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Old 07-24-2019, 07:43 AM   #1
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Newbie looking for a long range dive boat

Thanks for welcoming me to the forum.

I'm at the very early stages of looking for a boat to be used to tour around Asia and the Pacific. I will be sight seeing with a strong emphasis on diving (especially the shipwrecks and big walls scattered around the region). Im in Northern Queensland, Australia so the learning process will take place from there then the wish list includes Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Indonesia, Truk, Bikini Atoll, Solomons etc. Most of the dive areas are quite remote so I will need a vessel that permits me to be self sufficient for both the voyage there and once at the dive sites.

I have absolutely no boating experience beyond being a passenger on other people's boats.

On the question of sail vs trawler, I'm leaning towards trawler. I'd expect the electrical, storage and weight requirements of a couple of technical diving kits, that are being used regularly, to be beyond a monohull yatch and a multihull is beyond my budget. I'll be carrying about 10 tanks, a compressor and a few G/J cylinders for mixed gasses. I also have a background in maintaining stationary and mobile equipment so would expect to make fewer (costly and damaging) mistakes with a diesel powered vessel vs a yacht for with I have no experience in the use, maintenance and repair of.

Coincidently every long term diving live aboard I have been on has been motor driven rather than sail.

I'd expect to be single handed some of the time. Yachts around 45ft seem to be the size that can be easily handled alone. Is this the same for motorised vessels? Vessels of this size also seem to have a range of >2000 Nm which is also about what I'm looking for.

I have time in my hands so speed is not a primary concern. 100 to 150 Nm per full sailing day would be fine. At this speed, full displacement hulls seem to be much more economical on diesel

I'd appreciate any general comments from those with more experience than myself. Obviously, the opinions of anyone who has set up a dive mothership or live aboard would be great.

Best Regards, Mike.
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Old 07-24-2019, 07:54 AM   #2
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I don't think that the recreational trawler type of boat is going to work for you. The cockpit is too small. You need room for your ten tanks lined up on the sides as well as room for divers to rig up.

Look for a work boat with a small cabin and big cockpit.

Maybe a true commercial fishing trawler with the trawling equipment removed would work. These are often pretty rough boats though.

David
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Old 07-24-2019, 08:19 AM   #3
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A trawler style boat sounds like it would fit your needs on many levels, except for the gear aspects as noted by DJM. We use ours for typical coastal cruising, but also to fish and free dive, but no compressed air tanks. I also carry 20 ft. Long outrigger canoe on the flybridge, so the 8 ft long outrigger portion (ama)goes in the cockpit for transport. The cockpit on my boat can therefore get fairly crowded, More-so if you add in all of the gear you want to carry. Most people with your intended mission use a sport Fisher with a larger cockpit. Mikelson, Riviera, etc. You can make anything work, it’s just a matter of what compromises you are willing to make.
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Old 07-24-2019, 09:06 AM   #4
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You are going to need visibility for the times you need to live boat. You also need good and quick communication between tenders and safety divers along with a decent sized area to seat and prepare divers. Thatís why sportfishers often fit the bill as they are built precisely for that high visibility. But built for speed, they likely wonít have the range you are talking about in the small sizes. Realize that 2000nm puts you near passagemaker category of power boats and most donít try for that range.

As said, anything you can climb over the side will work, but maybe not ideal, especially on days where you have a 3-4 foot chop that came up in the couple hours after putting divers in the water.

Btw I took part in a lot of mixed gas diving prior to 2000 when a lot of things were still being figured out. Iíve spent a lot of time on charter boats running surface management, wrote safety policies and personally put divers 300+fsw on wrecks in active traffic lanes. I tend to have some strong opinions on what is required to keep people safe, earned during a time where our sport lost too many good people unnecessarily. You donít want to ever be in a position of dealing with the outcome of the worst possible scenario.

It sounds like you are going to be running significant dives in very out of the way places. You are in a sport with a high probability of needing access to a decompression chamber, in areas where immediate transport to one may not be available. How will you handle that?

For your requirements, I think you may be looking for a work boat around 55-60 feet. Just a guess, but you have some requirements that will conflict with a lot of traditional boats.

Iím interested to hear OCDivers thoughts as he has a lot of experience, running charters and live aboard cruising.
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Old 07-24-2019, 07:23 PM   #5
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Many thanks for the information.

The sport fishers, while beautiful boats, don't give me the range that I need and anything large enough to hold and power all the gear I will take is crazy expensive.

I've found some working or converted charter (as opposed to full commercial) vessels that seem to get pretty close to what I'm looking for: '000s of litres of fuel, open deck space, at least some cabin space.

