New England has a rich maritime history. For work or pleasure, the waters off our shores provide countless ways to enrich our lives. From swimming to sailing, from diving to lobstering, the ocean is a treasured resource for many.
If you are reading this, then you are likely as passionate about scuba diving as we are. New England has a vibrant dive community and we are proud to be a part of it. But we also feel it is important to remember that as divers, we are only one of the many groups in, on, and under the water.
Below we have outlined the general roles that we all play to ensure that divers, fishermen, lobstermen, sailors, and all those who spend time on the water can safely share the seas together.
The Cape Ann Diver II (CAD2) and her crew will provide a pre-departure briefing, safely bring you to the dive site, brief you on the area and conditions, create a stable system for your ascent and descent, and help you as necessary. We will also prominently display the required dive flag indicating to other boats that divers are active in the area.
While you are diving, our crew will also work to monitor your positions, signal other boats in the area to proceed with caution, help you in and out of the water, verify compliance with wildlife regulations, and generally work to keep you safe.
As a certified diver (or student with your instructor), you are responsible for planning and executing your dive safely, ensuring you have the proper licenses/permits for activities such as lobstering, paying attention to crew briefings, and being respectful of other's property.
In Massachusetts (where CAD2 primarily operates) it is important to remember that other boats are allowed to come as close to us as they want provided they proceed with caution (full regulation here). This is important to keep in mind because you might be used to other states or countries where boats are not allowed to approach within a certain distance of a dive flag.
This means that returning to CAD2’s ascent line is critical to ensuring your own safety on the dive. If you are unable to find or return to the ascent line for any reason and are ascending away from the boat, we highly recommend that you deploy a surface marker of some type as a signal to other boats. This is both a courtesy to other vessels and a step in making your dive safer.
If you are not confident in your ability to safely deploy a surface marker from below the surface, we encourage you to get additional training since it is an important part of New England diving.
In Massachusetts, other boats are responsible for proceeding with caution when in sight of a dive flag (like the one we display on CAD2). Furthermore, when within a radius of 100 feet of a dive flag, the boat should move no faster than 3mph.
As stated earlier, divers share the New England waters with many other people who are there for both professional and personal reasons. It is important to remember that, especially in the case of working fishing and lobstering boats, others are often working on tight schedules so they can’t always avoid working an area just because divers are there.Although not required to do so in MA, many boaters will choose to give dive vessels a wide berth while their dive flag is up as a courtesy to divers and we thank everyone who chooses to do so.
Furthermore, if another vessel has questions about CAD2's status or operations, we encourage them to hail us on channel 13 and we will be happy to provide information on whether divers are in the water, our schedule for departing the area, etc.