Choosing a dive charter is one of the most important decisions you’ll make if you’re about to embark on a dive-centric trip. Most importantly, you should research the boat’s safety procedures, and the owner’s vision of safety. There are different regulations for dive boats across the world. Review these standards, even if just briefly, so that you’ll have a more relaxed, and safer, experience. Here we’ve offered a few tips when it comes to choosing a dive charter.
Does the boat conduct any type of people count? One of the biggest worries — especially among newer divers — when it comes to diving in large charter boats or liveaboards, is that the boat will leave them behind. Although this rarely occurs, it has quite famously happened a few times. It is easy to prevent by simply conducting a head count via roll call or some other means. All reputable dive boats will conduct a head count before and after every dive until the trip is completed. Some dive boats perform head counts by handing divers a medallion to clip to their equipment; others simply call everyone’s name. Either way it’s a must.
Where does the boat store the first aid and oxygen kits? As surprising as it may sound, some dive operations do not follow these standards, so it falls on you as a responsible, certified diver (of any level) to ensure that these items are on the boat and find out where they are should you need them. Most dive guides explain this information in detail during their briefing, but if not, find out where they are and if they’re in good working order before you head out for the day. In some locations, the boat brings the kit to the dive site, while it may be standard in other places to keep the supplies back on land. Understanding this information before diving can reduce any risks that may have been preventable.
What do the reviews say? One of the easiest ways to get information about a particular dive boat is to simply read the reviews. Of course, every establishment (diving or non-diving related) has some reviews that do not represent the location accurately, but if the general consensus of reviews speaks of how well-organized, polite, and informative the staff was, chances are you’re picking an excellent charter. Spending only 10 minutes checking reviews can determine whether your experience is fantastic or a headache.
Remember, diving is a fun, relaxing sport. But as with any extreme sport, there are safety risks. Choosing a dive charter that focuses on your safety minimizes the risk and maximizes the fun.