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markdhanlon

New Yacht for Liveaboards

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Just picked up a 64' motoryacht in the pacific northwest (Vancouver) area and am looking to set it up for not just sailors, but also divers. It sleeps 6 and I plan on installing a cascaded air system and tank holders, etc. but I'm wondering what options really make a liveabourd standout. What do people consider must haves and what make small touches makes a liveaboard stand out? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

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Hi Mark

 

For me it must be safety conscious. Have a good friendly experienced crew that will interact with customers, especially the cruise director. A Chef that knows how to deliver a meal for exhausted divers. Good space for multiple camera rigs and a good supply of fresh water for rinsing rigs post dive.

 

Things that have always been nice that I have remembered from certain liveaboards are like a wake up call with my prefered choice of beverage. The evening meal being served at least 30 minutes after the last diver is out of the water from a dusk/night dive. Free shower gel, shampoo and conditioner onboard as us divers/UW photographers have more important things to take on a plane. Good quality torches onboard for night dives. Plenty of charging points for batteries.

 

Regards

 

Stew

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Hello Mark

 

To me there are some key issues you should take care: Safety, good diving, good food, nice crew.

 

Easy access from equipping area to the dive deck, and easy access to and from the water to the dive deck

 

And of course good area for the photograph equipment (rinsing tanks, table, charging plugs)

 

Regards

 

Pedro Alves

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Congratulations, Mark! I'm sure you will receive tons of support from this side of the border. The diving around Vancouver Island is some of the best in the world, and a liveaboard based out of the south seems like a great idea to me.

 

I don't have a whole lot to add except that I hope it can cater to the huge tech diving community here. I think southern wreck safaris from a liveaboard would be really fun and easy to charter.

 

Good luck my friend!

Chris

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Enough space in the cabins that you don't conk your head on the ceiling if you are unlucky enough to get top bunk. Better yet, no bunks. For BC waters, someone that really knows how to read the water. It is crucial. Good luck with your venture; this area has lost a lot of operators, so welcome!

 

Marli

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Since most of the trips I lead are full of photographers and videographers, when I do a fam trip to check a new boat out for their service, food and safety I am also conscious of their camera table. Is there enough room for the many to place their cams systems on safely, are their plenty of charging stations, is the crew trained to properly handle these systems when they are passed up from the water and is there enough room in the skiffs for the systems as they motor out and back.

Steve

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Being in a colder water destination, a hot shower on deck might not be a bad idea.

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A Hot deck shower is a great idea! Beyond the obvious priorities of safety and well trained, helpful crew, my wish list includes a dive ladder that angles out enough to allow a dry diver with tank and weight belt to board without climbing the equivalent of Mt Fuji. Big camera tank(s) and tables, charging stations with plenty of outlets, and one pet peeve of mine... keep the showers out of the room with the toilet. I really hate damp toilet paper.

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Boat captain needs years of experience in the area to be well acquainted with tidal conditions at the various dive sites, since the majority of dives must be at slack water. Just showing up with a new boat won't get you many divers.

Ditto on the suggestions for boat setup.

Edited by jcclink

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Actually a hot shower isn't a big deal, as everyone will be in drysuits. Aside from a cold face, a hot shower on deck is not a big deal, and a waste of precious water that you would want once out of the drysuit, in the privacy of your cabin. What some wonderful friends did on their private boat stuck out for me: upon coming up the ladder, there was a stainless mug of hot chocolate put in my hand. That was sweet. Also steel 100's were a nice touch on a long gone BC liveaboard. It meant I could drop 8 pounds of lead. Also, a great idea from Mike Lever, now in Mexico, hang a closet shoe organizer in each cabin. Perfect for glasses, sunscreen, phone, etc. It was a brilliant and cheap idea that I share around the world but no one listens. All liveaboards should try it. Your guests will thank you. Plus drawers to put things in. Perhaps that's a girl thing, but it is appreciated. Also build the bunks or beds with room underneath to store bags and photo gear/maintenance stuff. I am one that does not use the camera table. I like to maintain my photo gear in private silence, without air hoses and dripping hair spewing water into my housing. You may want to contact Rocio del Mar to see how this can work. Best set up for a cabin I have seen for a while.

