Info What I do with my keys when I shore dive?

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Manatee Diver

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With the retirement of Generic Compact SUV 1.0 last month, I purchased Generic Compact SUV 2.0, this is the first time I've owned a "keyless" car. So I figured I would show people how I deal with the expensive keys that newer cars come with.

How to shore dive, and not have to worry about someone stealing your unlocked car...


First is a picture of common key types.
20211126_153046.jpg
Note: Keys shown are for Generic Compact SUV 1.0 which has been scrapped so I'm not worried about exposing them.

The top two are easy to deal with, just take them to a local locksmith and get a basic "valet" key for a few dollars. Locally it cost me $3 each.

But if you have a "keyless" car you still have a key, flip the key over and you often see a lever for to remove the manual key. Take that key to the locksmith and have a key made.
20211126_153111.jpg

One exception to this is a Tesla, I see reports about a RFID keycard. But I don't own one, so call Tesla.

Once you have your key, order a bolt snap and attach it to your basic key with a cave knot. You can probably create a necklace out of paracord if you don't have good pockets.
20211126_153130.jpg

Now to use, if you don't see keyhole, Google where it is on your car. Mine are right there in the open.

For me the first step is to check that my key is in my drysuit pocket, I then remove my electronic key from my keyring and pack it in a RFID blocking sleeve that I bought off Amazon. I then lock the door using the button on the door, and close it.

The RFID blocking sleeve is only required on keyless cars. If you car requires you to use the remote or the key you don't need one.
20211126_154819.jpg

I keep the sleeve with the key in it inside the door to keep it accessible because using the valet key sets the alarm off.
 

BlueTrin

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That’s a cool idea.

I take it that you are not parking in a place where it would be safe to use a lockbox?
 
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Manatee Diver

Manatee Diver

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That’s a cool idea.

I take it that you are not parking in a place where it would be safe to use a lockbox?

I don't like them, and it would need to be large enough for a RFID sleeve, which most aren't.
 

rx7diver

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I prefer to keep my key on my body, rather than on my dive gear--you know, in case I have to ditch my gear. When diving dry, I put my key in my drysuit underwear pocket. When diving wet, I wear my key around my neck on a shoelace shoved inside my wetsuit.

rx7diver
 

broncobowsher

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There are 3 levels of electronics in most of the smart keys. The clicky buttons of the traditional remote that works from several car lengths away and the proximity that lets you unlock the doors by pressing a button on the door (or even newer just a capacitive touch sensor on the handle). These are powered by a watch battery inside the remote.

But there is one more level. A passive RFID tag inside the key. If the watch battery is ever dead, you can use the mechanical key to unlock the door and the RFID can be read by the car. Most cars you place the fob (with RFID) next to the start button, but others have special places like a cubby in the dash or a special place in the center console. Instructions will be in the owner's manual.

Instead of an RFID bag, take the battery out. A plan for this if you do it often is to use the spare key and just leave the battery out the whole time and just use it for diving.

The physical key still gives you access to the vehicle, but the RFID will allow it to start. No remote and no proximity sensor. Now it is just a matter of having the RFID in a secure place. Being seriously short of range, typically just a few inches, it doesn't take much.
 

Bubblesong

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I leave a towel sticking out through closed door, so when I walk up to car, i dry off saltwater on the key before sticking it into the lock. Hoping to prevent corrosion that way.
 

BeamMeDownScottie

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My Jeep still uses a metal key. If you go to the hardware store and have them make a duplicate it will open your door BUT will not start the car because it needs to have the internal electronics (which you'd have to buy from a dealership for $$$). Anyway I usually wire this spare key somewhere under my chassis or under the hood. If I ever lock my keys in the car I just retrieve the dummy key and unlock it. (The alarm will sound but you just need to push the alarm button on the real key to stop it.).

So hide the real keys somewhere inside your vehicle while you shore dive. Use the hidden dummy to open it when you come back.
 

TMHeimer

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My Jeep still uses a metal key. If you go to the hardware store and have them make a duplicate it will open your door BUT will not start the car because it needs to have the internal electronics (which you'd have to buy from a dealership for $$$). Anyway I usually wire this spare key somewhere under my chassis or under the hood. If I ever lock my keys in the car I just retrieve the dummy key and unlock it. (The alarm will sound but you just need to push the alarm button on the real key to stop it.).

So hide the real keys somewhere inside your vehicle while you shore dive. Use the hidden dummy to open it when you come back.
Yeah, I thought of that when we got our first "chip" key car in about 2005. Problem is I don't want the alarm to sound if I open a door with an old metal key. Maybe someone thinks I'm stealing the car? One solution I thought about was a separate device thingy to operate the alarm only, and a traditional metal key. So you could hide the alarm one outside the car somewhere but take the metal one with you on the dive without fear of water affecting a chip. Wonder how much extra that would cost.
I've lost TWO chip keys over the years and paid ridiculous money for replacements-- not $2.50 for another old school metal key.
 

TMHeimer

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Yeah, I thought of that when we got our first "chip" key car in about 2005. Problem is I don't want the alarm to sound if I open a door with an old metal key. Maybe someone thinks I'm stealing the car? One solution I thought about was a separate device thingy to operate the alarm only, and a traditional metal key for the doors & ignition. So you could hide the alarm one outside the car somewhere but take the metal one with you on the dive without fear of water affecting a chip. Someone could find the alarm one and turn it off but they'd still have to get your doors unlocked. Wonder how much extra that would cost?
I've lost TWO chip keys over the years and paid ridiculous money for replacements-- not $2.50 for another old school metal key.
 
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