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How To Perform A Scuba Diving Boat Entry

Submitted by admin on 2008-12-23 | Last Modified on 2009-01-12

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The boat entry

Practice is the only graceful way of entering the water heavily kitted from the side of a boat.

Resort dive boats average 30 - 50 foot and though they are well-equipped with railings, it's still advisable to leave your fins (and mask) off till last. Don't be surprised if you get seasick, it's just that 'natural orientation' thing.

Once you have decided which of the many elaborate entry dives you wish to employ to enter the water, make sure you are aware of the currents moods so you can orient yourself back to the boat.

Here are your entry options:

1. You will need to clear your ears and have quite a bit of experience for this one: A Pike dive entails getting into the typical pre-dive position, waist bent arms above your head. Your legs are straight, knees not bent and... diving in.

2. A slant dive simply requires dipping down under the surface by ducking your head under and kicking away in normal swim mode accept you will be propelling yourself downward for the descent.

3. A backroll entry requires holding your mask with one hand and weight buckle with the other, so that you can roll back gently into the water without loosing any equipment. Once you hit the water be sure to relax, there will be disorientation as your body allows the BC to get you floating upright again.

4. Giant strides are said to originate from Red Cross trained lifeguards who needed to make sure they didn’t waste a second maintaining eye contact with their targets for as long as possible while entering the water. Hence the primary fixture of eyes on the horizon.

  • After you have performed your buddy check, position on the balls of your feet at the edge of the platform (this is performed on boats equipped as such) and hold your weight buckle with the one hand, put your hand over your regulator with the other so that you can hold it and your mask in place at once as with a backroll entry.
  • Angle your fin tips up for streamlining and push off the edge of the platform with focus on the horizon (not down at the water - prevention is better than cure).
  • Allow your fins then body to pave the way for your face instead of the other way round.
  • Do not enter into an air aerobic starfish position or place your legs together and tuck everything in - its essential that your legs are in 'walking position' until you first make contact with the water, after which it is recommended to do a scissor kick in order to minimize how deep you go down. Watch a giant stride demo on: YouTube

The Exit

Getting back on land can be pretty disorienting as it is - imagine having to climb a 'moving' ladder back onto a boat fully kitted AFTER a dive.

Not all boat dives maintain the same habits, some require you to pass fins, weights and tank up while you are still in the water to ease the return. Just don't get under the boat, for whatever you do.

It's a good idea to make sure there isn't a hoard of divers queuing to get onto the boat before you take your fins off and get your balance and focus with gravity on the ladder. Don't try to follow its tidal motion - instead wait for it to centre itself in front of you.


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