DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions

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Loading and Stowing Gear

The type of dive trip will determine what type and how much dive gear is necessary to bring. If the dive will be a one-tank afternoon dive in warm water or if it will be an offshore five-day technical diving expedition will make all the difference in how you load and stow dive gear on the boat. Divers need to be considerate of others when bringing gear on board a boat. Find out ahead of time if there are space restrictions; this will help in your packing and selection. Most boats do not allow dive gear of any kind, wet or dry, in the cabin, bunkroom, stateroom, or designated dry areas. Pack dry gear separate from wet gear.

ad:media]Loading gear onto the boat requires attention. You would be amazed how many divers have left something on the dock because they were distracted during the loading process. It may be necessary to make multiple trips on and off the boat to load gear. Many marinas have dock carts that passengers can use to transport gear from vehicles to the boat. Take advantage of these courtesies, but be considerate and return the carts when finished. If no cart is available, carry your gear to the boat in the safest way possible. Docks can be wet and slippery, keep this in mind, and remember that many docks are floating and may rock side to side as you walk on them.
Once the crew has provided information on where to stow you gear, it is time to start bringing gear on board and stowing it properly. Bring the gear in stages with an idea of where it will go before you bring it on board. Use caution when carrying gear on board while using ramps or when stepping from the dock to the boat. If the gear can be handed to someone who is already on the boat, do so carefully, making sure he or she has a good grip on it before you release it.

Secure your dry gear in the appropriate places. If you are on a liveaboard or other vessel that has sleeping accommodations, load that area first. Be aware that you may be sharing that area with others. Put your belongings on the bunk. Any hard cases can be placed on the deck next to the bunk or in appropriate storage areas if provided. Once you have put away the dry gear, come back to it later for final set up and unpacking.

Next, head back to the main deck to set up and secure your dive equipment. It is best to set up the scuba unit completely on the cylinder. Inspect the cylinder valve to ensure it has an O-ring. If you will be using oxygen enriched air (nitrox), make sure that you have personally analyzed or witnessed the gas analysis. Once you know the oxygen percentage of the mix, put that information on the cylinder contents label. That information will be used when you program your dive computer. If you will be using air, then no further analysis is necessary.

Next attach the scuba regulator, connect low-pressure inflator hoses, secure the alternate air source and gauges, and proceed to turn on the valve slowly. Make sure the cylinder has been filled to its rated pressure and the regulator is working properly by breathing on it for a few breaths. If your BCD system uses weights that are integrated, install them now. Once you are confident that the equipment is set up and properly working, turn off the cylinder valve and ensure the entire scuba rig is secure to the cylinder rack. Once the scuba rig is set up, secure the rest of your equipment as needed, and put gear bags and bins in the space assigned by the crew.

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