Beach Diving Made Easier (tips/tricks/ideas)

Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by Ed on November 01, 2001 at 10:56:31:

Beaches: We have a lot of them.
They are easily accessible, can go at any time, and it's free. All in all, they are lots of fun.
However, carrying lots of heavy gear to the beach, and making a surf entry (especially if it's a rocky shore with surf action) leaves something to be desired, thus many divers shy away from them.

I thought by starting this thread, we can share some ideas / tips and tricks to make beach diving more desirable.

Here are some of mine:

1) I do all my beach dives with an Alum 30. It weighs next to nothing, it's a joy to carry around all day, and make looooong walks with (still can't believe how light it is!), and it is MUCH LESS bulky, and more streamlined than an Alum 80 or equivalant. Most of my beach dives are relatively shallow (30 feet or less), and although the bottom time is obviously less, it is still plenty for a shallow dive.
My air consumption rate is reduced significantly with an Alum 30 (less drag? less work getting to the beach / diving? I don't know!). It makes surf entries quite a bit easier as well, as balance is kept much better while entering/exiting the water. For the bug hunter, it is truly great! You can make long surface swims with great comfort and little work, snorkle on top of the water until you spot a potential area, then drop down and chase some bugs.

2) Instead of wearing my fins, I carry them around my wrist when entering the water, until I'm in waist deep water, and/or past the surf zone, then I put them on. Much easier to maintain balance, and rapidly go past the surf zone.

3) NOT recommended for everyone, but... As I mentioned earlier, I do a lot of shallow dives. As a kid, and for many years, I'd go snorkling at the beach, with nothing more than a mask, fins, snorkle, wearing only a bathing suit.
Now, whenever possible ( if it is not too cold), and for 'sandy' beach dives, I dive with only a shorty.
This is a personal thing, as some people are more prone to cold / hypothermia, than others. I feel VERY comfortable for short / shallow beach dives in a shorty (not even slightly cold), while my friend, on the SAME day, and SAME dive, with a 7mil wetsuit, feels downright COLD.
Even if you are comfortably warm in a shorty, there are other disadvantages, such as no knee/elbow protection, if you were to get banged /scraped on rocks, so it is best for sandy beaches.
The reasons that I like to dive with a shorty are several. Most important being the amount of weight that I eliminate from my belt. It is A LOT less buoyant, and typicaly very little weight is needed for proper buoyancy. Another advantage is mobility and freedom of movement. It is almost like wearing nothing at all. One other advantage (especially for a beach dive) is easy on / easy off. It goes on real easy, and comes off even easier. Last but not least, for dives that requre a long walk, it is very light to carry, and can be folded into a small package.

I certainly don't recommend that anyone does anything beyond their comfort level or capability, but simply state what has worked for me. Anxious to hear some of your ideas......



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