Arrive at the boat well before departure time. If the crew says it’s okay to board, climb on and take advantage of your punctuality for an unhurried look around. Check out the boat’s layout, find a good spot for your gear that’s out of the way or close to the gate or that offers protection from the sun.
- If you don’t need it, leave it in your dive locker. On a busy dive boat there’s not much space allotted for each diver, so bring only what you’re going to need for the morning or afternoon dives. That way you can stow all your gear at your dive station without it overflowing into your neighbor’s space. If you can’t carry everything in one trip, you’ve probably got too much.
- As soon as possible, assemble you reg and BC on your tank and give them a quick test to make sure the tank is full and all systems are go. That way, if you got a short fill or if a gear failure occurs you still have a hope of getting a replacement. Also, do a final inventory check to make sure you have everything you need for your dives, like both fins, your mask, maybe a trusty pocket light for checking out the holes in the reefs, and, if the boat requires it, a safety signal tube.
- Don’t be shy about asking questions. All dive boats have their own rules and routines, so if you’re unsure about how to secure your tank, where to stow your weights, or which bucket is for mask rinsing and which is for cameras, simply ask. A good crew will always choose answering easy questions up front over scrambling to catch a tank that’s about to topple over or tripping on an errant dive bag. Knowing the proper boat procedures makes life easier for everybody.
- When you arrive at the dive site, resist the temptation to start obsessing on your gear and instead pay close attention to the pre-dive briefing. This is when you’ll learn about bottom contours, prevailing currents, depths and compass directions. Having this info tucked in your head before the dive will make all the difference in your comfort level and confidence during the dive, plus it can avoid having to be retrieved by the dive guide when you get lost, which is always embarrassing.
- Don’t forget to bring some cash for tips. A top-notch boat crew and dive guide who have both skills and sunny attitudes are instrumental in delivering to you a really enjoyable day in the water. Show your appreciation; they’ve definitely earned it.
From Sport Diver