It’s 6:15 in the morning. The crowds are amassing around Slip 23 at Ma’alaea Harbor (okay not really crowds since we only take 16). The crew has been busy prepping the boat for the last hour (and you thought 6:15 was early!) and it’s time to start filling out the paperwork, sizing folks for fins and weights and checking certification cards. If you’re a certified diver, it’s a good idea to make sure you have your card before leaving home! During this early morning process, it’s best not to board the boat unless asked to by the crew; they are hustling around the vessel setting up your gear, pulling weights for you, and will invite you aboard when it’s time.
Once everyone’s checked in, the captain will commence with his briefing. You may think you’ve heard it all before, but every operation has slightly different procedures, so tune in and that way you’ll know just what to expect for the rest of the day. Note: most captains try to add a little humor to the briefing. It helps to laugh at the jokes, even if they aren’t that funny! That puts the Captain in a good mood which in turn will help make your trip more enjoyable!
Once the boat briefing is complete, the crew will welcome you aboard and head out for a great day of diving. While in the harbor, passengers must remain seated, but once the boat clears the harbor entrance, passengers will have free reign of the boat. Remember to treat ladders as ladders and not as steps. That means you should face them going up and down (yep, this is in the briefing).
On your cruise to the dive site, you will receive another briefing – this time from your dive guide. Again, you’ll want to listen to and remember this briefing, especially if you have never been out on the boat. One of the most common things that is forgotten from the briefing is how to get off and back on the boat. Here’s the skinny for the Maui Diamond II. We use the giant-stride entry to get off the boat. The important things to remember before taking that giant stride are to make sure you have air in your BCD, place your right hand over your regulator and mask, use your left hand to hold your gauge consol, look straight out take one giant step forward and for goodness sakes, do NOT hop, skip, or jump. If you do, you could do some serious damage to the old noggin.
During this briefing, your guide will also fill you in on (and even show you pictures of) what you can expect to see. About 25% of the fish you will see here are endemic to Hawaiian waters; that means you won’t see these critters anywhere else! Of course, briefings can be interrupted at any time to check out whales or dolphins!
Once underwater, a good practice is to stay behind and a little above your guide. Make sure you look around and not just down at the reef and if you spot a manta or a shark, it doesn’t count unless you get a picture or have a witness, so be generous and share your sightings with your dive buddies.
Be prepared to let your guide know how much air you have left when he asks. If you find you are low on air, make sure to let your guide know. Remember, as certified divers, you are responsible for keeping track of your own air and no-decompression time. If there is ever any question, let your guide know.
Once the dive is complete, it’s time for the safety stop…15 feet for 3 minutes. If there’s a mooring line, go ahead and use it! After the safety stop, remember to do a normal ascent and to inflate your BCD upon reaching the surface. If the ladder is clear, grab onto it with a straight arm while you take off your fins and hand them to a crew member. Remember, do not grab the ladder until the person before you has gotten COMPLETELY on the boat. You don’t want to be on the ladder if they happen to fall back down. Put both feet on the bottom step, grab the ladder with two hands and proceed to get back on the boat. A crew member will be there to assist and direct.
Once on board, you will get some snacks, talk about all the cool stuff you saw and head to the next dive site to do it all over again! If you’ve never been diving or snorkeling from the Maui Diamond II, now is the time! If you have already been out with us, we look forward to seeing you again soon!
General Boat Diving Tips:
- Wait to be invited to board the boat.
- Bring only what you need; leave hard gear cases in your car.
- Remember your certification card! Without it, you may not be able to dive.
- Label your equipment ahead of time. Black booties and fins and GoPro cameras all look the same!
- Listen carefully to the briefings; they’ll make your trip better.
- Remember, no paper products in the marine head; it’s not the same as the toilet you use at home.
- Monitor your own air and no-deco time and make sure you know how to use your computer before entering the water.
- Stay hydrated!
- Log your dive! Most dive operations will also have stamps or stickers for your log book.
- Take your time gathering your possessions at the end of the trip to make sure you collect all of your items and none of anyone else’s.
Got a great tip of your own to share? We’d love to hear it, so please post it here!
p.s. You can click HERE to read a previous Boat Diving post.