Pros and cons for both beach and boat diving

You may live in an area that is not conducive to diving from the beach, but here in South Florida, particularly in the Pompano/Ft Lauderdale area, we have many beautiful reefs within swimming distance. Our reef lines generally run north/south with the closest reef starting within the length of the Commercial Blvd. pier in Lauderdale By The Sea. The depth is about 15-20 feet at the most. While there are some drawbacks to diving from the beach, there are a lot of conveniences that make it worthwhile.

Beach Diving Pros

1. You can dive any time of the day you choose

2. You can dive any area of the reef you choose

3. You can end your dive and leave the ocean anytime you want

4. Since the depth is shallow, you can usually dive a lot longer

5. Air for your tank is cheaper than nitrox, which is not needed for beach diving

6. The only expense is air. No boat fees, no tips

7. When the ocean is smooth, it can be extremely relaxing to surface swim to the dive site

8. New divers can feel more comfortable in shallower depths getting used to equipment and skills

9. Beach diving can be a much better work out than boat diving (if you like that sort of thing)

10. It is unlikely you will experience any seasickness, but not a guarantee

Beach Diving Cons

1. The walk from your car to the water can be difficult with a heavy tank on your back, especially in summer months when the temperatures are higher

2. Entering the ocean through crashing waves is dangerous when the water is a bit rougher

3. Swimming out to the dive site or back to land can be very tiring and can be dangerous with strong currents

4. Sand that inevitably gets everywhere can be damaging to your expensive equipment

5. You may not be able to experience deep diving unless the beach happens to be in the Caribbean where the bottom can drop down drastically

6. Strong currents can make it difficult to get back to your entry point where your car is probably parked

7. These areas can be overfished or even damaged from the high number of divers and snorkelers, that take advantage of the easy access

Diving from a boat has its own set of challenges, yet it is probably the most common way to dive no matter where you live.

Boat Diving Pros

1. It is a very comfortable and easy way to get to the exact spot you will be diving

2. There are numerous, exciting places to dive where only a boat can take you

3. Most boats have a divemaster or someone who can help you with your equipment or “suiting up”

4. It is an excellent way to meet other divers

5. Many charters will accommodate you by drift diving, which means you may never have to fight a strong current. The boat will pick you up when your dive is over

Boat Diving Cons

1. You must be at the dock at a given time or risk missing the trip

2. Charters may have a strict policy about canceling within 24 hours of the trip

3. You are bound to the length of the dive trip (usually 4-5 hours) once you leave the dock

4. Seasickness is not a good enough reason to helicopter back to the dock

5. Dive trips can be expensive when you add up air/nitrox for two tanks, the cost of the trip and tips (divemasters need to make a living too!)

6. In nicer weather, popular boats can quickly get booked which makes it difficult to dive with friends in areas that you prefer

7. Diving time is limited due to deeper depths or the boat’s schedule since they may have more than one trip planned per day

We all have our preference depending on what we find more important. Either way, we all get to dive!!!

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