Changes anticipated for dive boat operators

Owners are making changes on their own while waiting for new CG rules. It’ll be interesting to see how they will address the egress issue.

Most of these charter boats ‘double bunks’ ran centerline, with a partial partition in the middle. This allowed access on either side. From how this article is written, the conception had double bunks outboard the bunkroom. There are only a handful of boats that were built this way and i remember being on one of them. Only allowing one body per bunk is a definite improvement for the better but the bigger and more expensive issues are going to be stepping up training requirements to crew these boats and having practical means of escape. As i have pointed out, most operators won’t be able to accomodate these changes unfortunately and will be out of business.

They can start by not calling everyone ‘captain’.

…the Coast Guard may now require a captain and a deckhand to be awake at night on The Magician, Kollwitz said.

Magician normally has three captains on board for an overnight trip, Kollwitz said…

What’s with that ‘Lipo Bag’ thing? Let’s say you had several batteries in the bag and one popped off. I figure the others would heat up and pop off, too. All that heat would go somewhere. It would conduct threw the bag and into whatever was on the other side. The space with the bag would have to conduct the heat away quickly or a fire would start outside the bag or am I misunderstanding the second law of thermodynamics?

It doesn’t matter if the bunks are singles if the occupants can’t get out in an emergency. The manning is easy to address, and so is changing or stopping the lithium battery charging. The real problem is the location and layout of the sleeping quarters. If extensive alterations don’t kill a business, it’ll raise the cost of diving.
Will the CG bend to the commercial pressure and just apply band aids?

PS. One more thing. It’s probably too much to expect the CG to address it but the system whereby the crew has to rely on tips to make ends meet is wrong on so many levels. This is an opportunity to regulate it out of existence.


No, you’ve got it right. The bag manufacturers carefully state that the bags “mitigate” a fire, not contain it.

Lithium Polymer batteries are notoriously unstable but their high energy density makes them popular amongst the radio control airplane and car crowd. Lots of vids of burning models on YouTube.

Lithium Ion batteries, which are much more common, are more stable but people still recommend charging the higher energy ones in a fire-resistant bag which are called “LiPo” bags for historical reasons.

There are variations of Lithium Ion used in power supplies for offshore cruising and racing sailboats and these have a reasonable safety record. They are, however, in fixed installations with integrated charging and control systems.

Truly safe charging of high-energy consumer grade batteries, like those used in dive lights and cameras, would involve use of a fire-resistant bag and an observer equipped with a Class D fire extinguisher. We’ll see if that is going to be mandated.

And of course, the charging area has to be outside any sprinkler protected zone because lithium explodes on contact with water.


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“One can of Super-Insul spray will
cover 300 square feet, one mil
600 degree differential”

Oh wait, that was science fiction (Heinlein, The Door Into Summer) :wink:

My invention - a charging station that hangs over the rail like a propane grill with a thin plywood bottom. If the batteries light off they burn right through and drop overboard.


“A captain”?
Don’t you only have one?
Seriously, this actually probably would have saved all the divers, if not the boat.

I’ve freelanced on crew boats as a second license but always deferred to the primary guy’s way of doing things. The company only hired a second license if an overnight trip came up. Their normal runs were short enough to not require it. Even if a boat ends up with 3 licenses for whatever reason, there’s only one captain. If every licensed individual insisted on acting as captain and doing things his own way, it would be pandemonium.

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Agreed, FWIW it looks like the person using the term "captain’ to describe the mate on watch was Kollwitz who is the owner of one of the dive boats, not the CG.

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This is a language thing within this industry. The term mate is a foreign concept to most unless they understand their COI. What they do know is if they are going to be off the dock longer than 12 hours they need a ‘second ticket.’ The mate is the second ticket, or otherwise called second captain.
Kinda like how in some places in the country the mate is another name for a deckhand. Go figure.


typical in the shipping industry, if you kill enough people the rules get changed to what they should have been in the first place.

I think the confusion stems from the fact that there is no licensed mate required as on bigger tonnage vessels. On trips not exceeding 12 hours, a deckhand serves as mate. As you say, the regs require a second holder of a master’s license if a trip exceeds 12 hrs. Regardless of the requirement for the second operator to hold a master’s license he should be considered and act as mate and not called “second captain” just because he has a master’s license any more than a mate with an unlimited ticket on a ship is called a “second captain.”

FWIW. . . think about how the maritime world is represented to the average Joe in the US. They watch The Deadliest Catch, where everyone in the wheelhouse is a Captain, a Co Captain or a Captain in Training… . . what?


What i meant to say is this required ‘second license’ could be a mate’s license, which is the minimum required. Usually its another 100 grt master which exceeds the requirement.

Is there such a thing as a 100 grt mate license?

That doesn’t matter, the regulations call for a licensed mate on trips over 12 hours, not a second licensed master.