Boat Operation & Sea Safety

The RNLI have an excellent interactive online tutorial and booklet on sea safety for dive boat operation.

For further details see:

See also the combined diving association boat safety guidelines.

Boat System Manuals

Topknot

Call Sign: EI-NB-5
MMSI: 250002695
Licence No: LSR11866 (issued 21/09/2012)

Engine: Evinrude E-TEC 115
VHF Radio: Icom IC-M411
Sounder/GPS: Garmin GPSMap 178

Mariana

Engine: Yamaha F100D
VHF Radio: Icom IC-M401E
Sounder: Garmin Fishfinder 120
GPS: Garmin GPS 152

Handheld VHF

Standard Horizon HX270E

 

Boat Handling Procedures

Please remember that only qualified Boat Handlers are allowed to drive the boat unaccompanied. The reponsibility for the boat lies with the Boat Handler and Advanced Diver on the day.

Taking the boat off the mooring

  • Perform a general check of the boat. Is anything obviously broken or missing? What state are the sponsons in? Pump them up if necessary. Are all buoyancy aids, A-flag, oars, boat anchor on board? This is a good time to take stock generally before focussing on the specifics.
  • Are the toolbox, first aid kit and flare signals supply fully stocked?
  • Is there a lot of water in the boat? Check that the bailer is tied up. Check that the bungs are in place. Is the water separator/fuel line under water? If so this will need to be manually bailed out and pay particular attention to the next check.
  • Check the water separator – if there is a layer of water at the bottom of the separator then drain it out.  If there is water in the separator this implies that there is water in the fuel.  Do not run the engine.  Inform the equipments officers or AD on site.

Note: Both the Evinrude E-tec and Yamaha 4-stroke engine use an automatic fuel injection system. If water gets into the fuel and consequently into the engine system, it can do an enormous amount of very expensive damage. This is why it is so important to check for water in the fuel, and if it is detected deal with it before starting the engine.

  • Take the engine off its mooring locks and tilt into the water
  • Turn on all electrical switches. Pay particular attention to the fuel gauge. Refuel BEFORE the voyage if necessary and then get more fuel after the dive!
  • Check the contents of the reserve fuel tank. Top up BEFORE the voyage if necessary and then get more fuel after the dive!
  • Check the fuel priming bulb.
  • [Topknot] Open switch on the fuel line
  • [Topknot] Open the fuel tank air inlet.
  • [Topknot] Check oil level and top up to recommended level with Evinrude XD-100 oil only.
  • Insert the key and attach the deadman connection.
  • Check the engine is in neutral and start the engine. Check for the telltale. If the engine does not start then check the priming bulb, fuel connections and deadman. Don’t force engine start with quick repeated attempts to start the engine, or holding the key in start position – this will only serve to damage the starter motor. If there is trouble starting the engine seek advice of the AD or even the DO or EO by phone if necessary. Irrespective of whether you manage to solve the problem please please consider the reasons why the problem may have occurred in the first place and make a report to the EO and DO asap after the dive.

Note: Unlike the old two-stroke engines, the lever beside the throttle on Topknot is NOT a cold-start lever.  It is for the self-winterising of the engine and is something only the club’s equipment officers should ever use.

  • Let the engine idle throughout the next set of checks
  • Turn on the GPS, radio and sounder and make sure all are working. Make sure the VHF antenna is erect. You can perform a radio check or lodge a traffic report with Dublin Coastguard as you leave the harbour.  Bear in mind that the coastguard may not recieve your transmission from within the harbour (inner and outer).
  • With the engine running in neutral, untie from the mooring, put the engine in gear and move off slowly.
  • If whilst driving the boat there is anything at all odd then stop and possibly return the harbour to diagnose the problem. Consider that the dive may have to be cancelled for the sake of upkeep of the boat. Don’t force the boat over even the smallest of distances. Inform the DO and EO of any problems asap.

Putting the boat back on the mooring

  • Before heading for the mooring make sure that all club gear and rubbish has been removed from the boat.
  • Make sure the boat is fully refueled with unleaded petrol before leaving for the mooring. Ditto the reserve tank.
  • Make sure to notify Dublin coastguard that you have returned to port if you left a traffic report before the dive.
  • Approach the mooring slowly and put the engine into neutral. Leave the engine running until tied up.
  • Tie to the loop below the mooring buoy using an anchor bend and two half hitches. Learn how to tie these knots properly. A granny knot and a half dozen half hitches is not an acceptable substitute and only annoys the next person taking the boat off the mooring.
  • Turn off the engine and remove the key (Topknot – also remove isolator switch on port side of console)
  • Turn off switches for running lights, GPS, sounder VHF etc.
  • Make sure the bailer is up and bungs are in place.
  • Again check the water separator for evidence of water in the fuel. If there is water in the separator this implies that there is water in the fuel.  Inform the equipments officers or AD on site.
  • [Topknot] Isolate the fuel line by closing any valves in the fuel line
  • [Topknot] Close the air intake on the fuel tank
  • [Topknot] Check oil level and top up to recommended level with Evinrude XD-100 oil only.
  • Raise the engine out of the water and engage the mooring locks and then lower the engine onto the locks.
  • Make sure all buoyancy aids, A-flags are stowed correctly and first aid kit box and toolbox tops are closed.
  • Do one last overall check on the boat and one last check to make sure you have the keys before leaving the boat.
  • Return the boat key to clubrooms asap and inform the DO and EO of any peculiarities with the boat – no matter how small or trivial you may think of them at the time.