10 Tips to a Successful Wreck Dive

wreck.jpg (11884 bytes)Thanks for signing up for one of our Long Island Groupers Wreck Dives. Wreck Diving is a unique and rewarding type of diving that can be safely done by all divers. However, the unprepared novice wreck diver may not have as good a time as they could. Signing up for a Wreck Dive that you feel comfortable and qualified to go on is just the first step in the proper planning procedure. Here is a list of 10 Tips that will hopefully make your Wreck Diving trip the most enjoyable it can be.

The day before the dive…

  1. Begin taking any motion sickness medication.

    Anyone can become seasick – even if you never were before. It takes a while for the body to build up the level of medication so begin taking it the morning before the dive and according to the instructions. If you wait until you become seasick, any medication taken then will be useless.

    Most over-the-counter motion sickness pills are about the same in effectiveness and side-effects, but if one of them works better for you than the others, stick with it.

    Scopolamine patches do work better than pills and have fewer side effects (on most people). For those who prefer a "natural alternative", try Ginger Root – 250mg taken with each meal. Standardized versions are available at all quality vitamin chains (GNC, Nutrition Warehouse, Vitamin Shoppe, etc.)

    Always consult your doctor or pharmacist for advice and personal recommendations.

  2. Prepare all your equipment well ahead of time.

    Take your time the day before to fully assemble and test all the gear you will be bringing. If you have a problem with something, it’ll be much easier to correct it now than on the boat. Then, make an equipment checklist so you don’t leave anything behind on this trip – or on future trips. Take special precautions when packing expensive gear, photo equipment and your mask. Always remember your C-Card and Logbook.

    Have a Pony Bottle and Regulator setup? We encourage this on all of our Northeast Wreck Dives.

    When Wreck Diving, you’ll need less weight than when Beach Diving, simply because you can use a line to help you get down those first few feet until wetsuit compression kicks in. Good divers are always trying to shed lead. Combining smaller weights that can easily be adjusted, rather than larger "fixed weight" bags, provides flexibility.

  3. Label Everything!

    From fins to masks to weights. There will be lots of activity and similar gear on the boat. The best way to prevent losing something is to have your name on it. It not only makes it easier to identify, it deters theft.

  4. Pack unassembled equipment in mesh gear bags.

    Gear bags are typically stored under benches and those mesh bags from your beginner class work great. They are roomy enough for everything, including wetsuits, and very easy to work in and out of when on the boat.

  5. Get a good nights rest.

    A good day of Wreck Diving is a tiring experience. You may have to get up extra early, drive to the dock, load onto and off the boat, deal with currents, make ladder entries, etc. Being tired contributes to seasickness and can compromise your health, safety and overall enjoyment.

The day of the dive…

  1. Get up early enough to take your time.

    Make sure you’ve estimated how long it takes you to pack your gear into your vehicle, travel to the boat dock, and load your gear onto the boat - then build in some contingency time. What if you get lost or there is traffic? Dive boat Captains wait for no one.

    Confirm boarding time (typically 1 hour before departure) and be ready to board then. If a boat is fully booked, you’ll want to secure a good space early.

    Also, it’s easiest to bring your fully assembled scuba unit (Tank, BC, Pony Bottle and Regulators) on board rather that trying to assemble it on the boat.

  2. Eat light, bland and easily digestible foods.

    Most people feel better with a little bland food in their stomachs. Bread, bagels, pancakes, etc. are better than bacon and eggs but coffee and orange juice are acidic and may irritate your stomach. Eat in moderation.

    Avoid any foods or beverages that may contribute to seasickness the day before and morning of your dive.

    If you are packing a lunch, make it something easily digestible and always bring Lots of Water.

  3. Dry bag

    You’ll need a dry bag to keep your clothes in when diving and store things such as your Logbook, towels and suntan lotion. Don’t overpack - only bring useful necessities.

  4. Tipping

    Most boats have mates that help you enter and exit the water and set or retrieve the hooks on the wreck. There is usually a "Tip Box" located in the cabin somewhere. If you’ve appreciated their help, give a little something. Tips are not included in the cost of day trips unless indicated.

  5. Relax and enjoy

    You’ve made it! Once you have boarded all your stuff and parked your car, the hardest parts are over and you can begin to relax.

    You will need to "sign-in" on the boat, fill out waivers and listen to a boat orientation. After that, sit back and enjoy the ride – you’re going Wreck Diving!