Saw a new dive charter today.

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Wookie

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Thanks to @Divin'Papaw for diving with me yesterday honestly that was the best part of the day. I am going to add some of my thoughts to Jim's review below adding my view to his excellent points.

1. Spot on! Talk about a cattle boat, getting from the shaded seats to the swim deck was like going through a cattle chute. Also no storage space at all under most of the seating.
2. What else can I say here except that is just plain negligent\stupid! I did see the DM count people but if your count is short how do you know who is missing.
3. I wonder here if the DM actually had any familiarity with the first site ( Sea Emperor/Aqua Zoo) guessing not. The dockside briefing was as Jim said minimal it was like he was just checking of a box "safety brief" done. Oh they did also say no Deco dives I will give them that but that is the only thing I will give them.
4. Yep what got me on this also was this statement "just swim west you will find it' that is not a briefing. I attribute this to an inexperienced captain who doesn't know the area. That is no excuse though reading the depth finder would show you the bottom contours oh and depth. I also feel it is irresponsible to drop divers in the water on a second dive that is way deeper than the water on the first dive site(70').
5. Again back to the DM's familiarity with the site did he have any? As for the current I believe I heard him say it was "ripping" well if you have ever dove down here you know what a ripping current is and that current was not it! I think it was said as an excuse as to his inability to tie off and maybe for the group we had on the boat from out of the area who had not dove in currents like they can get here.

Ok now a couple of notes of my own.
1. The boat owner: He has a bad rep down here from most things I have heard. Yesterday just affirmed my own experience with him 6 years ago that I alluded to earlier in the thread. I won't go into details of it but let's say I almost gave up diving because of him. I decided to give "him" a second chance like I do with most businesses but he won't get a third!
2. There was no gear rinse station at the dock (unless I missed it).

In closing let's just say I will not be diving with them again especially after Jim told me I was ready to graduate to diving in Jupiter.
It’s fair to not dive with them again, especially after your second bad experience, but to throw out inflammatory words like negligent and stupid is a little over the top, and your report doesn’t (yet) rise to that level IMO.

I have been a boat DM and an excellent liveaboard captain for 30 years, and I could not tie into whatever wreck you said you were at, and sometimes you just miss the drop.

Did anyone explain the importance of a muster after boarding but before boat movement to the captain and DM? Did anyone explain how Captain Kyaa lost her license? Did anyone tell the DM how to jump a wreck? I don’t necessarily mean you, but if you and PawPaw have experience on this wreck, maybe the DM could have used words of advice and encouragement instead of grumbling and unhappiness (and believe me, you don’t need to be told that a diver is unhappy, you know it by unspoken communications).

Again, I don’t know the boat and I’m not likely to find out, as I dive with JDC when I’m in that part of Florida. I think that negligent and stupid are big words to use here, unless, of course, you did try to explain DM etiquette and were rebuffed.
 

johndiver999

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How many DM's and captain's are going to readily accept advice about "better ways to do things" while on the water and during the dive trip?

I might be a wise-ass and yell out - "hey capt. you missed my name on the roll call"... as he pops it in gear and leaves the site, but tell the crew exactly how to do something, when they are failing to do it, presumably within earshot of other customers (on a crowded boat) would be a tough sell.

So what do you do when the captain says this is a 50-60 foot dive and he drops you in 90 feet (in an area with gradually sloping bottom)? Perhaps: "hey captain, is you depth recorder busted? - you can use it to figure out how deep the water is".. I doubt that would work.

I think keeping your mouth shut on board when you see multiple indications of ineptness (or incompetence) and just providing a fair reporting of the situation afterwards on social media, should be enough for the operator/owner to get the picture- if they care.

Not sure if I could bite my tongue in a situation such as this (if accurately described); but I honestly doubt taking the time to explain exactly what they are doing wrong and exactly how to do it right would generate an optimal outcome. It sounds like a clown show.
 

CosbySweater

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It’s fair to not dive with them again, especially after your second bad experience, but to throw out inflammatory words like negligent and stupid is a little over the top, and your report doesn’t (yet) rise to that level IMO.

I have been a boat DM and an excellent liveaboard captain for 30 years, and I could not tie into whatever wreck you said you were at, and sometimes you just miss the drop.

