Boat diving is the one of the most popular types of diving in Cyprus. Divers around the world enjoy diving from ribs, hard boats and liveaboards every day of the year. Most divers will know, but many are unaware to a point, that there are protocols and tips to follow to ensure that everything runs smoothly and safely aboard a dive boat.
We have all been on a dive boat when just getting on board is a stressful experience and the organisation on board can make it all seem a bit chaotic.
Before a diver boards a dive boat they should ensure that they receive a thorough briefing on procedures to board the boat with all the diving equipment. Sometimes this could involve kitting up scuba equipment or suits before boarding and how or what to load up, or leaving certain dry clothing at a location on shore. Once onboard you should then be briefed on where to stow equipment and your personal effects. Staff on the dive boat should then at some point list all the divers on a roll call for checking after each dive to ensure everyone is back on board,
At some point, if not done on shore, you will then assemble your scuba and check everything thoroughly before the boat departs. Also a thorough boat brief, or tour if appropriate, should be given that should include entry & exit procedures, emergency equipment locations, out of bounds areas, hazards, toilets, particular boat rules, emergency procedures, recall procedure, refreshments and so on. The dive brief will of course be given at some point to suit the group and the dive leader, this can be on shore before boarding or on the dive boat depending on which suits best.
What a lot of divers on boats forget is kit and space protocol while boat diving. Space is always something to be aware of, as in staying within your groups given area. Once you are allocated a space you should work within that area and not overspill into other divers space. This requires simple diver discipline. Always take your kit from a dive bag as you require it, do not spread your equipment all over the deck or bench. Failiure to do this can result in mixed up kit, broken equipment, lost equipment, unorganised divers and taking up unneccesary space. The same should apply when you complete your dive and as you de-kit put everything back into the dive bag. All this is or should be standard dive protocol while boat diving. Gangways should also be left clear for other divers to pass.
On entering the water always ensure that your point of entry is clear of other divers, if using a backward roll someone else on board should give you the all clear before entering. Always have your mask on and regulator in before you reach the actual entry point in case you fall in. When exiting on a ladder always make sure that the diver on the ladder is clear before you approach, being directly under a diver while still exiting on the ladder is obviously not a good idea. While exiting a good habit is again to keep your mask and regulator in place.
Every diver loves boat diving and by everyone following a few simple protocols and tips can make the whole experience that much more enjoyable for you and your fellow divers.