PADI Specialty of the Month – Boat Diver
I have many fond memories about the dive boats I’ve used in the last 15 years, and the people I’ve met on them; it’s not all about what’s underwater, it’s the banter and lifestyle that goes on before and after the dive too. I’ve met Caribbean Skippers who are so laid back that they are barely breathing (I’m not sure if there wasn’t some herbal substance involved to aid their lifestyle), dive guides who are reminiscent of a famous Fascist leader and divers from all walks of life, each with their own unique personalities. Without dive boats I’d have missed out on some many of these colourful characters, including ‘Dry Suit Ken’.
I’d say that 90% of all the fun dives I’ve done have been from a boat. To meet you can’t beat a Liveaboard, you wake up in the morning and you’re already at the dive site with the added benefit that the ‘day boats’ haven’t even left port yet. Through blurred eyes you don your kit and plunge in to the cool refreshing water – there are few better ways to wake yourself up!
Boat diving tends to be much simpler then diving from the shore as you don’t generally have to haul your kit long distances, worry about surge and the boat can drop you off right on top of the dive site. If you’ve ever had to carry a steel tank as well as your dive kit in the midday sun to the Blue Hole in Gozo then you’ll know what I’m talking about!
There are lots of different types of dive boats too. These go from small inflatables (RIB), speedboats, and converted trawlers to large luxury Liveaboard boats mentioned above. Each of them has different considerations and dive procedures that can even change from area to area.
The PADI Boat Dive Specialty is ideal for novice divers or those with little boat diving experience as the course will increase your knowledge from diving safely from boats. The course includes boat terminology, procedures for entering and exiting the water, how and where to stow your gear and where the safety equipment is located.
To complete the course there is some basic theory and 2 open water boat dives which can all be completed in as little as a day.
Oyster Diving are running a boat diving day in Shoreham on the 29th August where the course can be completed. Shoreham is located close to Brighton so is easy to reach from London and other areas in the South East. Our boat for the day, Buccaneer, is a hard bottom boat that can comfortably accommodate 10 divers and their kit. There are many local dive sites close to Brighton which include many wrecks and reefs. Our last trip in July had a decent 7-10m viz which surprised many of the warm water divers that decided to join us for the day. They were also pleasantly surprised by the variety and abundance of marine life.
Oyster Diving are offering £20 off their next PADI Boat Diving specialty course on 29th August. You can find more details on the trip here.
Mark Murphy – Master Scuba Diver Trainer