 

Cheers,

Marli

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Some great suggestions here and it reminded me of one other thing that was missing on the Nautilus Explorer excursion in Alaska. Having a 'head' on the gear deck would be a great thing. I remember once having to pee so badly after a dive, racing to get out of my drysuit and get down to the cabins was unbearable. I know, what's a little leak here and there, but I would have loved it if Mike Lever had a topside loo. Someone did tell me that this has been remedied on the NE since I was last on it.

Steve

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My favorite thing about the "Spree" (does the Keys and Dry Tortugas now, occasionally still returns to the Flower Gardens) as compared to the very similar "Fling" is the wet head off the dive deck. Shower and toilet both. For the Pacific NW you might not have many people wanting to go topside for a shower, but the toilet is indeed a very good call, esp if you're assuming most clients will be in drysuits but may not have relief valves.....

 

Hangars for gear on dive deck - double up the plastic hangars or ziptie the 'wetsuit' hangars to make sure they don't go overboard (or walk home with divers). And preferrably don't have hangars dangling cold possibly wet stuff right over dive stations.

 

Hang a caribener or something openable but lockable on the dive deck and keep it stocked with tank o-rings. Have typical reg size wrenches to tighten octo and HP hoses available. For really full service have a couple of spare SPG's on 3-4' hoses on hand, just in case someone travels in and hits the boat without checking their air integrated batteries.

 

 

Dip bucket for cameras (obviously). Clearly delineated SEPARATE rinse or dip bucket for gloves/hoods, refreshed with a little anti-stink e.g. Mirazyme periodically, so people don't use camera bucket for them.

 

You said it cabins 6 - not sure about stateroom accomodations and/or bathroom setup (en suite vs. one in the hall) but make sure there's plenty of 'poo spray' always available. Boat life and travel wreaks havoc with many people's digestion.

 

More operational side - I don't know that much about conditions up there, but having heavily weighted 'down lines' (ideally 2 with a spanner or bar) vs. having people stack up on a mooring line is a waaaay more comfortable way to do a safety stop. And it gives you something to tie a strobe to as an added marker for night / poor vis. The actual ladder and 'swim platform' arrangement for egress at least (ingress can be giant stride) is also a big discriminator, esp when dressed up for cold water.

Edited by rtrski

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Oh, once last thing. Invite me up for your inaugural trip. :lol:

Steve

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Thank you all for the great advice. We will try to incorporate as much as possible. How much would you typically pay/be willing to pay for a 6 person, double occupancy (queen beds), 3 dive/day, all meals, DM/instructor, etc. on a per person/day rate?

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To be honest Mark, I would never travel all that way for a 3 day trip. Any trip I take which requires flying a great distance and the airfare that distance brings with it, has to be, at least, 7-10 days. I have only done a 3 day trip once, for the sand tigers in North Carolina as it had been a biggie on my bucket list. Then again, to do two back to back 3 day trips might be possible.

Steve

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Thank you all for the great advice. We will try to incorporate as much as possible. How much would you typically pay/be willing to pay for a 6 person, double occupancy (queen beds), 3 dive/day, all meals, DM/instructor, etc. on a per person/day rate?

 

Mark,

 

It may not be possible, but I'd reconsider the single queen beds in the staterooms (I'm assuming that there is only one queen bed per room). To attract single divers, you need to have separate beds. Rooming with a stranger is generally OK, but bunking with them doesn't cut it. Many liveaboards have separate single beds that can be pushed together for a couple.

 

Why only three dives a day? Airfare is expensive and I like to maximize the number of dives. I do not do LAs with only three dives a day unless it is a very special place.

 

Harry

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What areas are you considering for dive sites? Browning Pass & vicinity are the best for photo.

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