Newhaven RIB diving – start of season
On Saturday 4th April seven hardy divers went for the first RIB dive of the season on Britvic. We planned to find a wreck, the Devon Coast out of Newhaven which we had not been dived before by the club and follow this with a shallowish drift dive.
For two of the party , Gail Adam and Mariusz Isydorek, it was their first dive in the sea and also a RIB. It was also my first outing as diver cox so I was a little nervous not to get it totally wrong, but I had Dave Tresidder to keep a watchful eye on me.
On Thursday evening the boat was checked over prepared for an early start on Saturday, nice early start and all according to plan – so far. The RIB was launched without drama
All started OK and according to plan until it was time to leave the marina when we were denied permission to leave because a ferry was due to leave. In order to make use of the time Gail was asked to get the dive stats for the first wave of divers and it was discovered one of the tanks did not have enough air for the dive, so we returned to the jetty and get the spare from the car (which still wasn’t full but had enough for the planned dive).
We proceeded to the dive site in misty like conditions and there wasn’t any visible point of reference so I found trying to locate the wreck using just the instruments quite tricky, Dave ‘Obi Wan’ Tresidder seemed to have the knack of knowing exactly where we were and how to steer a grid course and passed on very useful tips. However, even Obi Wan couldn’t find the wreck with the GPS numbers we had so we dropped the shot and ended up with a unremarkable drift dive apart from 3 dive torches failing (out of 4 divers) and a delayed DSMB getting caught in the shot line.
Mariusz was given the task to return us to base in improving conditions, so all you boat handlers – you will get a chance to skipper the RIB! After a quick sandwich it was time for dive 2 but not without some equipment problems including a burst O ring. Luckily I had some spare with me on the boat so it was quickly rectified. With seven of us and all the kit on the rib it was important to try to keep equipment stored tidily, sadly this was not the case – everyone needs to bring the minimum kit for the dive neatly contained in a mesh bag.
We got to the second site, Seaford Ledges and Dave and Gail got into their dive (first pair of the first wave) quite quickly but general ‘start of season’ faffing started to creep in:-incorrect weighting, bits of kit mysteriously go missing (hidden below other bits of kit on the boat) a little bit of seasickness and so on, so it was all a bit of a muddle.
Dave and Gail finishing their dive before the next divers started their descent and they decided to abandon. Time was getting on but Mariusz and I still managed a short-ish dive in strengthening current and poor visibility and leaky masks.
Dave T returned us to base with the sun shining but the wind starting to strengthen, the boat was recovered and towed home by about 7pm, quite a bit later than planned.
It was an enjoyable day out but I noted some points that would have improved it
Points to remember
1) Check your tank fills before you leave home, preferably just after they have been filled.
2) Assemble kit together and do personal kit check before getting on the boat, including torches (and backup?)
3) Put fins, mask, gloves hood, knife, reels, DSMB, woolly hats etc into a mesh bag – certainly NO boxes so they are all tidy and accessible.
4) Be aware of your weighting requirement for the sea – typically it’s freshwater weighting plus about 20% so maybe an extra couple of kilos.
5) Get organised before it is time to kit up and don’t be shy in asking for help.
Notes for Novice Diver Coxes –
– check if there is likely to be any traffic which will prevent leaving or returning marina on time and include it in your plan.
– It takes a lot longer to do things than you think, so add extra time to your voyage plans and be firm with untidiness and organisation on the boat.
I learned a lot on this trip, it’s certainly a lot more challenging being skipper but I can’t wait for the next time
ps my torch is definitely unwell, it’s been sent back to JMD
Diving Officer and Diver Cox!