April: Drift Flag or Marker

During a Private Boat Dive on Saturday 3/16/2019 divers on Randy’s boat and on mine witnessed 3 young men free diving on the 2nd reef off Hallandale using only a small float - about 3 times the size of a football - as a marker.  These guys were very inconspicuous, and had a close call with a speeding powerboat while we watched.

We’ve all been trained to take care of our dive buddy.  But when you drift dive, it’s also important to take care of your other dive buddy…your drift diving flag or marker.  It’s the only thing that allows your boat captain to know where you’re at.  And, it’s your 1st line of defense against passing boats. 

Take care not to pull it underwater.  This happens most often when there is current. To prevent submersion of the floating marker, the line should scope out much like an anchor line.  If you are diving in 50 feet of water, you should have about 100 feet of line between you and your dive marker.

In the open ocean a diver is required to stay within 300 feet of the dive flag, and passing boats are required to stay more than 300 feet away from a dive flag.  But, I recommend you stay as close as possible to the dive flag when you surface.  Also, be aware of how the wind is orienting your dive flag.  Does an oncoming boater have a broadside view of your flag…or not?  If not, you can raise the flag above the water and wave it from side to side to get the attention of oncoming boaters.

Be Safe…Dive Safe

Dave Wills