For the semi displacements I have a couple of concerns. They are typically powered for speed rather than range with ~2x400hp. How do these hulls and drive trains handle being operated continuously at very light loads when the preference is fuel economy? Also, how do these hull types handle open water/passage making?

Ghost, I share your concern over safety protocols. Practicalities may not permit a chamber on board but if I find a decommissioned expedition vessel going for a song, who knows. 😁

For reference, I've attached links to representative samples of what I've found. While I'm not considering these actual boats they indicate the path that I'm thinking. Again, comments and reality checks are most welcome. 👍

Thanks.

https://www.boatsales.com.au/boats/details/1971-glanville-co-steel-hull-motoryacht/SSE-AD-4807017?_ga=2.170881448.929833390.1563857337-1241574760.1562213945

https://www.boatsales.com.au/boats/details/1987-westcoaster-charter/OAG-AD-16321453?_ga=2.11680444.929833390.1563857337-1241574760.1562213945
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Old 07-25-2019, 12:41 PM   #6
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Only one word for this: catamaran; either power or sail.

Of course, if distances are vast; perhaps use a 12' RIB as a tender to the mother ship. How many divers on a trip are we talking about?

I'm looking myself for such a beast. (dive barge)
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Old 07-25-2019, 01:19 PM   #7
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Gonediving, what you are looking to do is a dream that I have always had and I am sure that many other have as well. While my experience on different styles and sizes of trawlers is limited, I have been on numerous dive boats. The suggestion I would make would be to visit dive company websites, both day trip and live aboards, see what type of boats they use and the layouts. This may give you a nice visual approach since a lot of companies, especially the live aboards, like to post pictures of the boats they use. Hope this may help you.
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Old 07-25-2019, 04:29 PM   #8
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Dive & live aboard trawler

Everything on a boat is a compromise. So if two diver max, & 4 people max live aboard here is what we use.

Kadey-Krogen 42 or 48 would work fine for you & you needs.

Lazarette can easily hold a lot of tanks if you set it up for that & lay them on their sides. The rear cockpit is OK for a couple divers & the central aft through door is good for easy swim step access.

Room for a small dive compressor on board as well to refill your tanks.

I am a SCUBA diver & dive off my KK42 swim step that we put a diver boarding ladder on & it works well for ingress & egress.

Also great live aboard accommodations & the range is fantastic as easily go's way past you 2,000 miles range needed.

Something to think about.

Good Luck.

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Old 07-25-2019, 04:40 PM   #9
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Gonediving, I would forget about semi-displacement boats. That eliminates about 90% of the recreational market. Same thing with that second boat you indicated - that is a charter boat. Perhaps the heavy steel first boat you mentioned would work. Definitely the 42 Kroger as mentioned.
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneDiving View Post

I have absolutely no boating experience beyond being a passenger on other people's boats.

On the question of sail vs trawler, I'm leaning towards trawler. I'd expect the electrical, storage and weight requirements of a couple of technical diving kits, that are being used regularly, to be beyond a monohull yatch and a multihull is beyond my budget. e.
I'm concerned when I read you have no experience, need 2000 nm range and will often be single handing. What are your plans for training?

You say a multihull sailboat is beyond your budget. Yet you seek a lot that would seem to push the budget limits. What is your budget?
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by GoneDiving View Post

For reference, I've attached links to representative samples of what I've found. While I'm not considering these actual boats they indicate the path that I'm thinking. Again, comments and reality checks are most welcome. ��

Thanks.
The first one if you want relative comfort as a live aboard for you and companions, though she is starting to bleed so will likely need buckets of money thrown at her soon.


https://www.boatsales.com.au/boats/d...760.1562213945

This was posted a few days ago
If we were in the market now it'd tick several boxes.
https://www.boatsonline.com.au/boats...ks-style/64760
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:23 PM   #12
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You say a multihull sailboat is beyond your budget. Yet you seek a lot that would seem to push the budget limits. What is your budget?
The links provided indicate around $150k
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Old 07-25-2019, 05:52 PM   #13
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Mike,


Was just looking at Janaconda profile pics. His just happened to be one of the ones at the top of the screen. It's a Norhavn N46 motor sailer. Appears to have added a swim platform on the back that houses his dive compressor with a transom door. The tanks are stored in secure mounts along the front of the pilot house.


Not sure if this fits the bill but looked interesting for your purpose.


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Old 07-25-2019, 07:38 PM   #14
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Thanks again for everyone's replies. They have been great!!

