Towable Dive Sled

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Kent, WA
# of dives
500 - 999
I want to build a dive sled that can be towed behind a boat. It could be simple or complex with spare tank and sheild. I want to know if anyone has experience with any towable type dive platform or sled?

I drew up a concept a number of years ago, for tow sled made from 8 inch dia pvc drain pipe. The cylindrical shape should make it tow straight. I sized it about 7- 8 ft long.
Tow rope would connected to an eye bolt thru the top of the tube wall at the front end.
There would be an adjustable pair of dive planes on the front connected to a joy stick to control depth .and fixed rudder and ailerons would help keep it towing straight.

Kind of like riding a sonar tow fish with depth control.

There was a large D handle by the joysick to hold onto, and the diver lays on top and stradles the tube with his butt up against a saddle.

An angled deflector screen coulld be placed infront of the diver to reduce water forces on him.

Roll would be controlled by the divers fins.

Mike D
I have probably 100 hours on a tow sled. We made dozens years ago (Underwater World 1968 - 1978) and used them a lot.

We found many wreckages (as opposed to wrecks) in Tobermory using tow sleds. Some of the guys built very interesting sleds that would almost carry the diver along on a seat and that broke down to fit into a car trunk but the most popular was a 2' by 4' piece of plywood. You put 2 handholds near the edge and 1/3 the way down the short side (when you hold it it is 4' wide across your body).
The tow rope MUST be very long (100'+) and the boat MUST go very slow. Make a rope 'Y' with a ring or loop at the y and tie the loose ends to a hole on each side of the tow very slightly behind the handholes. That way you can hold the tow level and turn it up or down to rise or descend. Turns are managed by tilting and using your fins. If the rope is tied to the front edge of the tow, you cannot lift or lower it.

Couple of more tips:
Wear a good suit. You are down longer than normal 'cause you don't use much air plus you always have cold water coming at you.
Get a computer or watch your gauges very carefully. Contary to popular old wives tale, you can exceed your NDL on one tank when you're not working hard.
You cannot let go or even turn your head to check your gear or gauges. Hold the console under one thumb so you can read it without turning your head.
If you see something or are about to hit something, simply let go. You stop almost instantly because of the water resistance and the boat operator will feel that you've let go too so he can come around for you. Even a big boat (Mamie, Lark, etc) can really feel the difference when you're no longer on the line.

That's enough for this post. There's lots more and lots of funny stuff. That's one thing for sure -- tows are a lot of fun and there's no better way to see a lot of bottom.
My little "sub" had fixed tail fins, the 2 diving planes in the front were used to control depth & roll, you could even turn the thing a bit to the left & right by rolling to the side & pulling back on the 2 sticks. Worked very well except I had no ballast in it, it was negative & a fair amount of headway was needed before it got to flying. It also had a curved plexiglas screen (cut off the end of a broken boat windshield). You definately wanted to stay hunkered behind it while underway at about 3 kt. Tow line needed to be 3 - 4 times the water depth.
Thanks for the responce. I like the PVC idea. The flat board sounds simple enough too. Please send me any pictures or drawings.
I would like to hear more about pro's and cons to any design.
We used the plastic/plywood "dive plane" for scouting bug bottom, looking for holes, ledges, etc. Things would get tiring hanging on to the board for several hours at a pop so we'd make a little "T" seat from a piece of line & an 18" piece of 1-1/2" PVC, sit on the critter like a swing sort of, took the strain off the hands & arms.
I have one of the plastic slabs here yet (no handles), don't see them in the catalogs any more.
I'll fire up the camera tomorrow if I can find the batteries.
Thanks Bob3

If you send them to my E-mail directly, please indicate dive sled as title. I tend to delete most unwelcome mail or undisclosed sender.

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