I have been wanting to try something new that I have not had a chance to try yet, diving from a kayak. I have seen a couple people from a distance while onshore or onboard the dive boat that were diving from a kayak and I just met someone in a CPR class that I taught whose husband is really into kayak diving and is getting others involved in it.
I have a Pelican Castaway 116 DLX kayak like the one shown to the right that was designed for fishing that I bought a few years ago that has just been sitting in the garage collecting dust. I thought I would look more into kayak diving and what is needed in a kayak to see if mine would work for diving or if I would have to buy a new one. Mine has a large rear cargo deck with bungee tie-downs already installed, and a closed cargo well underneath the bow deck. There is also an additional dry storage area directly behind the seat back for smaller items that need to be kept dry.
After doing a lot of research on the subject online and talking to other people that dive from kayaks I was fortunate to find out that the kayak I have meets most of the diving “necessities” already in its factory form. I just needed to make a few minor additions like a mounting for a dive flag, some additional attachment points for equipment tethers, an anchor, current buoy with at least 200′ of line, etc.
Unfortunately this dark green kayak is not the most desirable color for kayak diving as bright colors are more desirable to make them more visible, but the design and layout of the kayak is workable for single-tank diving with room for one aluminum 80 onboard.
I have attached a 42″ flag pole to the bow of the kayak that can be laid down flat or removed when not needed that has both the standard red and white U.S. version of the dive flag attached to it as well as the blue and white international version since we have so many tourists from all over the world here in Hawaii. It also has a light on top that can be seen for 2 miles for better visibility for night diving.
Technically the red and white “Diver Down” version is for protection of the diver by requiring other vessels to stay 300′ away from the flag and the blue and white “Alpha” flag is for protection of the boat meaning to stay clear that it can not be maneuvered normally to get out of another vessels way to avoid a collision. Even though I am only required in Hawaii to fly the red and white version under state law, I choose to fly both of them for safety.
Over the next few weeks I will be making additional modifications and additions to it while I test it out and get used to using it as a dive platform. I will try to keep you up-to-date on what I find out, and my progress as I delve into a new adventure in the world of kayak diving.