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Old 08-04-2009, 13:30   #1
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Making a Carolina Dive Rig

I asked this one in the boat section of scuba board a few days ago, but didn't get any responses, so figured I'd ask a here.

Just looking for any ideas/suggestions on building rigging a Carolina rig.

Here's what I'm thinking.
  1. 2 small, maybe 8lbs. mushroom anchors as weights for the down lines.
  2. A permanent bowline on the other ends, which will get looped through an aft and mid ship cleat.
  3. A 2" SS ring, or maybe even a little bigger on each downline.
  4. The hang line will get tied to the ring on the aft down line, but just strung through the ring on the mid ship down line, allowing both lines to slide freely.
  5. A shackle on the other end of the hang line that will get attached to the anchor line.
What size line should I use?
Is there anything in here that sounds like a bad idea for any reason?
Or any suggestions that may work better than what I'm planning?

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Old 08-04-2009, 18:51   #2
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Was not sure of the nomenclature so I did a search on and they had a charter operator w a good diagram. I dove out of Glocester on some wrecks and it was a handy rig for getting to and fro. They used a zinc pipe about 15 feet long w a rope going through it. It was very stable even in rough seas.

A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, he said, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. But we do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again.

J.M.Synge, in The Aran Islands
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Old 08-04-2009, 18:56   #3
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I think your design will work, but what is the purpose? I have never seen such a rig on a dive boat. Dive boats I have been on simply hang a tank or two from the stern and divers can usually find the anchor line by themselves. If the divers need the hang lines connected to the anchor line to find it, they should not be in the water alone.

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Old 08-04-2009, 19:09   #4
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Jentine, I'm going to guess most of your diving has been limited to warmer Caribbean waters?

In the North East all dive boats have at least a granny line (single line running from the stern to the anchor line), and further South on the East coast the Carolina rig is more common.

Finding the anchor line in warm clear water is easy, but in cold Atlantic water with the potential layer of pea soup just below the surface, it's a whole different story, especially if there's current present.

But honestly it's more about making it easier and safer than it is about needing it to find the line. Especially when diving in current or rough conditions.
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Old 08-04-2009, 20:02   #5
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Boomp, That's a pretty good idea. If I had a bigger boat and/or was starting a charter I might go with something like that. The problem is for just diving off my own boat, that's going to be a pretty big piece of pipe, that will be hard to store when not in use.
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Old 14-04-2009, 10:32   #6
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It's a crutch in my opinion for all those tourist types that dive once or twice a year in the carib and really need to work on their skill set a bit more. Why would you need this on your boat? Is it so long and do you dive in such strong currents that you need to hand over hand the anchor line up to this C.R. line and then hand over hand to the back of the boat to get on the ladder? Is this a rig to help the visually impared get back more easily? Hmmm. I thought you just used a Jon line to hang out doing deco.
what if you needed to move or start the boat in a hurry? That rig hangin under there with the prop... an accident waiting to happen in my opinion.
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Old 14-04-2009, 11:53   #7
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Or it's an extra safety margin for an experienced diver when out in unfavorable conditions, or when not diving in calm, clear, warm water.

I'm with you on just how bad some diver's skills are. Those types annoy the **** out of me, well and sometimes really entertain me. I'll often blow past all the cattle hanging on the line and do a free ascent just to keep away from them...and to beat them back to the boat.


You're not going to see too many, if any, once a year tourist types diving off Jersey.

No, not necessarily hand over hand, although it has been known to happen, but we are talking about diving further off shore and in potentially unfavorable conditions.

Minimum is usually about 5 miles out, I'd say 10 is probably the average, with many dives also in the 20 mile range.

Potential for current, but more likely surge and/or high seas. I saw a buddy get caught in such a strong surge on a wreck once that from below it looked like he was reenacting a scene from a Kung Fu movie. (Rolled over the top and blown right over the other side.)

Sometimes a layer of as we like to call it pea soup, close to the surface making the lines, the boat, the surface, the wreck, the bottom of the ocean all hard to see until you're pretty close.

Cold water, while in the summer often very hot on the surface, adding more potential for fatigue and or heat exhaustion. I was once out where it was mid 90s on the surface, low 50s at depth, with 5' seas. Most of the divers bailed on the second dive simply because of heat exhaustion.

Doesn't matter how good your skills are or how big and strong you are, when conditions suck you're going to get tossed around like a rag doll. This rig simply makes it safer, easier, and faster to get out of unfavorable surface conditions.

So, if we're talking Caribbean, I'll agree it is kind of a crutch, but up here if a boat doesn't have at least a granny line then it's an accident waiting to happen.

The Carolina rig is even better, because in high seas, it allows you to easily get down and out of the way of a rolling boat. I have a friend who dives the Empress every year, who's actually making one for the boat they use. He told me the biggest reason for aborted dives are people getting the **** kicked out of them by the boat on the surface.

One of my first local dives I bailed on, after I started hyperventilating at 15' and couldn't get any air from my reg. Although I was a newbie and nervous, to this day I think the biggest cause was just exhaustion from descending along a granny line in rough seas, while trying not to get slammed by a rolling boat, and eventually getting my bailout tangled in the granny line, which was hard to avoid due to the degree to which I was getting tossed around. A Carolina rig would have allowed me to drop straight down, to 15-20 feet without getting caught in that line, and I very likely would have completed that dive. No, there wasn't much current, but doing a free descent, in 70', 7 miles out, in not the greatest vis, at night is just stupid.

Maybe I'm overdramatizing, there are many days where it's beautiful out there. Calm seas and great vis. But it can change fast, and the conditions I noted above aren't uncommon. So do you plan for those nice days or do you prepare for the worst?

Lastly - I'm a cat with a single i/o, so it's very unlikely the rig would get caught in my prop.

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