How to get invited back

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tekkydiver

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In South Florida and the Keys, the best way to enjoy the reefs and wrecks is to dive on a private vessel.

So as a boat owner, who frequently dives with friends and occasionally friends of friends, and sometimes want to open a vein than spend another second with some interesting passengers, here are a few do's and dont's which will give you a better-than-average chance of being invited back.

1. BE ON TIME. nuff said. If you are meeting at a home where the boat is docked, car pool if possible. Generally the fewer cars at the house the better.

2. Don't board until you are asked.... wait for the capt. before you grab a line. If you are not sure, ask.... please ask.

3. Don't expect the captain to lug your gear. The capt. more than likely has his stuff on board and the boat ready. You and other invited guests load the boat. The capt. will tell you where to stow gear. Don't BS around, we want to get going. If you have questions, ask.....please ask.

4. Don't come empty handed. Unless you are told otherwise, drinks, snacks etc... are your responsibility. You don't need to provide a gourmet dinner.... just don't cheap out and show up with an opened bag of chips and half a gatorade.

5. Make sure your gear is in working order the night before. If you have any doubts, go to a local dive shop and rent what you may need. Don't expect the Capt. or other passengers to lend you gear. The thinking is that if you can't keep your stuff working, I don't want you using mine.

6. Bring your own spare o-rings, weights and mask defog.

7. The capt. should give you instruction where to get your gear together. If you are not sure, ask... please ask.

8. Okay, we're heading out.... please don' tell the capt. what the boat needs. My guess he is well aware of how the vessel is equipped and what other options are available.

9. Please don't "suggest" any operating assistance to the captain (at least until you are asked or have earned credibility as a regular crew member. Not that you may have valid suggestions, but things are learned and implemented over time. Get a little experience with the vessel and personalities, otherwise you come across as a know-it-all. If we wanted to dive with the "experts", we would just go on the cattle boats.

10. Follow any instructions regarding diving. This is your first trip just bear with it. If you can't live with it, feign a headache and decline to dive. That means if you dived with Cousteau we really don't care. It is your first time aboard making you a rookie. An experienced capt. will recognize your dive qualifications by your behavior. He will accommodate your ability as he deems reasonable.

11. Thank the capt. on the way in. Be appreciative. DO NOT ASK IF YOU CAN HELP WITH GAS. Fuel is $4.50 a gallon on the water. Of course you can. Most vessels over 28 ft get 1.0 -2.5 miles/gallon when running at speed. Not to mention oil for 2 strokes, maintenance etc... I would say just give the capt. 30 dollars for a local trip. You are still way ahead compared to going on a cattle boat. You might even get some back. Once you are a regular crew member, the capt. might not even take money.I can tell you the owner never makes money taking friends out on a boat. They truly are money pits. The fact is the owner is going whether you are along or not. Your money is more a sign of appreciation than anything else. (This doesn't apply for keys or bahamas trips where expenses will be split accordingly.)

12. The trip doesn't end at the dock. Again.... don't ask if you can help with the boat, rather ask, "Where is the deck brush and soap?" or something like that. Usually a genuine offer to help is more than enough.

13. Tell the capt. you enjoyed it and would like to go again. If you don't get a call, figure you were a blind date that went bad. If you get the call... congratulations.... you made the cut!

14. The idea is to have fun..... no one wants to be Capt. Bligh. So if you are not sure just ask.... please ask.

15. BTW if you are a regular and you dive all year and don't pay for gas, and want to show your appreciation, it would be a nice gesture for the group chip in to get the boat professionally detailed once a year. It would knock the captains socks off. Make sure you can access the boat without getting in trouble.

Happy New Year and Be Safe!
 
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clownfishsydney

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Excellent post. I would also say do not pull out of a dive trip at short notice unless there are very good reasons. A good reason is not "it's my wife's birthday and we are going to lunch". You should have known this before saying you would come.

Today I was going to take my boat out (did not in the end due to poor weather) and when I emailed members of our club I got enough takers to fill two boats. If one person I say can comes pulls out the night before for a poor reason, it is possible at such a late notice I cannot replace them. This has two effects, one is a person who wanted to dive misses out (one I had knocked back previously). Second, if I had a small boat where a full boat is required for safety purposes (eg 4 so that 2 dive and 2 watch boat), then we are down to 3 which is a problem (not a problem for me as we take 6 on a normal dive).

There are a number of members I will automatically tell the boat is full as they are so unreliable. I only accept them if there is no other person wanting to go.

Also, for trailable boats, you need to assist with launching and retrieving the boat. If you do not know how, watch and ask questions and learn what to do.
 

captmike

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Tekky, thanks for a very good post. Just retired 2nd time and now time to get back in shape and hope to dive in south FL again soon. Have boat up here on Lake Michigan and your pointers are ones I will refer to.
 

grey2112

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I'd say to cough up $50 instead of $30. Fuel is even MORE expensive now, and there is maintenance, things always break on boats, if he trailers it there is the cost of gas for the truck, etc. You are STILL way ahead of what you'd pay for a charter.
 
