Florida Keys Diver:  What About Dive Conditions?

 

You want to be an aware Florida Keys diver.  Here are some tips to make you a better diver even before you get into the water.

  1. 1Understand the seasons in the area you are diving.  In the Florida Keys, the wintertime the water is about 10 to 15 degrees colder than in the summer.  Wetsuits are usually used during the winter months and often none at all during the July, August and September months when the water temperature is at its peak.  If you are more susceptible to cold then you may want to consider a 5MM wetsuit in the winter months.  Most people use a 3MM wetsuit however because they are more comfortable and usually handle the drop in temperature.

  2. 2Ask about the weather conditions and access your own safe limits for diving. The direction of the wind, the strength of the wind & the surge from waves, all can add or reduce risk when diving from a boat.  Strong winds without protection from land mass can cause large waves and make it difficult to board a dive boat even with an excellent ladder.  If you have or can get access to a computer and you want to find out the weather conditions in the area that you are diving, you can go to the National Data Buoy Center (top picture).  Go to the station in your area to get the conditions.  This information is a good start to determining the conditions because the data is drawn from the station out at sea and is usually not land based.  The you can check out the radar to see if any bad weather is in the area and you can animate the screen so you can see the direction the weather is moving.  To fully understand what is going on, you do need to experience the weather as you are looking at these tools.  Only then will you develop an accurate picture of the weather conditions but not necessarily the conditions at sea.  From there you can review the marine forecast to determine if conditions will change.

  3. 3Poor visibility can also be of a concern but it is often difficult to determine/predict the visibility before the dive trip leaves shore.  In Marathon and throughout the Florida Keys, the dive captains talk on the radio as they are underway to get best information as to where the best visibility and best water is located.  Everyone benefits from this approach and it is amazing the difference a mile East or West can make in the vis.  Visibility has also improved and worsened while out on a dive trip, a lot can change in a three to four hour time period.

  4. 4Currents are also extremely difficult to predict.  We have been diving when Monday the currents have been strong and then on Tuesday there is no current at all in the same location.

  5. 5We are dive operators in the Florida Keys and most of the dive operators in the Keys are excellent at what they do.  Here are some of the advantages that maybe you did not realize when diving with a Florida Keys dive operator.

  6. Our staffs are trained and certified in case of a medical emergency

  7. US Coast Guard approved First Aid Kit are on board to start the process in case of an accident

  8. Most vessels have onboard oxygen and the staff is trained to administer it

  9. Divemasters are available throughout the Keys and some operations even provide a divemaster in the water without additional costs.  Captain Hook’s is one of them.

  10. Most vessels have heavy-duty dive ladders and many boats are specifically designed for diving for easy entry and exit from the water.

  11. There is a collaboration of Florida Keys professionals that want you to be a successful diver, like in the case of finding the best visibility or clean water.