caydiver Barracuda

    I so totally agree. A license to me is only the boarding pass to start the adventure. The more you learn the more you realize how little you know. Hopefully it makes you hungry to take the next step.
  7. rjack321

    rjack321 Captain

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Port Orchard, WA
    To some extent I am a paper tiger (rawr!)
    Most of my pre-licensure experience was on a 20ft salt flats boat that I used for work in FL for a solid year. Years later I bought a 34ft recreational trawler here in the Seattle area. Dry weight was about 20,000lbs, IIRC it was a documented as a 13ton vessel. To get myself a price break on insurance, I submitted a letter from my FL employer with some additional logged days for my 360 days experience and took the CG administered test. This was back when they still had actual CG examinations and it wasn't all contracted to schools. The Federal government saw fit to issue me a 50 ton inland license with a towing endorsement (the supplemental towing exam was the easiest bit). I have long since sold that trawler and downsized my boat to a 16ft rib. But I have taken required annual refreshers and drug tests to maintain my license. Could I hop on a tug to Ketchikan as a "master" and tow a barge up there? In theory yes, (the inside passage is "inland" waters ironically). I would be crazy to do it and nobody in their right mind would hire me for that position or even as a mate, not even as a deckhand (I don't have an AB).
    I do think I am probably one of a handful of the more capable dive skippers in Puget Sound at this time. The really good guy left the business, one other skipper is roughly like me but has a more capable boat and a nearshore license. Another is trying to sell his boat. Another boat went out of business because it could no longer pass its inspection. The other diver operators are capable but don't know about the especially challenging sites to put divers on them. I don't operate commercially whatsoever, I don't even take gas money.
    LetterBoy likes this.
  8. Hank49

    Hank49 Solo Diver

    Interesting thread. Great inputs.
    I have only operated my few different boats here in Belize. Have a captain’s license. Drove a boat to work. 25 miles round trip every day for a year and a half when we built the hatchery on Ambergris Caye.
    Mostly take my sons and friends out free dive spearing for the last 18 years.
    I make it a point to check the weather from at least three sites every day we go. But a few times, they didn’t predict some strong squalls.
    That’s the tests that taught me the most. One day my two year old son and wife were with me. Wild. Learning what the boat does in bigger waves, how well I can handle the boat, adrenaline pumping and thinking “not today betch.... not today” ..:)....and giving thanks when I put my foot on shore. Surfing and wave knowledge was beneficial in those conditions.
    Kind of like paddling out on a 4-6 foot day and all of a sudden a 12 foot set barrels through.
    Johnoly and LetterBoy like this.

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