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Old 03-06-2013, 15:15   #1
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Scuba Diving Compressor

Hello everyone, this is my first post out of many I hope
I am interested to find out if it would be possible to have a scuba diving compressor on my 38 foot boat which I would be using for my personal use.
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Old 03-06-2013, 15:30   #2
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

Sorry to say, it is not a good idea. You'll need to deal with limited boat space, high wattage usage, expensive replacement parts for the compressor, among other factors; not cost effective. It is cheaper to have 2-3 SCUBA tanks that you can fill up wherever you go; dive shops are all over the creation. A typical tank fill costs $2-$8 USD; 3000-3800 psi. Mauritz
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Old 03-06-2013, 15:55   #3
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

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Originally Posted by Teknav View Post
Sorry to say, it is not a good idea. You'll need to deal with limited boat space, high wattage usage, expensive replacement parts for the compressor, among other factors; not cost effective. It is cheaper to have 2-3 SCUBA tanks that you can fill up wherever you go; dive shops are all over the creation. A typical tank fill costs $2-$8 USD; 3000-3800 psi. Mauritz
I second this statement! There was no problem getting air fills in the two years we cruised around the North Atlantic. Every place there is good diving there is a dive shop. Have two or three 100 cube tanks onboard.

There have been a number of occasions when I have dove in remote locations like Isle Royale National Park. This is more intensive two dives per day every day for 7 plus days. In this case I have lashed the Bauer compressor to the top of a rear hatch of my 37 foot yawl. This works well as a temporary measure.

Trying to integrate it into the boat would not work well. It could not done correctly. Think no room for a generator install etc. and would cost $10,000's to do it not correctly.
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Old 03-06-2013, 16:00   #4
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

I'd amend that previous comment to say that if might make sense for you, if you dive a lot, and want to deal with all the hassles. I have a paddleboard and two surfboards onboard which are hardly convenient but I don't mind hauling them because of the amount of use I get.

Sailrites, Honda generators, welding machines, surf boards, and dive compressors all fall into the category to me of "bulky object that has no good place on a boat".

I keep an 80 aluminium on deck and that's been fine for maintenance, diving the anchor, shallow solo recreational diving, and the such. If there's a dive shop around, which is more frequent that I thought would happen, I just rent a tank from them since I can drop it back off and don't need to wait on a fill.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:29   #5
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

Thank you for the comments, quite helpful.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:58   #6
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

It depends on where you live and how much diving you do. Compressors are large and expensive and require a lot of maintenance, filters etc, so you need to do a lot of diving to see an advantage over carrying tanks.

There are boats smaller than yours that carry compressors, and I have even met divers who have them built into the back of their 4WD ute so they can dive remote beaches.
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Old 04-06-2013, 19:26   #7
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

It all depends.

I have a Crealock 37 and a BAUER Junior compressor driven by a Honda gasoline engine. When it is on the boat it is mounted in a teak/fiberglass box that sits just forward of the mast.

The box limits visibility forward so when I know I am not going to be using the compressor the compressor and box are off the boat.

But I am an avid diver and I am most interested in diving locations that are not near dive shops.

In my 2 seasons cruising the West Coast of Mexico, I found a lot of excellent and some not so excellent dive sites that were nowhere near a dive shop or fill station. The only dive shop that seem to be conveniantly located near dive sites were in Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatenejo and maybe La Paz although the dive sites were aways from La Paz. Lots of excellent diving in the Sea of Cortez and Isla Socorro.

So for me the compressor is on board. I found a bit of a community of divers who's first question was "Do you have your own compressor ?" as although they were interested in new buddies they were not interested in filling my tanks.

Using LP95 cft tanks the compressor would run close to 30 mins to fill a tank. Normally I would run it in the afternoon with wind so that the exhaust from the gasoline motor was carried away from the air intake to compresser (corrugated hose run up the mast 20 feet or so).

Alternatives - learn to free dive. In Mexico the only way to legally spearfish is with a rubberbanded gun or pole spear and while free diving - no scuba allowed. Scallops and lobster cannot legally be taken at all.

