Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
August 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

Who Are the Rudest Divers?

the slow ones? or those who have to wait for them?

from the August, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Back in November 2017, we published some commentary from Michael and Jan Lewis' (Vonore, TN) reader report about Ocean Frontiers in Grand Cayman. They described rude divers who dove for 75 to 80 minutes, leaving other divers waiting at the surface in the boat. And they pointed out that the extended dive times might be unfair to the day boat crews who don't get time for lunch, as it was for some passenger divers who had to miss lunch back at the resort in order to make the afternoon dive.

In response to this, J.D. Haines (Port St. Lucie, FL), a member of the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, observed, "It is those divers who would rather shop or go out to lunch between dives, causing everyone else's dive to be shortened to accommodate them, who are rude. When I spend my limited discretionary income on a dive trip, I am going to dive, not to shop, not to go out to restaurants. If you want to [do those activities], skip the afternoon dive. Don't insist that everyone else shorten what may be a productive photography dive for you.

"One of my pet peeves has been the trend of shortening bottom times to accommodate these rushed schedules, and to dumb down the diving to accommodate inexperienced, unskilled divers. If I heard that a dive resort started limiting your bottom time to a strictly enforced time limit of an hour, I would never, ever, travel there to dive."

Mike Boom (Oakland, CA) was expansive in his response. "My wife and I dove with Ocean Frontiers last March, and one of the reasons we picked them is that they don't limit dive times. They don't tell you to come up after 60 or 65 minutes, so perhaps those so-called rude divers were just customers getting some good dives in as promised. If the boat told divers to come up at a certain time, and divers ignored it, knowing they'd inconvenience everyone else, then yes, they were rude. But when we were there, that wasn't the case.

"Dive-time limits are a big issue with us. We find that more resorts and boats are limiting dive times, often to as little as 50 minutes. My wife and I are sometimes able to dive for as long as 75, 80 minutes or longer on a tank in good conditions, and we like to get as much time on a dive as we can. Time underwater is the big reward for all the money, effort and travel time we put in to get to dive sites. It takes work to get in the water each time, and the pain/pleasure ratio goes up as dive time limits shrink. To arbitrarily cut down on dive times makes no sense to us, and we actively avoid any dive businesses that unnecessarily restrict dive times."

Of course, there are good reasons to restrict dive times, says Boom. "Safety during slack currents may only last for a limited time, a boat may be on a schedule to hit a number of sites in a day, or a boat may have to get back by a certain time for crew, meals or other events. But there are an equal number of bad reasons. Often, dive boats just don't want to work that long. Or a dive operation claims safety, when it's actually easier to get bent with 50 minutes at deep depths than it is with 80 minutes in the shallows.

"One resort we stayed at in Fiji would let you stay down 60 minutes instead of 50 if you paid for their Nitrox, because they claimed it was safer. Or there are bureaucratic park or governmental rules, as in Cabo Pulmo in Baja California, for example, which arbitrarily restrict dive times."

There's no getting away from the fact that people who make short dives are left twiddling their thumbs on the boat as they wait for longer divers to come up, Boom adds. "If the seas are really pitching or divers are sitting in boiling sun, it can be very uncomfortable. But operations can take steps to avoid that, with more comfortable boats; a round-robin of skiffs shuttling between a site and a liveaboard; by putting longer-duration divers in the water first; and if there are multiple boats, by trying to put longer-time divers in one boat, shorter-time divers in another. I know that takes some work, but we appreciate and patronize the businesses that take the time to do it."

Boom opts for liveaboards over shore-based operations when possible to get longer dive times, "although some liveaboards now restrict dive times. Good shore dives at a resort can be great for really long dive times with maximum freedom. And California dive boats are great: The gate goes up, the pool is announced open, and what you do after that is completely up to you.

"I'm curious to see what other divers think of dive time limits and ways to work with them."

We are, too. What do you think? When it comes to setting dive times, what are your priorities and what should be sacrificed? We'd like to hear all points of view. Write to

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2024 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.