SDI SPECIALTY: Boat Diving Specialty

Last month we looked at what goes into an SDI Night and Limited Vis Specialty course. This month we focus on the SDI Boat Diving Specialty. This is another essential course for sport divers since scuba and boat diving go hand-in-hand and there are few regions of the world where boat diving is not near the top of the menu for local divers.
 
When you are making the decisions on which specialties to focus on, obviously the driving question must always be: “How useful is such and such class going to be for me?” It is simply not worth investing the time, effort and money taking a course that is not going to improve your skills and increase your enjoyment.
 
Based simply on these criteria, a boat diving specialty would rank high on everyone’s  must-do list. Frankly, diving from a boat is not as easy as it might seem at first glance and there is a lot more to it than falling off the back of the dive platform when the boat reaches the dive site. With a nod to one of those Washington types from a few years back, when it comes to boat diving, there is a lot of unknown unknowns to work around! And in spite of the popularity and availability of charter boats, divers are frequently unaware of special procedures and etiquette that should be employed when boat diving.
 
In order to uncover those unknowns, an SDI Boat Diving Specialty consists of classroom instruction, a little field work (skills demos, gear mods and briefings on the surface, and boat dives. Unless this course is combined with a deep diving course, all dives will be to a depth no greater than 18 metres / 60 feet.
 
The skills overview for this course consists of  modules on: Dive planning; Pre-boarding preparation and briefing; Review of procedures; Captain’s / Crew’s briefing; Water entry; Diving procedures; Boarding boat after dive; Logging Dive; Caring for equipment.
 
During the classroom sessions, students will discuss the various types of boats used for diving and the features, challenges and benefits of each. These include:Live-aboards, Charter Boats, and Private Boats. Divers will be briefed on what equipment must be carried on a dive boat according to local rules and regulations, and will discuss the diver’s responsibility to confirm that any boat taking him and his companions to a dive site conforms to those laws and regulations. As well, they will learn the pieces of equipment that SDI recommends as part of its general guidelines for dive boats. These include: Life Preservers or Personal Floatation Devices; Life boats; Signal Flares; A marine VHF radio; A First-aid kit and an oxygen kit.
 
Part of the briefing will also go over Boat Procedures. Nothing separates the novice boat diver from his experienced shipmate more than how they conduct themselves on-board the dive boat, and how they go about simple tasks such as stowing gear.
Two very important issues with regard boat procedures that will be covered in the briefing are exiting the boat at the dive site, and getting back on board following a dive.
 
Other topics covered in an SDI Boat Diving Specialty include: Planning Boat Trips; Determining Necessary Equipment; Lines and Knots; and Underwater Navigation to and from a Boat.
 
Since a huge number of great dive site around the world can only be comfortably reached from a boat, we believe that this course is the perfect starting point, especially for newly certified divers. If you want to find out more, connect with your local SDI dive center.
 
 
 

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