Posted by Eric Frasco on June 01, 2000 at 13:36:08:
In Reply to: dive flags - Laguna Beach - any rules/regs? posted by Russell on May 31, 2000 at 08:14:05:
LB and Orange County supposedly do not have Dive Flag laws, but supposedly LA County does, but most "Dive Laws" that are on the books are not enforced.
Please keep in mind that two free divers were killed at Catalina Island last year when they were struck by a boat. The boat was piloted by a diver and tragically could not see the free divers.
As an instructor, I can personally attest to the fact that dragging an inflatable float through the kelp is no fun at all. But if you will be surface swimming where there is any boat traffic (anywhere outside the kelp is fairly well travelled by boats and especially JET SKIS), then I would strongly urge you to have some kind of flag marking your location. Your other alternative is to properly use your compass and avoid surfacing outside the kelp line.
Also, consider using some of the other flags available. The hardcore free divers/spear fishermen use a little bouy with a flag that they tow behind themselves, and any one of the Neptunes or Fathomiers dive club members could tell you where to buy one. Also, the Los Angeles County Underwater Instructors all use homemade arrangements that are based on easily available materials, such as an old boogie board. These are easier to tow than inflatable bouys.
If you want to see one of the homemade jobs, attend the next Rips, Rocks, and Reefs at Cabrillo Beach June 17th; you could also stop by GLACD's Booth or LACUIA's Booth at the Scuba Show 2000 this weekend.
Please note: GLACD (www.glacd.org) was concerned about last year's fatalities and is putting together a "Dive Flag Safety/Awareness Program", with intended audiences being divers and boaters. We are currently assembling materials and writing the presentation, and it will include a segment on how to make your own dive flag/surface support float (I am going to get LACUIA guys to write the segment).
Come to one of the GLACD monthly meetings (details posted at the message board on our web site) if you want more information.
President, Greater L.A. Council of Divers
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