Boat Diver Safety Briefings

Boat Diver Briefings
Lloyd Borrett briefing Peter Fear aboard "Raydon"

Many boat owners may welcome guest divers onboard their boats and prudent ones will give everyone a proper boat safety briefing before heading out. But what does a good briefing include and what might guest divers need to know about your boat if anything happened to you?

It's essential that you use a prepared guide to properly brief everyone onboard before heading out. You need to consider how they will respond in the event of you falling overboard or having a medical emergency? Don't assume people will just know. So have a plan, keep it simple and be consistent.

Here is a checklist of the key things to make your guests aware of:

  1. Boat Layout and Moving Around
    Boat layout and location of kit. Moving around the boat safely — one hand for yourself, one for the boat because the boat can move unpredictably.
  2. The Journey
    Where you're going and your route plan. How long you expect it to take, the weather and sea state expected, and things to look out for along the way. Also mention sun exposure and keeping warm.
  3. Lifejackets
    Where the lifejackets are and how to put one on. When to wear them. Ideally the lifejacket will be an automatic inflation, so explain how that works.
  4. Emergency Procedures
    Mayday procedure, with a note of it next to the VHF radio. Man overboard reporting (shout to raise the alarm and point to hold their position). Also explain what to do should they fall in.
  5. Boat Controls
    Basic boat and engine controls. How to shut off the fuel. How to start, stop and turn — and to do this the moment someone goes overboard.

We recommend using a Boat Safety and Dive Equipment sheet to conduct the briefing. An example is available for download below. We also recommend a laminated copy be kept together with other safety information on the boat for reference in an emergency.
Download/view the "Raydon" Boat Safety and Dive Equipment sheet
(Adobe PDF | 1 page | 282 Kb )

Listen to the Safety Briefing

As a diver on any dive boat it's essential that you listen to the Safety Briefing. It's there for a reason. Even on an airline, passengers are asked to pay attention no matter how frequent a flyer they are, because although the brief appears consistent, there are subtle differences between each aircraft.

Now compare that fact with the different dive boats you have been on. Things can happen remarkably quickly at sea and being able to remember where the lifejackets are, or even just the O2 kit for a DCI incident, will help you respond quickly and in a controlled manner.

Having listened to the Safety Briefing, it can be helpful to run through in your mind some simple 'what if' scenarios so that you better imbed the Safety Briefing in your mind.

Participation Agreement, Consumer Waiver and Concent Forms for Dive Boat Owners

We suggest that everytime you have divers coming out to participate in scuba diving activities from your boat you also ask them to read, understand and consent to the terms of a Boat Participation Agreement and Consumer Waiver. An example is available for download below. It should also be clearly displayed in the boat.
Download/view the "Raydon" Participation Agreement and Consumer Waiver
(Adobe PDF | 1 page | 16 Kb )

You should ask all divers to read and sign that they accept and/or will comply with the requirements for Scuba Diving From Your Boat. An example form is available for download below and it should be provided for each diver to sign before heading out on the boat.
Download/view the Scuba Diving From "Raydon" requirements
(Adobe PDF | 1 page | 156 Kb )

Other References

The Dive Boat Related files on our Scuba Diving Downloads web page are valuable references that will help you to better setup your boat for diving, and help you to conduct safe diving operations.

See also, Boat Diving Safety.

Suunto EON Core at The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop