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Old 20-10-2014, 17:50   #1
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Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

I'm wondering if anybody scuba dives from their sailboat or dingy and what they would recommend as far as features on a sailboat to make diving possible.

My wife and I are in our mid twenties and are looking to set ourselves up for some open ended cruising in the next few years. Most likely our plan would involve buying a boat in the chesapeake and sailing to the bahamas then on too other parts of the world. The south pacific is high on our bucket list so we want a boat that can be outfitted to get us there. Budget wise the cheaper the better as we would like to go sooner rather than later but if we could be reasonably outfitted i.e make it to the bahamas with 30k into a boat that would be great.

Back to the diving we want to be able to dive in remote places for extended periods of time. So the first concern that pops into my head is storage room for a compressor, fuel and tanks. Any thoughts on this?

For boats I have been doing some research and the tartan 34c stands out as a possibility. Will a 34ft boat have the storage room available for scuba gear and everything else one needs to sail? If this is to small roughly how big do I need to go for two people.

What issues does scuba diving present on a sailboat that I'm not thinking of?

Thank you very much for your help!
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Old 20-10-2014, 17:58   #2
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

30K into a boat to go world cruising and diving..... you're dreaming. A descent compressor will cost you at least $2000, then you'll need the electrical systems onboard to support everything. Fresh water to flush and clean everything, means a watermaker.... yes you're dreaming a pipe dream.
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Old 20-10-2014, 18:08   #3
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

Bunnzy

I am afraid Kenomac is correct to dive in remote places one certainly needs a compressor to fill tanks and a watermaker so you can flush all the gear. Expensive items that take up room.

We used to scuba for years before we purchased the yacht a (40fter). Now we carry two tanks for emergencies and snorkel remote dive sites. We still do underwater photography but no longer carry the single lens reflex type that required housings, flash light housings and strobes - I use a digital in an underwater housing. Yes we do get some nice photos but not the competition award winning shots of old.

Sailing on a yacht like all boating is full of compromises. Sue
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Old 20-10-2014, 18:36   #4
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

Cats are excellent diving platforms.

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Old 20-10-2014, 18:57   #5
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

Thank you for your responses perhaps we should ignore the 30k figure as it really doesn't matter that much to me. I was only trying to make the point that I'd like to go sooner on a smaller budget apparently that point was made too strongly and I certainly don't want this to be about pipe dreams or trying to come up with an exact cost. I realize diving presents special challenges and that's what I'm trying to sort out here. If it costs me 6k for a compressor and watermaker and I need a larger boat to store it so be it. How much larger of a boat do I need though to hold this gear?

Watermaker sounds pretty logical or at least some serious extra fresh water reserves for gear rinsing. I'm thinking environmentally sealed regs probably aren't a bad idea either.

Has anybody used a gas compressor on a sailboat? Seems like a better choice to me than electric but then I'd have to deal with exhaust.
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Old 20-10-2014, 19:04   #6
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

barnakiel
I love catamarans too but they seem to have some pretty steep price tags on the used market. Notice I originally said make scuba diving possible not easy. I figure any older used monohull is going to be a pain to get in and out of with dive gear even if going into a dingy.
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Old 20-10-2014, 19:15   #7
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

With a properly designed ladder, it really isn't much of an issue.

Depending on the shape of the stern, a small platform, with a ladder to the deck and a fins-on style fold up ladder, it would be an easy time getting back onboard.

I run a dive boat offshore in North Carolina, and our normal load is 20 divers, and with 2 fins-on ladders we can get everybody back aboard in 10 mins or so, safely and without issue.

Something like this ladder on Atlantis IV is what I am talking about.

It would be no problem with a good side view and stern picture of the boat to design a platform and ladder that would be the cat's ass.

I do this 90 to 100 days a year, it is not problem

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Old 20-10-2014, 19:43   #8
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

There is another method to consider. On our boat I have a complete scuba setup including two tanks, but most of the time I use a Hookamax 12v system with a 100ft hose (cost $900). It's a lot of fun, and I get over an hour on a single 12v battery. The system can be hooked up to two hoses.

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Old 20-10-2014, 20:27   #9
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

Another option is to just rely on dive shops. Carry your own gear and rent the tanks as needed. Its pretty cheap to just rent tanks and you can make room for a lot of em onboard even a small boat for shorter periods of time.

