by Ron Czerniak
Dive New Zealand Magazine has set out to do a series of boat reviews, specifically focused on how well a given boat meets the demands of a spear-fisher and/or SCUBA diver.
For comparative purposes, and in order to remain completely objective, whether reviewing a trailer boat, RIB (Ridged-hull Inflatable Boat), power launch, sailboat or whatever other floating vessel a diver chooses to dive from, we will always consider the following ten ‘must have’ features required for any good dive boat:
- Good water entry
- Easy water exit/ladder/hand holds
- Tank storage/holders (suitable for various size dive cylinders)
- Under floor or other gear bag storage areas
- Spear gun storage/racks
- Dry storage area(s)
- Gearing up area to be suitable and practical for a minimum of two divers
- Self draining cockpit for easy wash down
- Fish filleting/seafood preparation/bait board
- Electronics/instrumentation to include GPS and Depth Sounder.
Other features that would be desirable but not necessarily essential:
- Toilet (head)
- Fresh water shower (preferably with hot as well as cold water)
- Basic cooktop and galley sink
- Automatic anchor windlass (depending on boat size)
- Weather protection in helm area (canvas or hard top)
- Drink holders
- Practical duck board
- Live bait tank
- Walk through transom
- Room for chilly bin/ice chest.
Any other features in addition to the above, which make the dive experience that much safer and more enjoyable, will also be evaluated in assessing the overall suitability of a given vessel. It goes without saying that any boat should also be equipped with essential navigation equipment, lights, flares, life jackets, First Aid Kit, etc.
Therefore, in this article and subsequent future articles, we will also offer ‘opinionated’ constructive feedback to the public and the boat builder as to how a ‘good’ dive boat, if such be the case, could become a ‘great’ dive boat, with the main focus on diving features rather than on other features for alternative on the water adventures.