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Pat's original question invites a really long/detailed response, so much to
consider.  So I'll just pick on someone elses reply instead and add my spin
on things  :-)

At 06:38 15/02/2001 EST, Karla  Clinch <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>I love shore dives!  Don't get nearly enough of them!

Agreed, shore diving is great.  A terrific way to gain experience and
develop skill without blowing your budget.

>1) I have seperate gear for shore diving.  I am not about to use my $1000.00
>OMS for that, I use my old Beauchat for that.  I have a seperate reg that I
>use, as well as a seperate reg for my pony.

Don't buy OMS gear.  Use the same gear for all dives.  My regs don't get
sand in them because they are properly configured (backup on bungie around
my neck, primary stays in my mouth till I'm out of the water then gets
clipped off to my chest D-ring and extra hose tucked under the harness out
of the way to prevent entanglement while climbing over rocks).  Give
everything a proper clean (regs under pressure) back on shore (could even
remove front covers and diaphragms to rinse thoroughly).

>2) Check out the rules where you are at.  Some areas are off limits to shore
>diving.  Others are allowed.

Sometimes magazines publish guides on good shore dives in an area.  In east
Australia we have a guy called Tom Byron who has put together a series of
guides to shore and boat dives (not always accurate but a start).  Could
ask shops too but other local divers are probably a better source (the
shops want you to pay for something).  You could also start by snorkelling
a new site to see if there's potential, less gear to get in and out of the
water.

>3) Make sure you have a a flag and float, and I would suggest an
>intertube---something that you can rest on when you get tired.

I'm luke warm about flags/floats.  I will use them in training dives or
organised dives (ie. paying customers) but for diving with friends I
generally don't use them.  Why not?  Well several reasons.

1.  As a friend recently put it, when I enquired about using a flag and
buoy on a recent trip, they make you a target.  Whether for irrate
fishermen throwing rocks or for moronic jet ski riders (the same friend was
buzzed (and I mean driven at directly meaning he had to dive out the way)
by jet ski's until he resorted to throwing rocks to deter them).  Yes there
are complete arse holes around and sometimes it just doesn't pay to
advertise (I realise that you then accepts other risks).

2. The line is an entanglement risk.  Particularly when diving off a rocky
shore or around a jetty.  I have had a buoy get caught up on rocks during a
tough surf entry, very dangerous.  At least carry a good sharp knife
(easily accessable) and use an attachment that can be released easily (my
flag can be released quickly by pulling a pin on the shackle (sort of works
like a bolt snap)) or hold the line in your hand.

3) They are a pain in the arse to drag around if you can't clip them off
somewhere.

>4) Make sure to know your entry and exit spot.

Yep, very important you can get out again.  Also have an alternate exit
point so you have an escape route if conditions deteriorate (paticularly on
rocky shores where waves can make exits tricks/dangerous).  Local knowledge
plays a part (which way the currents run, etc).

>5) I get in the water, without fins.  I go out to waist deep and put fins on.
> I then swim out about another 50 ft or so, and get my bearings, and decend.
>I determine which way the current is going and swim against it!  That way,
>toward the end of the dive, I can let the current carry me back.

Depends on entry.  Giant stride off rocks may dictate having your fins on
so you can make a quick escape (another situation where a buoy/flag can be
problematic).

>6) Every so often I ascend and take a look around, and see where I am at.

As others have said, don't do this.  Learn to navigate properly.  Getting
shallower = (usually) going toward shore, sand ripples (usually) run
parallel to shore (as do waves, surge).  At night the lights of houses, etc
can be a guide to where you are.  The type of benthos (stuff growing on the
bottom) may change with depth, distance from shore, take note of things
like this.  A compass is handy, get bearings on features and work out the
general lay of the site.  Employ your natural navigation skills, follow
ridge lines (at some local site most ridges run south to north), follow the
edge of rock shelves, etc.  Work out how far features are so you are aware
if your off course.  So much to think about  :-)

>7) Take into account the currents, and the wave actions.

Yep.  Comes with experience (I'd start with flat days, in sheltered spots
with little current before taking on more challenging sites where a surf
entry/exit is needed or where tide is an issue).  Get out and dive with
folks who dive regularly in your area.  Some OW course notes discuss shore
diving (waves, tides and currents) too.  Most advanced courses now provide
little literature (although I am putting some stuff together for courses I
do) but the old NAUI advance course had info on dive planning for shore
dives, etc and would be worth a look if you could dig up a copy.  Sure
there are plenty of other good texts though.  I tend to photocopy and keep
anything I get my hands on (on technique, dive medicine, marine life, etc),
articles that appear in magazines, course notes, etc.  Doing this develops
a good reading list to review when undertaking new experiences, and is
worth while IMO (even if the advice isn't always the best).

Cheers,

Simon

Simon L Hartley
RSM Website Coordinator\First Year Course Coordinator
Associate Lecturer
School of Resource Science and Management
Southern Cross University
P.O. Box 157
Lismore NSW, Australia 2480
Ph: (02) 66203251 or (61 66) 203 251
Fax:(02) 66212669
E-mail: [log in to unmask]

http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/rsm/staff/pages/shartley/

http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/rsm/