Taking GPS coordinates of a site... captain's permission?

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yle

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A couple years ago I was on a dive boat in St Thomas. We had stopped there for the day on a cruise ship, and we booked our dives with a company that ran a small six-pack boat (instead of the 40-person cattle boat that usually services the ships.)

As we arrived at our first site, I pulled a GPS from my bag to record the coordinates. The mate nearly flipped out and gave me a lecture on GPS etiquette: that divers should always ask the captain's permission before recording GPS coordinates because the crew's livelihood depends on their dive sites. He implied that the location of the dive sites was proprietary knowledge, and that if I were to pull out a GPS unit at some places in the Caribbean the crew would confiscate it and throw it overboard.

I was a bit surprised by this and thanked him for the information. I didn't engage him in further conversation because part of me thought that what he said made sense... and part of me thought the guy was crazy. Either way, asking for clarification wouldn't have been useful.

But yesterday I pulled out my GPS unit to pack for my dive trip this week, and I was reminded of this incident. So I figured I should get a broader perspective on the situation. A few questions for all of you:

1. If a dive site is not secret or proprietary, i.e. if it's shown on a Franko's map and is one that is commonly visited by tourists every day, does the captain really want every diver with a GPS unit asking for personal permission to use it?

2. If a dive op is planning to take divers to a secret location that only that dive op knows about, would they mention this in the dive briefing, or even before the boat left the dock?

3. Is there a lucrative market for GPS coordinate information? (If so, please connect me... I'll secretly record coordinates of every site and sell them to the highest bidder.)

3. Was this guy a bit nutty? Or am I completely clueless about GPS etiquette? Or maybe a little of both?

Thanks for your input. I've never had anyone pay attention to my GPS unit before, and I know plenty of others I've dived with have used them, but I'll defer to the broader experience of ScubaBoard members.
 

PfcAJ

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Ask permission. Even if it's "on the map", it might be inaccurate. Can't say if its lucrative or not, but many dive sites are fishin' spots, and that can really rustle some jimmies.

Most importantly, its just polite to ask. Some captains care, some probably don't. If they don't, there's no harm in asking. But taking w/o asking can be perceived as quite rude.
 

Akimbo

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... The mate nearly flipped out and gave me a lecture on GPS etiquette: that divers should always ask the captain's permission before recording GPS coordinates because the crew's livelihood depends on their dive sites...

Given the abundance of GPS-enabled multifunction devices… good luck with that. It’s one thing if they request that you do not record it, which would then be a breach of trust.

…Most importantly, its just polite to ask. Some captains care, some probably don't. If they don't, there's no harm in asking. But taking w/o asking can be perceived as quite rude.

Agreed. However, that bit of etiquette has become as outdated as asking for a hand in marriage. Nice, but unreasonable to expect in an age where recording only requires a push of a button on a cell phone or similar size device.
 

Wayne at DiveSeekers

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Our captains locally (NJ) do not want you locking in GPS coordinates when on their boat. They view it as that is their business/income, they put the time and effort in to find/get to the wreck and that is it. Information is out there, it is up to you to put the time in, find the coordinates, get in your boat and actually find and tie into the wreck/site. Some of the sites we dive are well known (we get there and tied in quickly) others aren't so to hit those uncommon or virgin wrecks is great and that's why I pay to go on the boat.
 

Tigerman

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Um, if they dont want me to log coordinates, are they gonna deny me to bring my phone in my bag because it has a GPS unit?
dont think Id use an op like that tbh..
 

nimoh

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If they don't want you to record GPS coordinates, they should ask you to sign an agreement indicating the rules, giving you the choice of whether to go on the dive or not. When on the boat about to dive is the wrong time for the crew to inform you that they don't allow it.
 

Zieg

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If they don't want you to record GPS coordinates, they should ask you to sign an agreement indicating the rules, giving you the choice of whether to go on the dive or not. When on the boat about to dive is the wrong time for the crew to inform you that they don't allow it.

Do the casinos ask you to sign an agreement to not count cards?
 

Tigerman

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Do the casinos ask you to sign an agreement to not count cards?
Not really quite the same.
Everyone know that casinos frown on it and will kick you out of the casino (which is all they can do as its not illegal), while a captain may or may not care about wether or not you log your movements on a GPS..

Also, of course the casino has to actually catch/suspect you first..
 

nimoh

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Do the casinos ask you to sign an agreement to not count cards?

totally different thing. I don't pay anything to go into the casino, and they can ask me to leave at any time without me being out any money (other than what I have gambled away).
 

DiveNav

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Ask ... but remind them that:

a) a lot of dive logging programs come with GPS info of dive sites (we do have coordinates for ~2,000 dive sites in our database ....

b) some dive sites have bathymetric maps

c) some dive sites are even available in 3D

Alberto (aka eDiver)
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/peregrine/

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