Ferrying them out to the boat in the dinghy can sometimes be a hassle, but at least in most of the places Ive been in the US and western carib, a dive shop is never too far off and usually close to the water.
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Old 20-10-2014, 20:30   #10
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

We dive off of our 44 ft Cat and have dived off of a friend's 30 ft cat. If you don't have your own compressor finding air can be a real pain. The solution somewhat depends on what kind of diving you like to do. We found that we really don't often go deeper than 60 feet. After a bit of evaluation we decided to buy a hookah rig instead of a compressor. We have used it off of the big boat, independently on a float, and sitting in the bottom of our dinghy. We really enjoy drift diving. We put the hookah in the bottom of the dinghy and jump in. We have 100 ft hoses and never have to worry about getting disconnected from the boat. We've done 3.5 mile drifts and suprisingly find its not that big of a problem to stop the dinghy even in a relatively strong current. Basically if you can swim against it it's not a huge problem. We have an accumulator tank and attach it to the dinghy on a short line so we're not really pulling on the compressor. In shallow water we get 2.5 hours per 1/2 gallon tank of gas. Actually we get 2.5 hours per tank at any depth, but we don't do decompression dives so when we go past 40 feet we don't use a whole tank. The hookah is a whole lot simpler than a regular scuba compressor and is very easy to maintain. We do have a water maker but it doesn't take too much water to maintain the Hookah. I recommend the watermaker in any case if you want get out away from civilization where there is some really great diving. A hookah will set you back about the same as a scuba compressor but it will have much less maintenance. We actually still have 4 tanks on board, but we only use them when the hookah presents problems, like wanting to go through swim throughs. We actually only used them once in the last year. We are seriously considering leaving them on shore this year. With the cost of annual maintenance on the regulators and tanks it make for very expensive dives if you only use them on rare occasions. Of course it's your call but you should consider the hookah. We actually do most of our diving from the dinghy, so I suggest at least a 10 ft RIB with a 15 hp motor and 20 if it's rated for it. We have used a 6 hp but the 15 works a lot better. Depending on the type of boat and how much freeboard a small crane can be very useful for lifting the scuba gear back aboard. It's not a problem on our cat but I've known people on high sided monohulls that have found them very useful. Cats can be a bit expensive but an older Catalac might be in your range. good luck.
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Old 20-10-2014, 21:41   #11
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

The Beneteau 281 looks to have about the same internal volume and waterline length as the Tartan and is a much more modern boat for about the same price and probably a much lower operating cost.

Going up the Beneteau line (311, 343, ...) they all look to be much more suited to diving than the Tartan.

But why the trouble and expense of Scuba or even Hookah gear on a small boat? Chances are you'll hardly use it.

Why not put the money into a small inflatable/outboard that you can get into from the water and just snorkel? You're young and by the time you've been snorkeling for a few months you'll be fit enough to dive to 30' or so.

What makes life most enjoyable when snorkeling is a nice camera. I use a basic Panasonic Lumix but the better ones go deeper and may take better pictures.
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Old 20-10-2014, 21:52   #12
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

We took two tanks with us when we cruised French Polynesia. Only time we used one was to help a friend retrieve his outboard that he'd dropped over board in a muddy bay. Free diving is so much less restrictive and with the water so clear, could easily dive 50' after we got in shape. Were in the water hours everyday snorkeling or spear fishing where ciguatera wasn't an issue. Lobster was wonderful in the Marquesas. Getting tanks was impossible in the out in the Marquesas and Tuamotus though that they may have changed since it's been a couple of decades since we were out.
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Old 21-10-2014, 15:19   #13
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
30K into a boat to go world cruising and diving..... you're dreaming. A descent compressor will cost you at least $2000, then you'll need the electrical systems onboard to support everything. Fresh water to flush and clean everything, means a watermaker.... yes you're dreaming a pipe dream.
Bubble buster or should I say realist.
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Old 21-10-2014, 15:43   #14
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

Hi
We. Have a 47' sailboat(mono) with scuba gear and compressor. We do most of the diving off our RIB (11' with 20hp).


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Old 21-10-2014, 16:12   #15
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Re: Boat Requirements for Scuba Diving

If you want to scuba dive with tanks, then you will need a petrol powered compressor, even a 5 kW generator will not run the smallest compressor. We are setting up our cat at the moment.

We envisage that in some spots we will be able to dive straight off the cat. This will be at recognised dive sites on the Great Barrier Reef where there are moorings. At other places, we expect to use our RIB (3.4 metres) to ferry us out to the site and either drift back to near the anchored yacht or get collected afterwards.

I am setting up the RIB with gear lines (to connect BCD to after dive) and mermaid/Jesus line, deco line etc. Still trying to work out where to store the compressor so that it is easy to access.
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