Did anyone explain the importance of a muster after boarding but before boat movement to the captain and DM? Did anyone explain how Captain Kyaa lost her license? Did anyone tell the DM how to jump a wreck? I don’t necessarily mean you, but if you and PawPaw have experience on this wreck, maybe the DM could have used words of advice and encouragement instead of grumbling and unhappiness (and believe me, you don’t need to be told that a diver is unhappy, you know it by unspoken communications).

Again, I don’t know the boat and I’m not likely to find out, as I dive with JDC when I’m in that part of Florida. I think that negligent and stupid are big words to use here, unless, of course, you did try to explain DM etiquette and were rebuffed.
How is it appropriate for a paying customer to have to tell a DM and captain how to run a deck safely? The answer to this whole situation is not to attempt to provide advice to a bad captain and crew, the answer is to take your business else where, let other divers know about unsafe operators, and let the market figure out the rest.
 

Manatee Diver

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How many DM's and captain's are going to readily accept advice about "better ways to do things" while on the water and during the dive trip?

Yeah that has been my experience. They will sometimes take little bits of advice, but major changes. Many will just argue with you. So I found it easier to just vote with my feet.
 

Divin'Papaw

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WooHoo (I love Racks!!)....Lots of changes from their 1st start. Originally they only had seats under cover because it was an 'un-inspected' 6 pack boat and I could understand that center seat configuration. But now it looks like it's an 'inspected' boat so more divers. But I agree the outside seating configuration no longer makes sense.

They are technically allowed 18, they sell 16 seats, and our charter had 13. I can’t imagine being on that boat with 16 in rough seas. We had 13 and the weather was nice so 3-5 people were typically on the bow. With 16 and no one on the bow you literally would have NO PLACE to move.
 

Ana

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Every time I read one of these threads I feel more blessed to have my own boat and not have to put up with some to the ops in the area.
I was thinking that when I read the report.

Granted, having DMs/deckhands who don't talk to me or touch my stuff sounds like the type of operation I would like... until they left my behind in the water because don't notice I didn't come on board... oh well, places they go have plenty of other boats to rescue a diver (or run him over), one could also start swimming to shore eventually end up in Palm Beach or Miami-Dade depending on the current.
I see this boat very often, either coming or going, or tied at their dock. They do seem crowded but so are the other charters I see. The colors of the haul are visually pleasant so it is a good boat to see.

I'd say Miss Conduct with Conrad is the only charter I see with a reasonable amount of divers on board. From my days of using charters in the 90's I always enjoyed Diversity with Tony Coulter, I still hear him in the radio every so often, used to respect the fact he wouldn't go out if conditions were rough, don't know if he still has that philosophy.
 

Divin'Papaw

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I see this boat very often, either coming or going, or tied at their dock. They do seem crowded but so are the other charters I see. The colors of the haul are visually pleasant so it is a good boat to see.

The charters that run the larger Newtons aren't bad at all even with alot of divers. This boat (AquaLife) was just very tough to move around on, very tough. I'm gravitating more and more to using JDC and Pura Vida both due to their competence and the fact that you can still move around on the boat pretty well even if they are full.

From my days of using charters in the 90's I always enjoyed Diversity with Tony Coulter, I still hear him in the radio every so often, used to respect the fact he wouldn't go out if conditions were rough, don't know if he still has that philosophy.

The one time I used Diversity I found the boat quite cramped honestly and the boat wasn't full. I'll take the larger Newtons full up any day over a full load on Tony's boat. Also Tony doesn't go out when the conditions are "rough" because he CAN'T go out due to the size of his boat and the fact that he uses the Boca inlet. But regardless Tony is a very experienced, highly competent Captain that is for sure.
 

Manatee Diver

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This boat (AquaLife) was just very tough to move around on, very tough.

Instead of having the entire center area that can be shared, you have two separate areas, and the additional gunnel area that is normally incorporated as part of the tank racks taking up space.

Just a poor design, whoever thought it was a good idea was mistaken.
 

Divin'Papaw

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Instead of having the entire center area that can be shared, you have two separate areas, and the additional gunnel area that is normally incorporated as part of the tank racks taking up space.

Just a poor design, whoever thought it was a good idea was mistaken.

Yesterday I dove with Pura Vida on Aurelia with 14 divers plus 2 crew and it was night and day compared to AquaLife with 13 plus 1 crew. Now it is a bigger boat for sure but the main difference was the layout. There was so much space for moving about. I will try not to take that for granted again.
 
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