|Fortunately, I have been doing a lot of California Channel Islands boat diving lately and enjoying it immensely. Not only am I involved in my journalistic activities onboard, I have also have been doing a lot of observations of people's behavior on dive boats. For the most part, California divers are a very skilled and courteous bunch. On a recent three-day trip we had 32 divers aboard a boat with just two heads and everybody got along just fine and we all had a great time. In the few weeks previous, however, I have observed some, shall I say, annoying habits that we divers need to change:
- Please don't plug in cell phones into the battery charging station meant for camera batteries. Hey, who gets cell phone reception at the islands anyway and aren't those batteries supposed to last at least a day or two (especially if they're OFF!)?
- Cameras do not belong stored on places where people need to eat.
- Dive gear, drysuit underwear, log books, etc. do not belong on the camera table.
- Do not walk around on deck with your fins on. You will likely fall and most likely on somebody else or on their gear.
- If you arrive on the boat the night before, keep the noise down. Others are already in their bunks trying to sleep.
- Along the same line, keep quiet in the bunkroom at night as your fellow divers are napping. (We were once on a dive trip where somebody thought it funny to stick their head into the bunk room and yell "abandon ship!" to announce it was time to dive.)
- Don't spread out your dive gear. Keep it neatly condensed at your dive station or in your bag. Gear is less likely to get lost or broken. After you place your tank in its station, deflate the BC, fold in the straps and move in the hoses so that your assembly takes up as little room as possible. Not only is this a courtesy to your neighbor, it will prevent your gear from being damaged.
- Be careful where you hang wet towels, drysuits and wetsuits. You don't want to be saturating somebody's nice warm jacket.
- A little common courtesy goes a long way: Please, Thank You, and Excuse Me should be on your lips often, especially with the crew.
- Don't forget to tip the crew. If they have done a good job, 10 percent of the cost of the trip is customary. If they did a great job, make it 15 percent.
- Be careful with the heavy gear. Secure tanks so they do not fall on other's feet or gear.
- If you are a single diver, don't take a double bunk unless you are sure it is available.
- Don't use somebody else's bunk as a staging area for your stuff.
- A freshwater camera rinse is for just that and that only. Do not rinse your mask, regulator or wetsuit there.
- If you spit in your mask to defog, don't dip your mask in the same mask rinse water as everybody else's. Nobody wants to rinse their mask in your spit.