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Diving out of a boat is a memorable experience.  Whether that memory is a pleasant one or a nightmare will depend greatly on the behaviour of the crew.

Firstly, it is important to get a boat ride.  If you know someone with a boat, then take the initiative and make contact.  Ask if they would like to go for a dive with you and keep in regular contact.  Don't leave it for the boat owner to invite you or you may be waiting a very long while.

When you score a boat ride do not be late.  If you are meeting at the skippers home early in the morning, keep quiet, do not wake his family by making phone calls, do not disturb the neighborhood by having a conversation outside his house.  Have your gear ready and ensure it is tidy and compact - room is always at a premium on a boat.  Do not dump your gear tub or weight belt on the gunwale of the boat as this will scratch it and turn into a very short trip for you.  The skipper will advise you where to place your gear and whether you need to share a gear tub with another crew member to make room.

Bananas.  Many fisherman are superstitious, especially when it comes to bananas.  For your own safety, never take bananas on a boat.

Note that the number 1 priority is not your personal enjoyment above everything else.  The safety of the crew is comes 1st; the boat comes 2nd, 3rd, and 4th; then comes everything else.

Do exactly as you are told whilst on the boat!  If the skipper asks you to do something, or do something in a particular way then do it - whether it suits you or not.  When you have your own boat you can make up your own rules.  Remember, other than crew safety, the boat is No 1 priority.  It is more important than your fish, your gear, your days' dive...

Your speargun shaft will cause a lot of damage if handled incorrectly.  So you do not scratch the boat, puncture the canopy, scratch the engine, stab another crew member etc.., whenever you move your speargun make sure you hold the tip in one hand and the barrel in the other.

Your weight belt can cause a lot of damage, especially when entering or exiting the water.  Keep weights away from the outboard and other parts of the boat likely to be scratched or dinged.

Learn as much as you can about the boat and the expectations of your skipper.  The boat needs to be made ready for launch; and needs to be properly secured after retrieval.  Ask if you can help, or at least pay careful attention to what is going on so you can help the next time.  Learn how to start the boat and become familiar with its operation.

While travelling on the boat, don't stand around like a stunned mullet.  Keep a lookout and let the skipper know if you see any obstacles in the way - other divers, fish & cray pot floats, driftwood, weed etc....

One especially important point., never mess with your skipper's GPS unless you have express permission to do so.

The anchor; setting and retreiving the anchor is generally the reponsibility of the crew.  How this is done varies from boat to boat so pay attention.  In all cases:
1.  hold all of the chain in one hand, the anchor in the other,
2.  keep the chain and anchor well away from the side of the boat,
3.  establigh a firm footing with your knees up against the gunwales,
4.  gently ease the anchor into the water so you do not scare away any fish beneath you (don't chuck everything overboard!!!!)
5.  ensure the anchor, the chain, the rope do not rub against the boat
6.  retreiving the anchor out of the water can cause the boat the most damage (especially in swelly conditions) so be certain you have a stable foothold, pull the rope up without rubbing it against boat, bundle the chain in one hand and hold the anchor in the other, only when the boat is stable do you lift it clean out of the water and place it straight onto the deck.  You do not want the anchor to slam up against the side of the boat.

Always keep within easy sight of the boat whilst in the water, and try to keep within sight of other crew members.  If your skipper tells you that you will be at a spot for 30 minutes then that should be adhered to.  If you see other crew members boarding the boat then start heading back so others are not waiting for you.

Be patient when you reach the various dive spots.  Allow the other crew members to go ahead of you.  Ask which is the best way in and out of the boat.   When it is your turn to get in, keep the tip of your gun away from others and away from any part of the boat. Glide into the water without making a splash, do not lean backwards and fall into the water so you scare everything in sight (and/or smack another crew member in the face with the tip of your fin blade), and do not allow your weights to scrape the side of the boat.

Proceedure for getting back in after a dive varies from boat to boat.  In all cases, gut any fish you have caught, have your float line wound up so it doesn't make a mess on deck, never hand the pointy end of your gun to a crew member. Do not ever enter or exit a boat with a loaded gun.  When you get back on deck lift any fish you have caught and drop them into the ice box or fish tub.  DO NOT dump your fish onto the deck.

After a day's diving you can look forward to helping wash the boat and trailer.  Do not do a runner, leaving the skipper and other crew to do it.

Understand that it is very expensive to own a boat - insurance, regos, maintanence, fuel, towing.... At the end of a day's diving (good or poor) you will be expected to make a donation towards the cost of running the boat; remember the cost does not just mean fuel. DO NOT wait until you are asked. Your contribution will depend on many variables including the size of the boat, the distance you travel on the boat ....

Happy boating, dive safe and responsibly.
West Coast:  (08) 6102 7222     |     East Coast:  (02) 8007 6666