Inflatable boats are one of the most accessible boats for avid divers since they’re compact and affordable. Learn how to safely dive from them.
As a scuba diver, you want to be under the water, not on top of it. However, one of the best ways to get under the water is from a boat. Many scuba divers decide to invest in their own boat so they can take it onto the water and dive whenever they want, and inflatable boats are great options. They are compact and affordable, but you can still fit a few divers and their gear on board. As you consider making this purchase, consider the following inflatable boat safety tips for scuba divers.
Choose a Rigid Inflatable Boat With a Keel
Inflatable boats come in all shapes and sizes with various features, so it can feel overwhelming to wade through these options and find the best boat for you. But since you want to use the boat for scuba diving, you can narrow down your selection. For example, one of the things to consider before buying an inflatable dingy boat is the structure. As a scuba diver, you should choose a rigid structure. Rigid inflatable boats offer more stability as you enter and exit the water. You should also choose a boat with a keel. The keel underneath the boat provides stability on open, choppy water, which you can expect when diving in the ocean.
Get and Check the Anchor at the Start of Your Dive
One reason many divers choose inflatable dingy boats is because they want to dive without having to pay a whole boat crew. However, you should never dive alone. If you’re going with a fellow diver, though, that leaves no one to manage the boat. While you can leave the boat floating with a tracking device, anchoring your boat is best. An anchored boat will stay in one place, so you can easily find it at the end of your dive. And no matter how familiar you are with your boat and anchor, always check it at the start of your dive. After the check, you can enjoy your dive without worrying about your boat getting lost in the current.
Prepare for a Deep-Water Exit
Another important safety tip to follow when diving from your inflatable boat is knowing how to properly exit the water. Because you bought your boat, you don’t have to pay a crew, but this means you also don’t have a crew to assist your exit. To exit the water without help, the best method is the traditional deep-water exit. Stage yourself on the side of the boat and switch to your snorkel. Remove your weight system and scuba rig and place them in the boat. Grab onto the side of the boat as high as you can, sink into the water, and then simultaneously kick and pull yourself over the side of the boat. If you’ve never done this technique before, practice it in calm water before getting out into choppy water.
Following these safety tips for scuba divers on inflatable boats is important if you’ve never dived from an inflatable boat before. Before you purchase your inflatable boat, ask if anyone in your diving community already has one. You can practice diving from their boat to make sure it’s a good fit for you.