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Bottom times

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New Member
May 12, 2004
In recent years I have noticed more and more dive boat operators announcing the allowed bottom times for dives.

Excuse me?!

I don't think so!

My $500+ computer says I can have 48 minutes on this dive site...and your deck hippie is telling me that the limit is a strictly enforced 30 minutes? After I've paid you $60 plus tank rental and air (or NitrOx!) fills to bring me out here?

This has to end. Join me in asking, firmly and politely, when you call a dive charter operator what their policy is on bottom time. If I can do a non-deco dive and my computer says I am within limits, then I expect to get my full time underwater. Period.

What I have learned amounts to no less than theft by operators. Many schedule, for example, three four-hour trips in a day. Usually 7am - 11am, 11am - 3pm, 3pm - 7pm. There is nothing built in for turnaround times at the dock. So...we divers get to pay for it in shorter dive times and someone's trip--most likey everyone's--is being cut short.

Refuse to charter them until you fully get what you pay for.

NitrOx divers--especially those who enjoy low gas consumption rates--should be absolutely outraged!

Best regards!
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Enforced bottom times

hi there Tiger from Harvard

It's got nothing to do with the no-deco limits.

It's got to do with two things, money and safety -
Money - how many divers they can get into the water per day?
- if you restrict the bottom times you can rally everyone back on the boat and get the next lot in. I agree with you on this point .
I agree that 30mins is a disgustingly short time to pay for a dive. We have 60mins max dive time here in on liveaboards and dives from resort boats, here in Maldives.

My experience in the Caribbean however, was that average person's air consumption only just lasted a 35/40min dive with a max depth of 100ft in any case.

Safety - if the dive operator stipulates a max bottom time and someone doesn't come up after that time (say in your case 30mins) then the divemaster should be on alert or start looking..

If you have paid for two-tank trips then the stipulated bottom times with the surface interval required are for obvious reasons.

If you're diving with EANx and they still require you to dive the same bottom time as everyone else on air you still benefit. You have a safer and more conservative dive.

Normally people who can afford to buy 500USD+ dive computers and all the gear, don't find 60$ an expensive dive.

It's likely that your "Deck Hippie" is also wearing a 500USD+ dive computer, but puts his money where his mouth is as well.


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Bottom Police

When I think about this situation, Seinfeld's famous Soup Nazi comes to mind. You pay your money...he determines the level of service you get (if any).

I have carefully considered your points. I agree that it is "about money." That is only too obvious.

I have to disagree that it is about safety. While "safety" makes a convenient argument for positing, it is too often hollow and put forth, basically, to back down the questioning party. "Safety" seems to be the patriotism of diving. If you need to score influence, bring in safety--no one dares argue against safety!

We have very conservative dive tables and computers. We have NitrOx. We have safety stops, ascent rates that are half what they used to be, and we will soon add a mid-point safety stop.

I would argue that safety regarding DCS is well covered. Further, why not go a step further and say that the bottom time allowed by the Deck Nazi (promoted from anarchistic Deck Hippie to an organized state of control) is reduced from, say, 30 minutes to 15 minutes. Hey! It's all in the name of safety! (and...ka ching!)

Nope. I shall dive with those who allow me to dive the full extent of my allowable underwater time. I value my health and life far more than any dive operator values his or her liability insurance. I can make my own decisions, thank you.

As for the money and my ability to pay. Whether $60 USD is a significant amount for me to pay or not has nothing to do with the question. They charge a price and I pay it. I want what I pay for. I just don't get the point about "ability to pay." Should I be rewarded more bottom time if $60 is a true sacrifice for me? And less if it's a completely expendible amount? Or...if it's not a big deal for me to pay it, should I just shut up and be happy with what I get?

Sorry, no. I shall not shop where the Soup Nazi is serving.

Your reply has peaked my interest in a far more pleasant topic. I shall sleep tonight dreaming of the Maldives!

Best regards and safe diving!
dreams of Maldives

Seinfeld.. yeah that's one thing we don't see out here.

As a matter of interest, what is the operator's take on the matter? did you approach them about it?

Mid-point safety stops... tell me more. I have been doing safety stops every 1ATA since i started diving, at least a minute on each level. Would be interested to hear about the new theories on stops for recreational diving, as we don't get much coverage here and only a few priceless moments to spend searching the net, unfortunately.

I would have thought that you knew up front what you were getting before you pay your bucks to an operator. (is this in the US where you were diving, just interested to know).

The "ability to pay" was slightly snide I guess (my apologies). Only that the comment about the cost of your computer probably triggered that one off.. most people browsing these forums know what they cost. I guess being a deck-hippie-nazi-dominatrix myself, i know what it feels like to have guests on board who constantly talk about how much they paid for their equipment but when you see the quality of their diving skills it doesn't quite correlate. :) Gets annoying sometimes. :)

Your last point about not shopping where the nazi soup is served... surely you find out the flavour of the soup before you try it?

Yyou're right about your dreams tonight. Maldives is quite something to dream about. If you fancy some long dives (mostly drift dives) there are some good liveaboards about.

www.manthiri.com (great maldivian divemaster with 20 years experience)
www.sultansoftheseas.com (local and german divemasters)



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What a beautiful image! (And the one of the fish ain't bad, either!).

As for the safety stop, I am hearing that NAUI is or is about to make a one-minute safety stop half-way up one's ascent (from the deepest depth) part of their training. Perhaps a NAUI person who is "in the know" will enlighten us herein. It fits with the RGBM theories I've been reading -- very interesting stuff.

Oh, and I don't mind the remarks about the cost of equipment. I am emphasizing, albeit weakly, that it seems absurd to spend money on computers to maximize your dive time...and then have your bottom times dictated for you.

I can easily imagine a shop selling a computer with the pitch of how it will allow longer and safer diving. And then, the same shop taking the same diver out and telling him that he is limited to so-and-so bottom times. Ironic. And not unimaginable.

Did I confront the charter? Yep. They said that's their policy...and that it's based on safety. Not. I now dive with another boat and one of the deck hands who used to work for the Dive Nazi place said their pay was based on divers in the water per day -- as you suggested in your original post.

We all knew as much. I'd just have appreciated an honest answer. (Why is it everyone hides behind "safety" to explain business policy?).

The operators with whom I have had experience with these things are a handful in the Gulf Coast (panhandle) area of Florida and in the Florida Keys. It's not too hard to find a charter that'll let you dive your complete dive if you ask around. I just don't want this practice to get traction and become the norm.

Back to safety stops: I find your practice of a short stop every 1ATA interesting.
1ata stops

my first instructor taught me that.. a one minute stop every 10m on the ascent.

she was safety mad - her father was a commercial diver and passed away doing his job.. i reckon she was pretty hung on safety after that.

the second person to reiterate that was Dan Hodgins . (hi Dan!) my instructor in Cayman. he taught me through the first part of my technical training and we applied it to all of our dives.

i have used it more and more ever since, especially as the dives down here can be quite strenous sometimes (v. strong currents).

hey come visit, it's manta and whale shark season in south Ari Atoll..


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