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Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

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  • Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

    I am totally new to boating, but I am a SCUBA diver looking to dive off of San Diego coastline...So looking for a boat. I have a very limited budget unfortunately!

    I need something that can handle the ocean within a couple of miles of the shore, is big enough for a couple of people. And something that is affordable. Suggestions at the cheapest end of the spectrum would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


  • #2
    Re: Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

    It all depends how many people and how many dives per trip! Gear can get heavy and you will need room for tanks. Diving the wrecks off of mission bay does not require a big blue water boat but it can get crazy going out the jetty. Anything 18' and up with decent freeboard will work. The smaller the boat the more you will have to watch the weather. There are plenty of listings on local Craig list. What is your budget? Can't really suggest anything without knowing $$$.

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    • #3
      Re: Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

      Welcome to iboats!

      Stay away from bowriders- most have limited space for the length. At the smaller end of the spectrum, a center console outboard might be a good choice. The greater the deadrise angle, the better the ability to handle rougher seas.
      Bob, Orange County NY
      '88 Bayliner 1700 Capri Bowrider, 85 HP Force O/B, "Sea Weasel"
      Want a vessel safety check? Click here. Want to join the Coast Guard Auxiliary? Click here.
      Disclaimer: Although I am a member of the USCG Auxiliary, the opinions and advice in my replies are my own and do not necessarily reflect CG or CG Auxiliary policy or regulations unless so specified.

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      • #4
        Re: Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

        Great ideas, thanks. I am thinking probably 2 divers, 4 tanks typically. What is a reasonable budget?

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        • #5
          Re: Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

          20 foot (min.), center console outboard. Racks for the tanks. Room for the suits, offshore gear, ladder, radios, EPIRB, etc.
          I'll be blunt. Offshore boating and diving (safely) is not something you want to cut corners on. When I dove in the 1980's, I probably had 25K wrapped up in the boat, motors, and dive gear, plus it's all darn expensive to maintain. I can't imagine what it would cost now to do it the same way.
          Please no PMs. My mailbox is full anyway......

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          • #6
            Re: Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

            Two people at two dives is no problem in a smaller boat. I have dove SD coast for past 20 years and all cool stuff/wrecks are close to shore. Here is my two cents on diving scenarios:
            1- Splash and dash - staring out in boating we used a rigid inflatable to get to dive sights (14' w/40 hp outboard). Great load caring capacity and will handle most San Diego inshore conditions. The down is you must get suited before departing and it could be compared to ruff camping = no frills. Just get out, dive, come home. Unlike other parts of the country you could be wreck diving within 15 minutes from departing the doc.
            2- 1/2 day trips to multiple dive sights = bigger boat with room to change and rest. As you know on multi dives depending on depth and time of first dive you will need surface time . The best boat for this would be a cudy cabin, 20+ feet with good size swim step and deep ladder. Larger boat will also easily allow suspending softy/deco tank if you exceed your depth or time. Two divers planing two dives should have 2 tanks each plus an extra one for an emergency for total of five tanks minimum.
            For equipment a good VHF is a must as well as a good GPS/chart plotter. Preferably a set that communicates your location with the radio. You will never be out of VHF range diving San Diego coastal waters. As to budget remember the less you spend purchasing the more you will spend upgrading and fixing in near future. I've seen good older boats here for 5K, a decent 20+ cudy cabin should set you back min. 10K. Bottom line is get the newest/biggest boat you can afford, there is no substitute for reliability and comfort especially diving mid 60 deg. water - on a warm day. Good luck.

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            • #7
              Re: Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

              Originally posted by tx1961whaler View Post
              20 foot (min.), center console outboard. Racks for the tanks. Room for the suits, offshore gear, ladder, radios, EPIRB, etc.
              I'll be blunt. Offshore boating and diving (safely) is not something you want to cut corners on.
              +1 on this. The only thing I would add would be a small swim platform with a 3-rung ladder. 2-rungs are common, but with hanging dive gear, the extra rung would make entry back into the boat much easier.
              2001 Carver Voyager 374 'Stick's Competition'

              Something tells me I should be on the water....

              If I answer your upholstery questions, it's only because I've been doing it 20+ years...

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              • #8
                Re: Looking for a boat to go ocean SCUBA diving from...

                I dive in Southern California off a 15' Avon inflatable. It's just about the most economical dive boat out there but it's proven to be a great platform for two divers. I've been over to Catalina a few times and becausue it's easy to tow, I've taken it to Northern California and up to Lake Powell in Utah

                Be aware that wind is a big issue with an inflatable as the boat is very uncomfortable traveling at any kind of speed in wind chop. Other than that, you just have to watch the weather forecasts and use good judgment about weather conditions.

                Here's some tips I use to make it easier to dive out of:

                Get a good reliable motor that's been checked out by a mechanic.

                Look for an outboard with a tiller rather than a console so you can get maximum deck space (every inch of deck space is priceless!)

                Before you leave the dock, get half way suited up and set up your first tank. When you arrive at the dive site, hang the tanks over the side of the boat from gear lines and finish suiting up. Get in the water and put your rig on. With a little practice, it's very easy to get in and out of your rig in the water.

                No need for a dive ladder -- it's easy to hop up onto the tubes when you're wearing fins if you're not wearing any weight. I love how stable the boat is -- there's no tipping when you get in/out or move around.

                Get a Pelican tank rack to store tanks upright and save deck space.

                Keep all loose gear stowed in a soft dive bag otherwise the boat will look like a yard sale in about 15 minutes

                I second what others have said about not skimping on the safety gear. I carry a PLB and a SPOT satellite messenger, handheld and fixed VHF radios plus all CG-requiste gear.

                Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions.

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