By Margo Peyton
Researching your next liveaboard dive journey? A Be prepared to ask some tough questions. The tragic accidents that shook the liveaboard industry in 2019 served to remind us that there is no single situate of standards that must be followed by all liveaboards around the world.A Make no premises and do your homework to minimize personal risk and maximize your family enjoyment of whatawith a little up-front researchashould be a fabulous dive vacation.
It is your responsibility to be a competent diver.A So the first questions to ask are of yourself: Are you fit and prepared, both physically and mentally, for liveaboard diving? Are you qualified for the type of diving that is being offered? If the answer is yes, then you can start asking questions of the operator.
Ask about dive gear needs, weights, types of boats, and conditions. Ask what time of year is best for that destination.A Make sure that you are comfy with the guest-to-staff ratio onboard( number of guests versus faculty ). A Personally, I donat dive on barges with more than 16 passengers; I donat like shared bathrooms; and I donat ever go on boats that donat offer professional, active, rescue-trained and up-to-date divemasters( DM) or instructors in the water with me.A A
LiveaboardsA withA kids
I am very strict on my DM to passenger ratios when it comes to family and kids. My minimum is one DM to every five certified divers in the water.A Itas important that you feel comfy with the liveaboard and in the conditions in which you are going to be living and diving.
When you arrive on board, petition a flame drill and make sure systems and alarms are working.A Donat just assume they are.A Ask to see both sides of emergency exits( i.e. not just the emergency door, but also the means of egress beyond ). Have the staff show you how emergency exits open by demonstrating them, so you can make sure they are not blocked or painted shut and working properly and easily. Know where the life jackets are and know where the exits from your cabins are.A Do a little research and find out how many deaths or accidents the operator your thinking about booking with has had.A( Scubaboard, Under Current, and DAN are a few good resources ). A A
Make sure you book with an experienced, trustworthy agent. This is especially important when you have kids along on the trip-up. Your travel agent will be your lifeline if things run sideways. I am available 24/7 to my clients.A My cell is on my card and, believe it or not, I have attained myself available to clients in difficulty on trips that were not even booked through me! A
In 2019 there were some unfortunate and rare accidents in the liveaboard industry, which demonstrated the need for strong emergency procedures.A
Iave made a guideline of safety questions to ask, derived from my 30 years of expertise taking families and kids on both land-based and liveaboard trips around the world, as well as from the experiences of some close friends who have survived close call 😛 TAGEND A How many passengers are accommodated on your boat( s ), and in how many cabins? A How many crew are on the barge? Are they all rescue-trained and proficient with fire drills? A Do you have an emergency contingency plan in place and may I have a copy? A Are your boats inspected and current with all licenses and inspection requirements? A Do you have a sprinkler system and fire detection system on board? A Do you permit charging devises in individual cabins and are Lithium batteries allowed on your vessel? A Do you have fire extinguishers and alarms in all cabins and rooms? A Do you have a mandatory security night watch aboard your barges? A Is there is an emergency contact list for guests with contact both locally and in the main corporate office? A What are your ratios of divers in the water to staff? Are the dive staff professional, certified dive masters& teachers? Prior to booking your liveaboard do your research- only when youare confident in your decision can you let go, enjoy the trip-up, and have fun! Photo: Children Sea Camp