Not sure of what you are supposed to do? Not to worry. We have some boat scuba diving tips for you so you will feel comfortable climbing aboard.
If most of your diving has been land based, diving off of a boat can be a little intimidating at first, but rest assured, follow these tips and you'll be fine.
Check Your Gear at the Dock
Before you get on the boat, make sure you have all your scuba diving equipment with you. Don't leave those fins in the dive shop. Also check you have the right amount of weight and the right size equipment if you are renting them from the dive shop.
On my last trip scuba diving in Mexico at the Riviera Maya, the guy handing out the equipment was distracted and gave me the wrong amount of weights and the wrong size BC.
I caught that fact that the weight was wrong but missed the BC size until right before we were boarding the boat. I tried it on and was able to use it but I would have preferred the other size.
Put Your Gear in a Bag
Keep all your scuba gear contained in a dive bag. Boats can become crowded and having your scuba equipment all over the place is annoying. You can buy smaller bags, such as a mesh bag, that won't take up much room. For more info, check out our page on scuba diving bags here.
Store Your Gear and Weights Under the Seat
With limited space on a dive boat, you don't want to take up valuable real estate with your miscellaneous gear. Your mask, defogger, fins, computer, wetsuit, etc. can be safely stored under the seat until you need them.
This also prevents someone from stepping on and breaking your scuba gear or you losing something. Weights should never be put on the bench since it could easily fall off and kill someone's toes. Some more boat scuba diving tips:
Use the Correct Rinse Buckets
Depending on the dive boat, there may be a rinse bucket solely to rinse masks and one solely to rinse cameras. Don't put those fins, wetsuits, or anything else in those rinse buckets - especially the one for dive cameras. Try that and you'll see an annoyed scuba diver.
The boat crew or divemasters will usually point out the buckets on the boat. If they don't and you aren't sure, just ask. It is not big deal and everyone will be happy.
Get To the Boat or Dive Shop Early
This will give you ample time to sign in, get your scuba equipment, check you have all the right gear, etc. You will also be able to assemble your gear so you will not be rushed once you reach the dive site.
Not to mention, it is inconsiderate to keep a whole boat of divers waiting just for you. Many times, there is one in a group - just don't let it be you.
Suit Up Early (or at least on time)
Depending on the length of the boat trip, you may suit up at the dock or about 5 minutes before you reach the dive site. The divemaster will tell you when to begin. And when they do, start getting ready if you haven't already done so. This will ensure you are ready to get in the water and not keep the other divers waiting.
Assemble Your Gear Early
(Notice a theme here?) Again, this depends on the dive boat. Sometimes the crew will assemble your gear for you (which you should always check). If they don't, the best time to assemble your gear is while you are at the dock. This way you don't have to deal with rocking if it is rough.
It also gives you less to do once you get there so you won't feel rushed.
Another advantage of assembling scuba gear early is you will know if something is wrong. If you are missing an O-ring, have a low fill or anything else, you can take care of it before you leave the dock. Also, don't forget to secure the tank before you leave or else that tank and your gear can end up on the deck, not to mention on someone's toes.
Listen to the Dive Briefing
I don't care if you dove this sight before. Always listen to the divemaster when he goes over the details of the dive (how to enter the water, where you will be going, max depth, time of dive, etc.).
Even if you think you heard it all before, the person next to you might not have. Things change at divesites (current, etc.) and each divemaster has their own way of doing things, so listen up! A few more boat scuba diving tips:
Don't Hang Under the Ladder
When you are waiting to get back on the boat after you finished your dive, don't wait right under the ladder for your turn. The diver going up the ladder ahead of you could fall off the ladder and land on top of you. Which would be especially nasty if he still had his BC and tank on. Be extra careful near the ladder if the water is rough.
Bring a Drybag
Not everyone needs this but I like to have one. I am usually chilly if it is windy during the surface interval and a dry towel or jacket is always welcome. You can also keep your camera, keys, money, etc. in here. Which leads me to another one of our boat scuba diving tips:
The sun can be brutal, especially when you are out on the water. You should put sunscreen on even if it is cloudy because those rays will still get to you. It's a good idea to reapply sunscreen in-between dives too. And the last of our boat scuba diving tips:
Bring Cash for Tips
It is customary to tip the divemaster and/or crew after your dive if you were happy with their service. We usually tip each day unless we know we will be having the same divemaster/crew for the duration of our stay.
Hopefully these boat scuba diving tips will help you have an enjoyable boat dive. It's not rocket science but a little bit of preplanning can make a boat trip more enjoyable. Rushing around trying to get ready while the rest of the boat waits for you to find something is not exactly calming to the nerves. And this is not how you want to start a dive.
So follow these boat scuba diving tips and you should have a relaxing experience.
You might also want to check out our article on helping you feel less intimidated on the dive boat if you are new to boat diving.
If you would like even more practical tips and advice to get you more comfortable on that dive boat, please check out our Special Report "Look Like A Pro On The Boat". Click here for all the details.
Click here for a full list of our scuba diving tips - including video tips
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