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Old 05-06-2013, 02:14   #8
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

Welcome to Cruisers Forum Mljan.

There have been several long and detailed threads about dive compressors on boats in the past. If you do a google search you will find them. Use the search tab and the second entry box.

My boat came with a Bauer Junior II electric. We have 6 tanks and lots of other gear. I disagree with the maintenance issue. They really are fairly maintenance free. You do need to monitor the fill to bleed off the condensation.

But, if the boat didn't have the set-up when I purchased it, I wouldn't pay to install it now. We are in the Med and the diving sucks. When we where in the Caribbean it was good about 1/4 of the time as much of the coral has died and visibility can be poor.

It really would be better to have a few tanks on board and just have them refilled at dive shops.
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:25   #9
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

There are few interesting diving locations in Montenegro / Med if you are anywhere near.
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Old 05-06-2013, 17:46   #10
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

I know I am going to ruffle a few feathers here but, for an avid diver, a compressor is a GREAT idea!

For one thing, you can fill your bottles where ever and when ever you want. Plus, the cost per fill works out to be less than two bucks (a standard 80). Probably the most important, is that you know the quality of the air that is getting pumped into your tanks.

As for storage, I have supplied a deck box on several boats and a couple of the owners have fashioned a cushion for the top to turn it into a bench.

But ... to run an electric compressor requires a gen set of at least 7kw and that is pushing it. My electrical guru recommends 9 or bigger. Gas is just easy.

One final note ... it ain't cheap! With a deck box, it starts at about $3800!
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Old 05-06-2013, 18:32   #11
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

Ummm...you forgot to factor in the cost of the compressor and its maintenance, in the cost of tank fill-ups! It cannot possibly be $2 per fill-up! Mauritz
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Old 05-06-2013, 18:53   #12
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

I have a little coltri sub MCH6 works fine for me its small and portable only criticism is the price of the filter cartridges Stainless version costs about 3k
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Old 05-06-2013, 19:09   #13
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

Just to throw in another thought, we are looking at putting a small "Hooker" on board (No jokes please). You know the type, small compressor, long hose. Split to a couple of regs. Limits depth of dives to length of hose (about 20 mtrs) but they come in either gas or 12 volt electric. Can be on a float or mounted on deck or in the Dingy. Also makes scrubbing the bottom easy. Good units here in OZ retail for about 2K so not as expensive as a compressor, and maintenance is less as not high pressure.
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Old 05-06-2013, 19:17   #14
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

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Ummm...you forgot to factor in the cost of the compressor and its maintenance, in the cost of tank fill-ups! It cannot possibly be $2 per fill-up! Mauritz
Yup ... it IS figured in.

With regular maintenance, the compressor should get you 1000 hours of service. That is about 3000 fills! Cost per fill for filters and oil is only about a buck (or less depending on where you get your supplies).

However ... to be fair, I think it actually calculated out to $2.46 when gasoline was $3 per gallon so it may be a little more now ... maybe about $2.50.
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Old 05-06-2013, 19:33   #15
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Re: Scuba Diving Compressor

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I have a little coltri sub MCH6 works fine for me its small and portable only criticism is the price of the filter cartridges Stainless version costs about 3k
That is a good little compressor if you take care of it! The key to longevity and maintenance economy is to use only high grade synthetic compressor fluid and change it REGULARLY!

Your forth stage piston and cylinder is oil quenched so it sits at the bottom of the machine. If you allow your oil to get dirty or "wet", that gunk sits on the piston and valve and causes rust. That leads to slow fills, leaks and eventually the owner beating the snot out of it with a hammer! (yeah ... we actually had one sent to us like that)

So, change your oil every 25 hours of run time or once a year ... whichever comes first. Run it for at least 15 minutes every month to keep any moisture that MAY be in the oil from settling out and also to lubricate the top ends of the cylinders.

And you are right ... filters in Thailand are EXPENSIVE! You can get the basic ones from Italy or the best grade ones from the USA for a LOT cheaper ... even with shipping.
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