Question Planning a Florida Vacation.

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Rob9876

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IMHO,, the key's will get you exactly the same experience you just had,, except it will cost you 50% more.
From my prior trip planning (booked and then cancelled 2 trips to Key Largo because of Covid) it seems like the diving in Key Largo was actually a good percentage cheaper ($80-90 per 2-tank dive including air tanks, nitrox upgrades cheaper, etc.).

Do you mean overall with lodging and food? Hotels in Key Largo did seem more expensive, and AirBnBs were not very numerous and pricey.
 

Teufel4K

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I always stay in Florida City/Homestead. For the price of one night in Key Largo I can usually stay up north for 2-3 nights.
 

Johnoly

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Do you mean overall with lodging and food?
Yes,
Don't get me wrong, I love the keys.
 

drrich2

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Diver don't seem to understand the significance of the dive briefing. Too many divers showing their SPG to the guide, asking if they should surface. This was after folks were told repeated to come up when you have about 900-1000 left in your tank and have 500 left when you get back in the boat.

Did six trips with PV, they run a good operation.

Betweeen WPB & Jupiter, there are about 18 different dive boats. Each of them does different types of dives and they each cater to different levels of experience.
I've been thinking over these statements. Sometimes people just don't respect processes and procedures that are important, but sometimes there's a bit more to it. A few general observations about dive boat briefings (note: I've never dove with PV; I've been to Jupiter to dive twice, Key Largo once, never WPB or Boyton Beach).

1.) Earlier in my diving, briefings were sometimes given when there was considerable noise (e.g.: boat motor running en route to dive site).

2.) Fairly new divers may not be confident in their ability to get set up and squared away quickly enough, and may be unsure just how much time they've got left, so they may be trying to set up and listen at the same time.

3.) Some people are visual learners and don't retain what they're told orally well, even if they try.

4.) Some people can read or hear a fairly complex 'lesson' once and retain it well for awhile; other people need to 'take notes' and study it, repeating it in their mind. Example: some people you can give oral driving directions on how to get somewhere once, and some people you have to draw a map with topographical features and it'll still be nerve-wracking for them.

5.) A common admonition is if you don't understand something, speak up and ask. Problem: you might not understand or retain it the 2nd time, don't want to hold the boat up, and once you've been told twice, you'd better know it (but maybe still don't understand). Human nature and experience don't always agree with theoretical logic.

The good news is, it gets better. Early in my diving, I respected and tried to listen to and retain dive briefings, but got little from them and basically followed the leader and communicated when my gas was low (note: I did make a point of committing their instructions on gas management to memory). The more consistently familiar I got with gear setup and common dive boat routines, the less mental bandwidth was diverted to routine, so I could focus on the briefing and retain info. better.

My impression of the diving at Jupiter Dive Center and Emerald Charters was that it was mainly for intermediate divers who are already 'dialed in' that way.

@MudBug Did it seem to you there were a substantial number of fairly new divers on board, or did those not following briefing directives seem pretty seasoned otherwise?

@Johnoly In case newer divers run across this thread, do you know of any boats in that area that cater quite a bit to 'newbies?'

I don't want to oversell the issue; it's just that the level of nannying sometimes seen at mainstream touristy dive destinations isn't as common at others - in my limited experience Jupiter, Morehead City NC and a liveaboard to California's Channel Islands were 'others.'
 

Johnoly

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@Johnoly In case newer divers run across this thread, do you know of any boats in that area that cater quite a bit to 'newbies?'
I think it's not just the boat name, but also the day of week( and time). An example would be Narcosis in WPB who during the week will run the boat in 5-7ft rough seas, drop me in 100ft deep on a known shark haven and will chase down my fish bag I've floated to the surface so it(or me) doesn't get bit. But the same boat on Saturday & Sunday mornings are typically easier & shallower dives and spearguns are discouraged on those trips. Almost ALL the 18+ passengers charters in WPB & JUP boats will run this way.

The best part is that most list what type of dive they are doing on their website calendars these days. I've been scolded by 'nancy-nubie' before who reminds me to 'Leave only bubbles & take only pictures' when cleaning up lionfish. That's usually my own fault for not checking the calendar in advance.
 

Divin'Papaw

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I've been thinking over these statements. Sometimes people just don't respect processes and procedures that are important, but sometimes there's a bit more to it. A few general observations about dive boat briefings (note: I've never dove with PV; I've been to Jupiter to dive twice, Key Largo once, never WPB or Boyton Beach).

1.) Earlier in my diving, briefings were sometimes given when there was considerable noise (e.g.: boat motor running en route to dive site).

2.) Fairly new divers may not be confident in their ability to get set up and squared away quickly enough, and may be unsure just how much time they've got left, so they may be trying to set up and listen at the same time.

