Scuba from Trad Sea Kayak

I think I have a system down, and wanted to get more ideas.

I have a 17.5 foot WS Tsumani. I carry weights, fins, basically everything but the tanks/bcd in the kayak.

I added webbing straps to hold front and rear rubber hatches down when or if I wet exit the kayak.

The straps are seat belt material with a scuba belt buckle-fabric sticks to polyethylene better instead of the nylon webbing material.

I tow my gear with a waist rig. The gear is in an NRS River Tube. It has a tough inner tube, but it wrapped in cordura nylon with tow d-rings. It has 2 air chambers.

Inside the tube are two tanks, tied together. One tank has the regulator attached and is ready for diving, The BCD is fully inflated. I have a 200 foot rope with a bright float clipped on the tanks in case they somehow sink.

I stay within swimming distance to shore–its mostly lakes and only calm ocean days.

Why use a kayak? Well, either diving from shore is prohibited or the shore is not accessible.

I paddle out with the farmer johns on, and get the jacket and hood on after I’m in the water. I will dump the kayak and use an electric bilge pump to empty the cockpit. Wet re-entry and use the bilge pump again.

It is alot easier if I can get to a shallow spot to avoid dumping the kayak and to don the gear.

There is alpha flag on the kayak and of course a diver flag for me.

You have a very interesting setup.

I am an experienced scuba diver and a kayaker but I have never combined both hobbies. If I did I think I’d want a big, wide, slow and stable sit-on-top!

I really don’t want two boats. I did have a cobra something or other sit on top, and it was terrible in the wind. The drag from the NRS river tube is not too bad. It’s a big 4 foot tube, and it’s low to the water.

That being said, towing everything in a short sit inside kayak might be better…but if it goes over then it’s a lot of trouble.

There have been any number of mskes and models of SOTs designed and built with diving in mind.

The OK Scramblers and Scupper Pro TWs -the TW stands for tankwell, specifically molded to have a dive tank strapped down in it -may have been the originals, and the Cobra Fish’n Dive wasn’t far behind. Of those three, the S-Pro is by FAR the better paddler.

Tho’ the OK S-Pro TW id no longer made, the RTM Tempo is virtually the same boat, and might be available. You can also look used for S-Pros -and Tempos, for that matter.

Now none -including my moniker-derived S-Pro TW -will paddle like your SINK, or my 17-7 Valley Aquanaut, of course, but you can tote your gear both on and in an SOT with a tankwell securely -so that a spill won’t result in a yard sale -as long as you have tied topboard stuff down.

The S-Pro TW/Tempo is a seaworthy boat I’ve had in the Atlantic and Gulf, and in conditiond. It can carry a decent load of diver and gear. Unlike many current SOTs, it does not overly emphasize being a barge -at 14’-9" x 26", it is positively svelt! -compared to almost all current SOTs that aren’t skis. It only weighs about 55 pounds compared to many at 75-80+ pounds -or more! And perhsps best of all, it’s amazingly easy to get off and back on an SOT, and you don’t need to pump out a filled cockpit, either.

There is a cadre of kayak divers who use SOTs for the very reasons you list and seem to think that that is a good way to dive. You should perform an internet search on kayak diving, SCUBA by kayak, etc., to query the experts.

Good luck in your search! Here’s to a good rig for you to dive out/off of even as you


-Frank in Mismi

I have
done a few dives from a sea kayak (kayak of choice for same was a 17’ sea lion) and it looks like you have done most of what I did, though I added a spare paddle and a pair of paddle floats to the list.

When I reach my spot, I tie the boat off (usually to several strands of kelp in lieu of an anchor), deploy the flag, put both floats on a paddle and strap the paddle across the boat to create an outrigger on each side. This not only keeps the boat from capsizing during the dive, but it also makes for a comparative easy re-entry afterward. The rig is solid enough for standing in the boat (in calm water - a bit dicier if there is a good swell running).

Since the BC and tanks have to be hauled anyway, I generally just kept the BC inflated and towed same behind the boat. Your method with the tube sounds more practical, but towing anything by kayak is annoying, at best.

Mask and fins I kept stored in a bag under my legs. I would keep the spray skirt on and don the gear after rolled backward off the rear deck and was in the water. I’d leave the mesh bag on it’s tether under the front bungees.

Don the BC, test, remove the tether (carabiner attachment), and dive. Before reentry, I’d just reverse the process and store the mesh back (and its tether) back in the cockpit. Using the outrigger, climb into the boat, stand to remove the wet suit top and get back to a farmer john for paddling, attach the skirt, and paddle to shore towing the BC.

Only did this in relatively calm conditions. If there was any surf at all, I’d swim the BC into shore before returning to the boat and paddling in. Last thing I wanted was a loose BC with 30+ lbs. of tank surfing a wave behind me and then have my gear beaten by the surf.