Looking out for the Boat Owner | Spearfishing on Boats
This is a primer on boating basics for spearo’s. If you want to have a good time out spearfishing on other peoples boats then there are a few tips here about how to be a great guest and maybe even get invited back next time!
Meeting the Boat Owner | Learning your way around the boat
Often I’ve met a boat owner at the ramp very early in the morning. You need to learn a few things to be safe and know what to do in case of emergency and even deal with common situations that occur out on the water. Ideally the boat owner will give you an induction on the ways of her boat. If she doesn’t, here are a few things to ask;
- Where are the bungs?
- How do you launch and retrieve the vessel at the ramp and what do you want me to do?
- Where do you want my gear stowed and do you have room for a bag or a tub?
- When should I get in the boat?
- How do I start your boat, and where is the bilge pump switch?
- Where are the life jackets stored?
- Where is the radio, flares, first aid kits?
- At the end of the day ask the following – “How much do I owe you for petrol, oil, wear and tear on your car and boat and trailer? Are you sure that’s enough? It costs cash not fresh air to have taken me out today.” REMEMBER TO PAY THE BOAT OWNER ON THE DAY, don’t let him chase you. You may not be asked back again.
Boat License | Marine Radio Use | First Aid
I didn’t grow up on boats and despite spending a hell of a lot time on the water, I knew bugger all about boats when I started spearfishing. One of the best things I did was get a boat license – I learned a shitload and nearly all of it was useful. I also bought an older boating book that Turbo takes the mickey out of me for, but it has given me a few more clues about boats (many of the blokes you go out with seem to be salty seadogs who have spent their lives on boats so it pays to catch up a bit if you can).
In 2016 Turbo and I did a marine radio and first aid refresher training course care (read the write-up here) of AUFQ. Surprisingly we both enjoyed it and learned a tonne. I would encourage you to gt involved with your spearfishing club and get involved with events like this – the training is super practical if you’re a spearo and if you go with mates its fun too.
Here are some basic boating Dos and Don’ts from Simon Trippe + a few from salty seadogs in our private Facebook group
Spearfishing on Boats | Don’ts
- Don’t be late to meet at the boat ramp
- Don’t take the kitchen sink with you, space is a premium – be tidy!
- Don’t swim too far from the boat, and let the skipper know in what direction you intend to swim.
- If the skipper has told you he is only going to be 15 minutes in a spot, don’t swim 15 miles in the opposite direction. Be back in or near the boat in 15.
- Don’t throw your float out as soon as you pull up to a spot, wait until the boat is securely at anchor. When you alight from the boat do check that your rig cord is not wrapped around the motor leg.
- Don’t jump in with a splash!
- Don’t stick your fat finger onto the vessel’s electronics, or declare the last boat you went out on had much better electronics; you may find the repair bill is your monthly wage, and ask yourself why you aren’t out on that last boat today.
- Don’t ever pull the gear stick into reverse whilst there are revs on the motor, you can do good damage. From forward thrust – engage into neutral – wait until revs subside – then engage reverse.
- Don’t leave your chip packets, barely consumed staminade bottles and other of your rubbish lying in the boat – remove all of your own personal rubbish off the boat.
- Don’t ever take bananas on board a boat.
- Don’t bring a hand held GPS and ‘borrow’ marks. In fact forget the spots you are taken to.
Spearfishing on Boats | Dos
- Do offer to set the anchor and retrieve it. If you don’t know the procedure, ask, you will be shown. Share this duty around the crew!
- Do look out for the boat whilst you are in the water, first diver in the water should check that the anchor is set well. If you think the boat has drifted swim after it! DO reset the anchor.
- If you notice the dive flag is not up in the boat, swim back and put it up – it may save your life.
- When drift diving do show patience as the skipper and crew may need time to get the drift setup.
- If stopping only for 10 minutes, do offer to boatie! (especially helpful in a comp)
- When you can see the boat and crew are heading in your direction, do wrap your rig cord up, unload your gun and then hand the gun butt first to the crewman.
- Do listen to the skipper when he tells you the best way to enter the boat from the water.
- Do take your weight belt off and cleanly pass it over the gunwale until you have learnt correct entry procedure and are fluid in the technique – why is this? So you don’t smash the fiberglass to pieces with.
- IF you don’t wish to be first in the water Do get out of the way and do help those keener divers to get in. If you do wish to be first in do it quickly and considerately.
- Do be very wary of the pointy end of your gun while ‘gearing up’ in the boat.
- Watch your flippers and don’t take out someone’s shin, or face when alighting from the boat and watch you don’t scratch the outboard cowling cover.
- Do offer fuel money at the end of the day
- Do offer to wash the boat, or clean the fish while the skipper washes the boat.
- Do immediately wipe the blood and guts off the boat’s surfaces and floors before it dries, a 5 second job becomes a 5 minute one.
- Do stow your equipment as the skipper directs. This helps with weight distribution which is crucial for a number of reasons. It also helps you not to lose stuff which is more common than you know!
These are by no means a comprehensive list so please put your tips in the comments! (and join us on Facebook!)