Tom’s Tips For Diving Your Bottom

By Tom Neale, 11/2/2006

  1. Beware stray electrical current. Electricity kills, and if there’s any bad wiring or electric equipment on your boat, a nearby boat, or from shore, it could kill you. That’s why I prefer to dive my bottom out at anchor.

  2. Stay away from pilings. If your boat is in a slip, there will be pilings or a floating dock nearby that may be loaded with barnacles or other shell creatures. These will not only cut you (especially legs and feet as you kick to maneuver your body) but they can carry very serious infections which may require special medical treatment and antibiotics.

  3. Wear protective clothing. A dive suit with long sleeves and legs is best. It keeps you warm and protects you from cuts from barnacles and other sharp objects. Wear tough rubber coated (or similar material) gloves so that barnacles etc. won’t cut your knuckles and hands. It can’t be over emphasized that cuts from underwater growths can become dangerous.

  4. Beware creeping exhaustion and hypothermia. The latter sneaks up on you and you don’t know it until its too late. If the water is cool, watch your watch. Don’t let yourself stay down too long no matter how well you’re feeling.

  5. Have a mate on deck to help and watch you. This person should also be looking for signs of exhaustion and hypothermia.

  6. Wear a head hood. This protects your scalp from cuts as your head brushes against the bottom. But also it significantly decreases heat loss.

  7. There are many safety considerations when you work on the bottom of your boat underwater. A few examples follow. Wear a diving knife. Hang lines over from boat to hold onto. Make sure there’s an easy way to get out of the water. Take extreme caution to avoid having any part of your diving gear get caught on things like the prop, and know what to do if this happens.

  8. If you’re going to be doing work down there, you’ll find that diving weights help. You won’t have to spend so much energy staying down. But, as with all other aspects of being in the water, you MUST know how to use these, how much to use, and have a high quality quick release weight belt. Don’t load on so many weights that you have negative buoyancy. Proper amount of weight will vary, not only with different people, but for the same person if, for example, he wears a different thickness of dive suit or is in water of a different degree of salinity.

  9. Don’t do this if you aren’t physically fit to do it, are a good swimmer, and have the requisite diving skills and training. Take a certified scuba diving course, even if you don’t use scuba equipment. There are many safety issues that you’ll learn about and will be better able to deal with if you take one of these courses. You should also learn relevant skills and acquire needed strength and stamina, or learn that this isn’t for you.

Diving is risky, as is boating and most water sports. Any comments herein should be followed at your own risk. You assume all responsibility for risk or injury to yourself or others. Any person or entity that uses this information in any way, as a condition of that use, agrees to waive and does waive and also hold authors harmless from any and all claims which may arise from or be related to that use.

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Copyright 2004-2010 Tom Neale