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Old 26-08-2009, 06:26   #1
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Hookah Diving Systems

looking for opinions, experience and thoughts regarding the various hookah diving systems.

Ideally would find one that I can run off a generator so that there is not an additional engine onboard, but that said the version that float extend the range.
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Old 27-08-2009, 04:43   #2
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The system you go for would depend on what you plan to use it for, diving off the boat, if you have 220 or 120V, or if you want to dive off a dingy .
I have had several on my yacht, i now carry 2, both made by Hookah dive. 1 is an electric that runs off 12v and I mainly use for cleaning the hull or shallow dives down to 8Mtrs. it is small and portable so I can throw it in the dingy with a 20Ah AGM battery it will last for 45mins. No maintenance and very reliable.
The other is an 8CFM, again an oilless pump so no need to buy expensive carbon filters, coupled to a honda 5HP, its obviously a bit heavier at 20Kg but I can still lug it into the dingy and with a 100Mtr hose can dive to a max of 25Mtrs. Have to be careful of bottom time when using this at depth though.
With the 100Mtr hose (the longer the better as it works as an accumulator and as long as you have it spooled onto a reel it is easy to manage) if you can anchor close enough to the reef it is easy to rune the hooka on the yacht.
As it is just a "standard" honda motor you have to be carefull and not get salt water on it after a dive as it will corrode pretty quickly, I spend a fair bit of time cleaning and spraying it with lanoline and so far it is holding up well.
Certainly beats carrying dive tanks every where as I have no high pressure compressor to charge them with onboard and the freedom of diving on a hookah is great especially if you are hunting in the caves and ledges for crays, just remember and carry a pony bottle just in case.
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Old 27-08-2009, 04:49   #3
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We use a 12vt Power Dive units | Powerdive Worldwide

It terrific for hull cleaning and prop maintenance - it has much more than paid back its cost. And it's been absolutely reliable.

But it's not the answer if you want to recreational dive. The marketing claims about how deep you can dive are vastly inflated. I think they say that a single diver can go to 40' but I find the air starts getting hard to suck at about 12'.
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Old 27-08-2009, 05:30   #4
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I have never been a fan of Hookah type systems….even for cleaning the hull, never mind recreational.

I found the consistency of demand air varied quite a bit depending on length of hose needed or if you used a tandem set-up

But mostly, I found that the drag on the hoses when there was any current…. or the boat was swinging around…. was unnecessarily tiring when trying to work underneath.

For me, keeping 4 full dive tanks on board is a better solution
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Old 27-08-2009, 06:18   #5
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We have a Brownies 3rd lung which has served us very well for 10+ years for hull maint as well as recreational. We store it in a vented "flush" bow locker which is accessible from the deck; I removed the factory supplied plastic enclosure and replaced it w/ a plastic base and belt/fan guard which I built. For hull cleaning I use it from this locker w/ the hatch open. For recreational use I prefer to set it in the dinghy (instead of the floatation tube). My wife and I have used it for stationary dives in Bonaire, down to 70' and drift diving 30+/- in the Bahamas.

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Old 27-08-2009, 06:47   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shipofools View Post
looking for opinions, experience and thoughts regarding the various hookah diving systems.

Ideally would find one that I can run off a generator so that there is not an additional engine onboard, but that said the version that float extend the range.

I bought an Air-Line unit a few years ago and have been happy with it. I liked it over the Brownie for some of it's simplicity to work on, and easy to replace parts. I have dived since I was a kid and never really had much experiance with a hookah system until I bought the Air-Line. Hookahs have compromises. I like the ability to have up to three divers using it at one time. Beats lugging around three SCUBA set ups space wise. You don't have the full range of freedom you have with SCUBA but airfills are a small gas can away. One of the main reasons I bought a hookah, I thought, would be to clean the hull. I find it too much of a hasle to set up, take down, clean and store the hookah for bottom cleaning. I instead set up a SCUBA tank with 50' of hose and an old regulator, much easier. But if I'm doing in water maintenance work on my boat or a friends, the hookah is great. I was helping a friend just a few months ago with some minor repair on his sail drives and the hookah was a blessing to have.
When I take people out on my boat some of them want to dive. Not always knowing their capabilities, even when certified, I like the idea everyone is tied together with the hookah. It's harder to lose anyone that way. My unit will let you dive fairly deep so bottom time is important. Though the vast majority of the time 30' and less is the norm. I don't feel a need for a pony bottle at these depths myself. You know when the unit is running because you can feel the compressor beating through the hose and regulator. If the unit shuts down there is still some air volume and pressure left in the hoses. I can get another 4-5 good breaths of air from it. Enough to get back to the surface easy. I usually just let it sit in the dinghy when using it away from the boat. The inner tube float is just another item that adds to the set up and take down and another storage hassle. I don't care for the 12volt system because of their limiting factors. But they store eaiser. When I first bought my Air-Line I knew exactly the perfect place where it would live under a forward bunk. But I forgot to measure the forward cabins door. If you were thinking just bottom cleaning and such I'd stick with a SCUBA tank and 50'of hose. If you're thinking of recreational diving I'd still go with a gas driven unit.

PS, hows that solar panel, still working?
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Old 27-08-2009, 10:04   #7
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There is a long discussion of how to build your own with an oil-less Home Depot compressor and a second stage regulator from a dive shop on the T and T forum site. The professional divers and instructors all insist you need the top of the line $3000 hookah, the the guys that built their own say theirs works fine and cost them $300, and the Panamanians who dive for lobsters with a hose in their mouth to 60 ft don't speak english and could care less.
Diving to any depth can be dangerous.
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Old 27-08-2009, 10:43   #8
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Actually almost all the divers in our area that clean hulls at the marina use the homemade units. As Lorenzo B states it costs about $300. They often have 100 ft of hose to allow them to move between several boats without having to exit and move the compressor. I'm told that there is shop around here somewhere that puts them together and sells them.

Now, I've not personally used one although I've been tempted. I should ask my diver how deep he thinks it's good for. Naturally for just hull cleaning they are seldom down more than 6-8 ft.

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Old 27-08-2009, 11:37   #9
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Qoute..
"The professional divers and instructors all insist you need the top of the line $3000 hookah,"

I'd read that a few times and let it sink in.

Working and being safe are two different issues with compressors. Coating your lungs with vaporized oil or water ain't healthy.
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Old 27-08-2009, 12:02   #10
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The ones that our professional hull cleaning divers use are oil less and most run condensation traps on them.

Rich
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