Honestly there is nothing better than boat diving. A day on the sea, with like-minded people doing the thing you love. What could be better (well ok maybe eating chocolate or drinking wine/beer, but that's another subject)?
However like everything there are some things that will help to make your day better.
Things to Bring:
Kit. Well obviously all your dive kit. But ONLY the dive kit you need for that days diving. There is very limited space on any boat and you will not be popular if you take up the space allocated to 4 divers!
A small bag for your phone and keys and a bigger one for your kit. The big travelling bags are too big for a boat. Check out this I think it's ideal!
Food and drinks. In the past boats would offer you lunch and drinks. However in todays Covid-19 climate we can't. Bring enough for a day, and make sure it's not in wrappings that can blow away into the sea!
Clothing. You might get wet - yes drysuits sometimes aren't, and obviously wet suits are well, um, wet! You are on a boat at sea; Coleridge says it all really 'water, water everywhere...'! There's no central heating and even on a warm day when the boat is moving you can get cold. Beanies, jumpers and jackets are a bonus if you don't want to shiver.
What to do and not to do on a boat
Some basic things to be aware of:
The expression 'ropes' or 'ropes off' means the boat will be leaving at that time, it's not the time you need to arrive. So be on the boat (or quayside) ahead of the time. In my experience it ALWAYS takes me longer to load my kit than I think it will. 10 minutes won't crack it!
Put your kit together either before you get on the boat or as soon as you are on it and do a full check. Getting to the dive site to find your fins are back in the dive centre is not helpful (personal experience!).
There are tides, the dives will be planned around these and if you aren't ready you (and possibly everyone else) will miss the dive. So if the skip tells you to get kitted up it's wise to do so.
So we are now off the boat and diving. Now what?
You are all ready go and you might think this is the end of thinking about the boat or anyone on it. Nope!
You will be doing a giant stride in from the platform at the back of the boat. You have all your kit in place and when given the 'Go!'... go. Jump, belly flop or tumble in head first. The skipper will have put the boat up tide so you drift down on to the shot. Don't jump at the right time and you'll be swimming into the current back to the shot. Not much fun, trust me.
If you are told you need to be on the surface within an hour, be there. 100%, no excuses. Plan the dive to make that happen. The skipper is responsible for your safety and as a dive boat skipper I can tell you it's awful if you think you've lost a diver.
Likewise if you've been told to put a DSMB up, please make certain you do so. Looking for bubbles in anything other than dead calm seas is honestly impossible. I have had divers come up almost mile from where they were dropped in - scary and not fun for anyone.
Surface with your buddy. Or if you don't, do NOT lie face down in the water looking at them. From the boat this looks like an unconscious (or worse) diver. Signal to the boat and let them know you are OK, then you can look at your buddy.
All this sounds like a load of things to remember, and frankly a bit scary. It's not meant that way. If you understand how to dive from a boat it will make your day an absolutely joy. Once you've been on a boat for the first time it's easy. Just try and remember the skipper is there to look after everyone, and it's not an easy job.
BUT, get on the boat, go diving and have a GREAT DAY - I'm jealous just sitting here writing this!!