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Old 01-01-2012, 10:48   #1
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Captains License at Anchor

Hi guys,

Question that I can't seem to find in the CFR.

At anchor or Mooring does a captain need to be on-board? This is in regards to a SCUBA Boat.

As a captain can I get everybody off the boat and lead a tour then get back on the boat and accept my divers?

Of course I would leave someone (crew) as top watch.

Any help would be great.
Mark
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Old 01-01-2012, 11:13   #2
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Re: Captains License at anchor

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Mark.
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Old 01-01-2012, 13:58   #3
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Re: Captains License at anchor

Quote:
Originally Posted by roostermt View Post
Hi guys,

Question that I can't seem to find in the CFR.

At anchor or Mooring does a captain need to be on-board? This is in regards to a SCUBA Boat.

As a captain can I get everybody off the boat and lead a tour then get back on the boat and accept my divers?

Of course I would leave someone (crew) as top watch.

Any help would be great.
Mark
A licensed captain needs to be in >command< of a boat when >underweigh<. A boat at anchor is not underweigh.

At least that is my take on it.

Regards
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Old 01-01-2012, 14:21   #4
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Re: Captains License at anchor

Mark, as a practical matter what happens if there's a problem and the boat needs to be moved while you're not on it? There's no captain, and now you have a bigger problem.

I've heard of incidents where a dive boat HAD to move while divers were still down in the water. And of course, if something happens to YOU while you are in the water...the boat now has no captain to respond to the emergency.

So yes, I think you cna legally set the hook and abandon ship, but personally? I'd call it risky to do that in a commercial situation where abandoning ship could be called negligence or worse.

Just one man's opinion.
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Old 01-01-2012, 15:07   #5
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Re: Captains License at anchor

When the boat is anchored and the captain needs or wants to go ashore or suba diving. Then he/she may do so. But that commerical vessel can not be moved until the captain returns.
Now how do I know this? I have anchored out in Trinidad and gone ashore for ship's business. Such as checking into the country of trinidad & Tobago.
Now if you have a smaller license then is required for said vessel. You can not move it as long as it is under charter of any sort.
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Old 01-01-2012, 17:12   #6
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Re: Captains License at anchor

Mark, check manning requirements under 15.805 and you'll see this:

Quote:
There must be an individual holding an appropriate license as or a valid MMC with endorsement as master master in command...
As a 100 ton master myself who has worked on dive boats I know it's common in some smaller operations for the captain to also be the dm but it's really not well advised. In an emergency situation you might need to be providing first aid at the same time the vessel is needing to hightail it back to shore.

Divemasters can and do get injured themselves chasing after bad divers. A guy on a local diveboat here in San Diego said that he gets in the water almost every day because he has to help someone who really isn't fit to be in the water.

I don't think you'll get a lot of leeway out of the USCG if they happen upon the boat and they ask the crewman onboard where the master is and he says he's blowing bubbles at sixty feet.

If you're a licensed master it shouldn't be too hard to find a divemaster (or send your crewmember to padi divemaster classes). Another battle you get to fight is "who's responsible for the dive operations?" Some boats say it's the captain, some say it's the divemaster. The natural "the captain is responsible for everything" doesn't work all the time because it's not like the captain of a cruise ship is responsible for the casino onboard. Some operations onboard really have nothing to do with the operation of the vessel and safety of the passengers from a vessel point of view. People 100' below the surface kicking up silt in a wreck really have no connection to the vessel any longer (and probably never will again).

Anyway, let me know what you do. It's an interesting area of the water but like I said the USCG probably isn't going to like seeing passengers for hire onboard a boat without a master. What if you surface with some injured divers a few hundred yards away and need the boat to get over to you?

If you're the master, stay with the boat. Split the load with the dm.
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Old 01-01-2012, 17:30   #7
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Re: Captains License at anchor

I'm inclined to agree with Hellosailor. If nothing bad happens it won't matter what you did or didn't do. If some event comes up and you were not there, it's all in your lap after the dust settles. Why you were not there becomes the whole conversation. The reasons usually won't measure up to an accidental death.

Having someone aboard and in charge at all times while guests are aboard or in the water seems important just because something could happen of a minor nature and if tended to quickly is solved with no ill effect. The issue of if it was the actual captain in charge is of no issue at all unless something bad results.

The captain is still the captain. Your legal authority places you first on the list and square in the cross hairs when it's time to assess blame. There can always be a presumption that you should have known better. Negligence is criminal in most justice systems. In the case of a death you really are in very serious trouble. The risk is yours alone.
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Old 23-01-2012, 14:25   #8
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Re: Captains License at anchor

Interesting question. I guess drift diving is would be out of the question as you would have to be on board if not on the hook. Sometimes a current will pick up during the dive and you have to pluck someone out of the water. This would also be difficult if that someone was you.
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Old 23-01-2012, 18:21   #9
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Re: Captains License at anchor

it might be easier to get a crew member certified to master status. two masters would do the job.
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Old 23-01-2012, 18:31   #10
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Re: Captains License at anchor

I used to work a diveboat where the divemaster would lead the first dive, which was usually a deeper drift dive, and then we'd drop the hook and the captain would lead the second dive while the original divemaster switched to the role of boatmaster. Standing order during the second dive was for the boatmaster to lay on the underwater recall horn if there was any need at all for the captain to return to the vessel.

It only works if everyone is appropriately certified/licensed.
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Old 23-01-2012, 20:28   #11
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Re: Captains License at anchor

If the Mate has a license that covers the operation of the boat then he can move it.

But a person without the proper license cannot move the boat with paying passenger onboard or paying passengers in the water....that much is common sense. The Coast Guard is judge, jury and prosecutor during their investigations and a defense that divers in the water were suddenly not paying passengers would never work as a legitimate defense.
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