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Eric Sedletzky

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When I had a boat I had more negative experiences with invited people than not.
I finally got rid of it since I determined it wasn't worth the all the work just to get in a few dives where I dive. Between all the fuel for towing and the boat, maintenance, registration, insurance, etc. and crappy people that want to go out on it then bail when it's time to clean it up, track sand and crap all in it, laugh off your personal boat rules, don't offer to help with expenses when the diving isn't just fantastic with 80 foot vis and stellar conditions. I finally got worn down and since I was always leary of solo diving off it, I finally just parked it because I couldn't afford the boat and all the idiots that wanted to go out on it.
The two happiest days of owning a boat are the day you buy it (or launch it in my case since I built it) and the day you sell it.
I'm a lot happier now that I just solo shore dive and use my kayak.
But then in my back yard I can do that. Some places where the diving is all offshore that isn't an option.
 

grey2112

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I've been very lucky so far in that almost all of the people I've invited have chipped in money and time and sweat after the dive. The few people who haven't weren't invited back. A few times I've told first-timers that the first ride out is free, but I use it as a way of testing to see what they do during and after the ride. Those who offer to chip in anyways, or who work hard to help clean things up, etc. get invited back. I generally find that most current and former boat owners are the best passengers - they've been there, done that.

Almost every day of boat ownership, for me, is the best day. I will be VERY sad when eventually I sell my boat.
 

deeper thoughts

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great points! "DO NOT ASK IF YOU CAN HELP WITH GAS. Fuel is $4.50 a gallon on the water. Of course you can. Most vessels over 28 ft get 1.0 -2.5 miles/gallon when running at speed".

I wish, I just paid 5.79 a gallon
 

Tom Winters

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We just sold our boat after owning it for about 10 years. It was a 30' center console on a triple-axle trailer parked next to the house. I had a couple of problems with other people on the boat.
Spearguns didn't work on the boat for me. I did charters and drove boats in Hawaii for 20 years without having spearguns on board. No one wanted to freedive and shoot. My rationale was that I was an old-school diver, and waaaaay back when, spearing was only done freediving. No one ever wanted to go out into the Gulf Stream in 12,000 feet and see what we could chum up.
The second problem was the amount of tonnage that people would bring on the boat. We were just going out for a few dives and then a libation break in Lake Boca, not going to Ecuador for 10 days.
Another problem was the prep and cleanup. I had this down to a science and most of the time, I just did it alone. So when people helped, they kinda slowed me down, although any helped with the tanks was ok.
The final straw was that I just got too bored waiting for other people in the water. When I was a captain, the waiting was ok since I had plenty of stuff to do - prepping snacks and lunch and straightening the mess on the boat - one of my Hawaiian boats could run with 24 divers and there would be stuff everywhere.
On this last boat, I couldn't get all that comfortable with a leaning post. I was going to redo the interior and put in some nice Pompanette helm seats, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions and it never got done.
If we had kept the boat, I was thinking of just hiring a captain to drive it so I wouldn't have to sit in the thing with other divers down. My wife looked at me like I was crazy, which is a recurring possibility, but it made perfect sense to me. That and some really nice Silent Submersion scooters.
Oh yeah... one other thing... when it was just the two of us out there, I pretty much didn't have to bother with inconveniences like clothes and swimsuits.
The gas money thing...when I retired from the dive biz, I pretty much retired pretty comfortably, and it always felt awkward accepting gas money. What's enough and what's too little? It was easier for me to just not deal with it, even on a boat with a 278-gallon gas tank. Refueling was always a royal PITA. At a gas station, I took up one whole side of pumps and maneuvering could start approaching "interesting". Doing it at the house was ok - but it just added another hour to the process.
So reading this, I see that the biggest problem on the boat was me. Just too many years of doing it my way in the Navy and then the private sector.
The idea of detailing the boat for a boat bud is one of the better, more cogent ideas posted on this board. It would be pretty damn hard NOT to take someone out who did that for ya.
I gotta say that the biggest thing that I miss about the boat was the ease of getting onto the roof to pressure wash it and do maintenance on the pool solar heating panels up there. With the boat gone, I have to do the ladder shuffle all over again.
But anyway, the boat is gone and on the way to Tobago. Selling the boat was not a happy day, but having the side of the house back was not so bad.
Next boat.... might be a power cat... might be a cruising trawler.
 

Johnoly

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.... just don't cheap out and show up with an opened bag of chips and half a gatorade.....

I know its an older post, but just one tip to help "guest divers"

No one every got kicked off a dive boat for bringing a box of chilled Chicken Wings from the grocery store to share with other divers on ANY dive boat, even in the winter time.
 
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