SCUBA Diving Boat Trip – Ultimate Planning Guide
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  • Post last modified:April 16, 2021

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How to Plan the Perfect Multiday Diving Boat Trip

During several days of diving, you decided to take your boat back. This can be a perfect way to spend quality time at a remote dive site, to do your favorite activity with friends, or just for a while to get away and relax. It takes some time to prepare a boat for a multi-day dive, but a well-planned dive trip can be unforgettable. Here are a few tips on how to go smoothly on your multi-day journey.

Planning Is the Most Important Part

Pre-planning can be a crucial component of making sure that your travel is secure and goes well. If you’ve never been on a boating dive trip before, for a thorough look at what to expect, check out our post on preparation for both single day and multiday boat dives. Read on for more on how to tailor the advice for multi-day trips.

  • Dive Sites: There are several variables to consider when selecting your locations for a multi-day ride. Next, the divers’ experience and the difficulty of the dives. Be assured of matching these well, particularly when it comes to beginners. If your multi-day is steam away from civilization, choosing a dive that is too technical for one of your divers is sometimes not worth the risk. The next thing to remember is how far if at all, you switch between dives. Think about using the time as a decompression stop between dives if there is a long distance between locations, to help optimize your time underwater. As always, to ensure that you have safe diving and boating conditions for your journey, check the latest guides and weather forecasts.
  • Full Tanks: The amount of air that is needed over many days for many people is, predictably, significantly greater. It takes a very large boat to carry enough single-use tanks for everyone on board, and space can become the limiting factor in the amount of time you spend diving from your boat if you want to dive this way. There is a simpler route, though. Instead, consider renting a dive-grade air compressor to place on board. If you leave a populated area, you should look for a position where a compressor would be rented at the location of your boat. Consider renting and taking the compressor with you if you are flying to somewhere more remote before you depart. It is also important to note that a dive compressor and a normal air compressor differ. The most noticeable difference is the testing of the dive compressor to ensure that different amounts of gas are safe for inhalation.
  • Nutrition: It can be time-consuming to prepare boat meals for several days of diving, but there is a lot that can be done ahead of time, which will save you time. Do it with the amount of galley room you currently have as you prepare your meals. Your meals would be significantly different if you are on a no-frills boat with a refrigerator, deck grill, and a single hot plate indoors, then if you have a fridge, range, and oven. There are plenty of great tips to save time, whether you’re doing more campout-style cooking or gourmet five-course meals. First, on vessels, freshwater is always limited, so pre-wash all you can. Pre-chop something that’s not going to go bad. Take your meat and place it in sealable marinade bags for each meal, so you can easily pull the contents out and stick it on the barbecue when it’s time to eat. Consider big evening meals, where the next day you prepare extra meat for sandwiches and lunch salads. One big pot of oatmeal goes much further and easier than eggs and bacon made to order if you have a large audience and a small stove. For between-meal munching, keep plenty of extra drinking water and snacks on hand. Limit the number of perishable things, particularly if the room for your refrigerated storage is limited. To prevent one person from having to miss out on diving due to kitchen work, consider assigning separate meals to different people. If you are diving with one pair on board the vessel for safety in a staggered manner, consider getting one of the top people on meal prep, and the other on vessel watch to be successful.
  • Safety: Following all US Coast Guard safety guidelines regarding your vessel is always necessary. Keep a list, along with emergency contact numbers, of any medical problems that your divers may have. Have a copy of this onboard the ship, as well as with the people you left the float plan with. Furthermore, make sure that you have the medical supplies needed to cope with minor diving accidents, and if they arise, the data you need to treat major dive injuries, such as the location of the closest dive-friendly hospital and decompression chamber. Extreme dive accidents are very time-sensitive, and when someone is already injured, you don’t want to spend time looking up who to call. Finally, be sure that when your divers are underwater, you have a functioning anchor with a solid line, and a clear dive flag to display.
  • Training Refresher: When was the last time you and your guests went diving? If it’s been more than a year, you should consider doing a diver refresher course with one of the national training organizations like PADI or NAUI.

Lessons Learned from My Dive Trips

When you have begun, the fun begins. Multi-day dive trips can be very memorable, whether you are diving in warm water or ice, and looking at wildlife or shipwrecks. Here are a few more things that you can keep in mind when enjoying yourself.

  • Be the Captain: do not waste the journey fretting. You were good about pre-planning because if something goes wrong, you’re prepared. However, waiting for things to happen is a smart idea, because you can catch them before they become big problems. Listen to funny engine noises, and if they seem wrong, check up on things. Watch your visitors for symptoms of dehydration, fatigue, sickness, or sunburn, and if these problems happen, be ready with a preventive measure and a smile. Anticipating your friends’ needs will make you a fabulous host or hostess and keep your party safe and balanced.
  • Your Gear is Important: If you do not have a boat with a big freshwater tank, to soak your gear in between dives, carry a large garbage can full of freshwater. This will save the overall water and prevent the salt from aging your gear prematurely. If you’ve got enough water, change the water in the dunk tank between dives. If you do not, to keep things smelling fresh, consider adding a cleaning agent like borax to the bath. Avoid bleach, because neoprene will break down prematurely. Even if you have checked your gear before leaving, to prevent unwarranted issues, do a quick gear check before each dive. Remember – SCUBA diving is a gear intensive activity, and you need to keep everything working properly.
  • Have a Backup Plan: Even the best-scheduled trips will experience unexpected weather. On dive sites, consider getting a contingency plan. Choosing a few sites on a few different sides of an island is one perfect way to do this. This will make it possible for you to select dives on the leeward side, no matter what kind of device occurs. For divers, rain is rarely a concern, but currents can make it difficult for a tired diver to return to a boat, so if needed, be ready to choose protection over fun. If you’re planning a night dive, be sure to have all the necessary lights, navigating equipment, and a working radio.
  • Savor the Memories: If anything great happens, don’t be too strict about your dive strategy. Consider leaving your other dive sites to stay and enjoy an exciting experience if you have a spot where something amazing happens, such as giant hatching of baby squid. If other divers spot a rare species, consider changing plans and enjoying your once-in-a-lifetime chance. Structure helps, but it also helps to add versatility.

Post-Dive Details Are Important

Before you pack up and go home, there is still a little more to remember when you return. There are things you can use to make the next trip run as well or even better, whether the trip has been life-changing or run-of-the-mill.

  • Remember the good dive sites: If you have found a new miraculous dive area or your favorite fish species’ secret spawning grounds, be sure to take note of it on your map plotter and keep the location and date for potential dives. This could be something that you would like to do for an annual function.
  • Air travel: Make sure you have arrived with ample decompression time to be able to comfortably catch your flight. Both drives into the mountains are also included.
  • Keep your gear in good condition: Keep the boat and diving equipment in good condition when you return to shore by performing any required maintenance.
  • Maintain records: Keep track of fuel consumption, hours, weather, and places of interest for the vessel. These notes will help you detect if something is wrong with your boat long before it becomes a big fix if the boat is yours. It gives you a clear idea of which locations you want to go back to, and new places to dive next time, whether the boat is yours or not.

My Summary

Without the annoying back-and-forth of shuttling to distant locations, multiday dive trips are a perfect way to get a lot of dive time completed. A well-planned trip will make things smooth, and ways to make the trip memorable for you and your guests are a versatile mindset and preparation for unforeseen opportunities.

John Allen

With more than a decade of experience cruising the lakes in my Crestliner Grand Cayman pontoon boat and my Boston Whaler, I now want to share everything I've learned with my community here at Boating Hub.

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