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Tips for managing Dive Flags?

Discussion in 'New Divers & Those Considering Diving' started by kelemvor, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    I was recently certified, and did my first post certification dive in an easy spot that I knew since one of the cert dives was there. Rainbow River / K.P. Hole (Florida). This was my first time carrying the dive flag. Everything went pretty well with one exception. The dive flag and line leading up to it seemed like a big hassle to manage. I wouldn't say it ruined the dive because we still had a great time, came back safe etc... it definitely made things less enjoyable because at least 3 times I got tangled in the line and my buddy had to help me get it straightened out.

    Is this something that I just have to learn to get better at managing over time, or is there some way I could do it better and make it easier?

    I was using a flag and holder similar to the ones pictured below. The dive shop (Bill Jackson's) recommended and sold both to me. They love it when I spend money there so I am assuming if there was a better (read: more expensive) option they would probably have shown it to me.

  2. Brewski

    Brewski Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Alaska / Florida / In the air between the two.
    You'll get more comfortable carrying the flag over time. but let me ask you about technique. how were you carrying the spool? was it in you hand or clipped off? You really shouldn't have it clipped off. I try to keep it in the hand away from my buddy ( buddy left side, spool right) I also try to keep the line manged during depth changes. IE take up line as I ascend, pay out line on descents. I am guessing if you have issues with entanglement you may be leaving too much slack in the line.
  3. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Woof! ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    heck, throw in trying to do some video, a 3 kt current, and 10' vis (that was yesterday for me).....

    It gets better with practice. Spend money on diving, not duplicating gear. What you have works.
  4. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    Also, I have recently been holding the handle straight out to the side. I know this creates more drag, but the flag does by itself anyway. I have the same handle as you. I have also ordered a collapsable snorkel, as the line would get caught on that.
  5. kelemvor

    kelemvor Big Fleshy Monster ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Largo, FL USA
    Thanks for the quick replies! Yes, I had the top of the handle clipped. Next time I won't do that. I like the prescription for practice, because it's fun to do!

    As you guessed, depth changes are where I had the problems. Usually after we came up a few feet to move downriver some.
  6. OldNSalty

    OldNSalty Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Just this side of paradise.
    Depending on the terrain you could find a spot to 'anchor' the flag and leave it be until the end of the dive. If you are staying in one general area that works fine.

    I just saw that you are diving in a river...never mind then, what I said may not work.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2012
  7. Boardndave

    Boardndave Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Minnesota & Kansas
    I've dove with several different flags. Most are a pain, but the best advice (as others have mentioned) is to take up slack when in shallower water. A taught line is generally quite easy to manage.
  8. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999

    WRONG! the best advice is to have your buddy carry the float...:D
  9. TMHeimer

    TMHeimer Divemaster

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Dartmouth,NS,Canada(Eastern Passage-Atlantic)
    When doing this be sure you don't pull the flag underwater.
  10. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
    Flags do nothing to make your dive more enjoyable but they can be managed to not be a total downer.

    As mentioned, never clip it to yourself and if you hear a boat nearby make sure it's clear of your fins and lighten your grip just in case.

    I carry it on the right with my arm fairly outstretched. With practice you will learn to keep your fins out of the line on left hand turns.

    Stay with polypropylene rope so it will tend to stay above you. I like to add about 50% in excess of dept for a neutral feel. I have a section of the rope taped red at 15 feet as a reference.

    My winder is equipped with a lead weight that is just enough to make it barely negative when full. (1/2 copper pipe ~8" long, filled with melted lead) If we need to go up I drop the keeper and follow the line to the buoy. If we get hit somone has some splaining to do.

    I also have a mesh sack stowed on it that can accept a grapefruit sized stone. If I want to leave it whele we play in an area adding the rock anchors it well.

    If navigation matters have someone else deal with the flag. The pull of the flag especially in wind or current can cause you to add an arc to your path even if you swim dead ahead.

    I keep meaning to do a feature on the gadget, it works well for me.

    DukeAMO likes this.

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