Boat Diving Safety

Fly the flag.

Whether it's a liveaboard, commercial charter, private boat or even a kayak, divers often use boats to reach their dive destinations. They are our means of accessing most of the dive sites we love to explore. As you set out to take your giant stride into the depths, keep these safety tips in mind.

  • Make sure you have appropriate equipment to respond to an emergency, such as first aid kits, oxygen units, a means of contacting emergency medical services (cell phone, satellite phone, VHF, etc), and the training to handle an emergency situation. If diving from a private boat, these are all essential steps to take to ensure your safety.

  • When you're invited onboard, assemble and secure your gear as directed and stow your remaining equipment to avoid creating tripping hazards.

  • Pay close attention to the boat procedure briefing as well as the dive briefing. They will contain important safety elements, such as entering and exiting the water, using the head, navigational details, maximum depths, currents, visibility and marine life.

  • Check out and check in. Prior to entering the water, make sure you notify someone and check in with them when you return. If you are on a private boat, make sure someone knowledgeable of boat procedures and dive safety stays topside to tend to the boat. .

  • Communicate with the boat operator and support staff.

  • Be sure to verify the boat is stable and propellers are not turning when entering and exiting the boat, particularly when operating from a live boat.

  • Be aware of boat traffic. Always use a dive flag or a marker buoy to signal to boaters that you are in the water. Both during ascent and when on the surface, maintain awareness of boat traffic; you can be difficult to see.

  • When you enter the water, make sure the water is clear before you jump in and move away from the exit point to allow other divers to enter.

  • When you return from the dive, safely clear the reentry point as other divers will likely be ascending as well.

  • Always take a sufficient surface interval. Use this time to stay hydrated, reapply sunscreen, relax and talk to your fellow divers.

No matter what craft you use to reach a dive site, make sure you take the proper steps to ensure your safety.