The KK format is very good. The 2+2 head count seems right. No doubt Ill have many friends who will like to come but experience shows that life often gets in the way when its time for fuel deposits to be paid or ships to sail.

I should emphasise that in contrast to a commercial charter or live aboard, while I will have lots of equipment, not all of it needs to be accessed at the one time and space for everyone to kit up at the same time is not required. The equipment needed for a 30 min swim around coral is totally different to 2 hours spent inside a deep wreck and doing decompression. However, only what is requied for that particular day will need to be accessed. The remainder can be kept is storage/racked nearbye. This should reduce the storage and set up space required considerably. I will also have time on my side. Even if all passengers want to go diving, they can kit up at different times so as to not get in others' way. Again, unlike a commmercial operation, there will be less focus on dive schedules, and arrival/deparure dates.

B&B, thanks for your well placed concern. I totally recognise my lack of experience. Thats why Im trying to gather as much information, as early as possible, that I can. When I decide what is the best path forward wrt the vessel, then I can plan out the required training. I certainly dont expect to be setting off to Bikini single handed tomorrow.

My budget would be around AUD 200k/USD 140k (say $150+50k worth of preparation/customisation/personal preferences). I certainly like the concept of getting the smallest vessel that will do the job vs the biggest that can be afforded. Also, no one wants an eyesaw but my preference is for someting functional over gorgeous. I dont want to burst into tears at the first scratch to the gel coat. :-)

Simi, what do you mean by "starting to bleed"? are you referring to the rust stains, bubbling and obvious age of the engine bay? Again, Im not looking to buy this vessel but it would be good to know what to look out for generally.

I find steps and ladders much more user friendly than platforms. I've yet to master the beaching walrus kick and roll to gracefully exit the water and get aboard. :-)) The only issue I see with boats with decks significantly above the waterline is handing off heavy stage bottles but it shouldnt be too difficult to find a solution.

Best Regards, Mike.
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Old 07-25-2019, 07:55 PM   #15
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Normally when people talk about setting a cruising boat up for diving, I encourage them to forget the compressor and buy 12 or 16 aluminum 80s which store nicely in a strapped cube in the lower level of the boat. Because of your remoteness, get only enough tanks for one day and plan on storing them as ballast. Next step is to pick the compressor and figure out how big a generator you will need plus whatever are the rest of your electrical needs. I would focus on storing and operating it on and upper deck, maybe in a dock box. Cooler air circulation is critical to long life expectancy for a compressor in the tropics. This pretty much eliminates engine rooms and lazarettes. I would plan on diving from an inflatable as opposed to the mothership. A boat of a size you looking for won't be much fun to reboard if the seas build while your diving. Beyond that, buy a boat with a good cockpit, swim platform, dinghy and crane to put the dinghy on an upper deck.

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Old 07-25-2019, 09:18 PM   #16
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B&B, thanks for your well placed concern. I totally recognise my lack of experience. Thats why Im trying to gather as much information, as early as possible, that I can. When I decide what is the best path forward wrt the vessel, then I can plan out the required training. I certainly dont expect to be setting off to Bikini single handed tomorrow.

.
I'd suggest starting the training now, in advance of selecting or having the vessel. It's going to take far longer than finding a boat capable.
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Old 07-25-2019, 09:48 PM   #17
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Depending on dive location, a hookah is an easy way to dive without a tank from the mother ship or tender. At the very least, it's a great way to do underwater maintenance. That's what I used while cruising, but then I wasn't a pro like Fly Boy. However, now we're both so geriatric that diving is no longer a menu item (though I did shark dive at 71).
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:15 PM   #18
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I'd suggest starting the training now, in advance of selecting or having the vessel. It's going to take far longer than finding a boat capable.
What training are you talking about?
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:30 PM   #19
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Welcome Aboard! Immediately I read your post I thought "Steber". Stebers are built in northern NSW and have a good reputation for seaworthiness,they get used by Marine Rescue and Police,commercial fishers, as well as pleasure boat owners. A quick check of Boatsales site did not find the model I had in mind: semi displacement hull,no flybridge, about half cabin and half cockpit, 40-45ft, usually single engine, but they have to be around. I used get waked on my mooring by one used for commercial fishing going past,they displace plenty of water. Well worth considering and researching, in my opinion, especially with your planned use.
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Old 07-25-2019, 11:34 PM   #20
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What training are you talking about?
Also, at what point in the learning process do you actually need a vessel? I understand the need for licensing and registration but is there more theory that is required before actually getting in a boat and start doing progressively more difficult tasks?

Thanks
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