3.) Some people are visual learners and don't retain what they're told orally well, even if they try.

4.) Some people can read or hear a fairly complex 'lesson' once and retain it well for awhile; other people need to 'take notes' and study it, repeating it in their mind. Example: some people you can give oral driving directions on how to get somewhere once, and some people you have to draw a map with topographical features and it'll still be nerve-wracking for them.

5.) A common admonition is if you don't understand something, speak up and ask. Problem: you might not understand or retain it the 2nd time, don't want to hold the boat up, and once you've been told twice, you'd better know it (but maybe still don't understand). Human nature and experience don't always agree with theoretical logic.

The good news is, it gets better. Early in my diving, I respected and tried to listen to and retain dive briefings, but got little from them and basically followed the leader and communicated when my gas was low (note: I did make a point of committing their instructions on gas management to memory). The more consistently familiar I got with gear setup and common dive boat routines, the less mental bandwidth was diverted to routine, so I could focus on the briefing and retain info. better.

My impression of the diving at Jupiter Dive Center and Emerald Charters was that it was mainly for intermediate divers who are already 'dialed in' that way.

@MudBug Did it seem to you there were a substantial number of fairly new divers on board, or did those not following briefing directives seem pretty seasoned otherwise?

@Johnoly In case newer divers run across this thread, do you know of any boats in that area that cater quite a bit to 'newbies?'

I don't want to oversell the issue; it's just that the level of nannying sometimes seen at mainstream touristy dive destinations isn't as common at others - in my limited experience Jupiter, Morehead City NC and a liveaboard to California's Channel Islands were 'others.'

All good points @drrich2. PV is one of the best boats in Palm Beach County with respect to their briefings. They ensure that they are done when it is quiet, everyone is strongly encouraged to listen and they will "call out" people who are talking or being distracting during the briefings, and they are almost always very clear, descriptive, and they encourage clarification of any questions.

Also, on PV, you get fully setup in the harbor before leaving the dock. Only for those rude divers who arrive extremely late, everyone is setup before the boat pulls away. Also, the safety briefing is given in the intracoastal before hitting the open ocean and when the boat is moving through a no-wake zone so the noise is minimal. The dive site briefings are given just before each dive at the dive site with the boat in idle to minimize the noise.
 

CosbySweater

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The issue of the dive briefing has less to do with the operator and more to do with the individual diver. On all boats I frequent in Jupiter and WPB (JDC, ScubaWorks, Narcosis, PVD), you are given ample time to set up your gear and get squared away before the boat leaves the dock. If you show up 5-minutes before "go-time" that's on you. All operators provide clear and detailed briefings - with visuals. Briefings are done at the dock, in the ICW, or at the dive site when the boat is in idle. If you choose not to pay attention, again that's on you.

I frequently take notes for new dive sites (it's how I learned to find the spud barge North of the Danny and the triangle wrecks south of the inlet). I also ask questions when I need to. Never have I ever been dismissed or otherwise not given the opportunity to ask questions. If you choose not to take notes, draw a map of the dive site on your slate, or ask questions, that's on you.

It's really the divers responsibility to pay attention and retain the information in a way that works for them. In my experience with the operators listed above, the info is there and consistently delivered in a digestible format. If you choose to not to take it and make it work for your learning style.....that's on you. Unfortunately, it happens to new and seasoned divers alike....myself included on rare occasions :banghead:
 

RyanT

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@Johnoly In case newer divers run across this thread, do you know of any boats in that area that cater quite a bit to 'newbies?'
When I've been on Pura Vida's boats, they usually put a DM in the water that divers can follow. The DMs have always been really friendly; I'm sure they wouldn't mind a new diver sticking close to them on the dive.
 
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MudBug

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@MudBug Did it seem to you there were a substantial number of fairly new divers on board, or did those not following briefing directives seem pretty seasoned otherwise?
Drrich2,

I have not made a lot of boat dives in a number of years so my observations may not be the best.
There were several newer divers on each of the dives, and the ones I witnessed having others make their air decisions for them were ones I had noted as newer. They seemed to be paying attention at the dive briefing.

One habit I have when diving with a group is to observe the other divers a bit. I try to pick out one or two that seem to be fumbling a bit or unsure of themselves. Then while diving I keep an eye on them if I can and just be ready if they need anything. I make sure my 2nd regulator is close at hand. I'm a bit of a "mother hen".

Years ago on one dive a kept a first timer under watch. I had to herd them a bit as they getting outside the range where they could see the other divers. I'm certain if I had not done this they would have become separated.
 
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MudBug

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When I've been on Pura Vida's boats, they usually put a DM in the water that divers can follow. The DMs have always been really friendly; I'm sure they wouldn't mind a new diver sticking close to them on the dive.
Having done my dives with PV I can attest to this above statement.
 
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