Having used both, I prefer scuba. Just my preference. Hoses get all tangled and caught on crap. I just bought a full face mask and comm gear so I can talk to the surface. Can't wait to try it out! I should be home toward the end of Sept and my bottom needs cleaning
, and I got to do some shaft and strut work, too. And GF boat needs cleaning
as well. The full face mask I think will make this a lot easier. I hate having a reg mouthpiece in my mouth for more than 15 minutes or so. Combined with the dry air, it has me almost gagging sometimes by the time an 80 is getting low.
When I tried hookah I was not using any sort of BC, just a few lead weights on a weight belt, but when you get it right, if you stay at keel depth
or less, your lungs provide acceptable neutral bouyancy capability. I never tried hookah deeper than the marina which is max about 15 or 16 feet I think. I suspect at 40 or 50 feet you would be pretty negative even with fully inflated lungs. Not an issue for just boat work, though.
There IS depth limitation, according to the pressure and volume that the rig can supply. You need more pressure at greater depth. With two divers the problem is particularly notable.
There are a lot of skills and bits of knowledge that a hookah diver really really needs to know. Just because you don't need to be certified doesn't mean you don't need the knowledge and techniques. I strongly recommend at the minimum downloading all of the youtube videos of PADI pool certification
exercises and reading everything you can get your hands on about skin diving
. Little things, like holding your breath on ascent or ascending too fast, or not taking a safety
stop after going to the bottom and staying there for more than a few minutes, things like that, can get you into a world of trouble. Just ordering a Brownie on Amazon and jumping in the water
is kind of a really really bad idea.
As many of the PADI certification
skills as are applicable at all, should be practiced in shallow, clear water
with your new hookah, with another diver present. Actually getting certified might be considered overkill, but it will arm you with a lot of knowledge that could save your life.
Try your new rig out at the shallow end of a pool. Weight yourself so that with full lungs you can float without treading water with the top of your head
to your eyes out of the water. When you exhale you should sink. When you inhale you should unsink. Adjust your weights properly to achieve this. Do all the exercises... purge reg and mask, drop mask and recover it, swim without mask, drop reg and recover it, practice bouyancy, buddy breathe, all that stuff. Panic-proof yourself before you bail over the rail from your boat into deep water.
All this goes double if you elect to go scuba without certification. At some point, without practice, you probably WILL panic, likely the first time you enter the water and don't have a clue about bouyancy and stuff, or lose your reg when the hose snags on a piling bolt, or get tangled up in crap, or get your eardrums squeezed, or flood your mask, or even lose a flipper or get lost
underwater. Yes, it is possible to get lost in the water if you don't have a clue. Especially in murky marina water with near zero visibility. It is possible to DIE in the water if you don't have all of the clues. 6 feet down is only marginally safer than 60 feet down. With proper training
, scuba diving
or hookah diving are probably statistically about as dangerous as golfing or playing chess. So do get some training
, and even good self training with a buddy is better than no training at all.
But that's all off topic I suppose. Back to hookah. There are lots of units available that run off 120VAC, 220, 12VDC, gas engine
, stuff like that. For your own boat you could DIY
something that would run off your engine's PTO if you have one. Filtration is important. Maybe not as important as for SCUBA air, but still pretty darn important. Make sure no CO or other bad stuff can get to the intake of your compressor. A lot of cheap
Chinese ebay stuff gives me the willys, TBH. I suggest you stick with established brands. Brownie has a pretty good track record
. It's like the Bauer Jr of the hookah world. Very popular, high market saturation. They got little floating units you can swim away with.
I would say a hookah rig is VERY practical, even when you usually farm your boat diving jobs out to some guy who does it for a living. And it can be fun, yeah. And so your anchor
simply won't come free, well hey, the marina diver guy didn't go sailing with you. Snorkeling down to where it is hung up might be doable depending on depth and conditions but the hookah would probably be better. Again, I myself prefer SCUBA but hookah has some pros, such as unlimited air supply, (in shallow water) no need to find a place to fill tanks
, and no classes
REQUIRED (but still recommended!). By the time you buy BC, a couple of tanks
, reg and octopus, computer/guages, etc, you have nearly spent what a decent hookah setup costs and you still need to be able to get fills.
Most dive shops do classes
, and most programs have an introductory class for like $30 to $75 thereabouts where you get to actually don gear and breathe underwater for the first time. A great intro to the world of skin diving. And it gives you some initial familiarity with breathing below the surface and being a fish
for just a little while. Being able to discuss equipment
and techniques for working under your boat with a professional instructor is worth a visit to your local dive shop, too.