Spear Fish­ing Cre­at­ing the per­fect DIVE BOAT

The highly ex­pe­ri­enced and prag­matic Dar­ren Shields shares his thoughts on func­tional trailer-boat lay­outs for divers. 1 3 4 2

NZ Fishing News - - Spear Fishing -

One thing we all love as divers/fish­er­men is our boats. I’ve owned many boats over the years and all have been good in their own way. My cur­rent boat was built by Vi­sion Boats, now no longer in op­er­a­tion, and is prob­a­bly the best all-round boat I’ve ever had. I de­signed the in­ter­nal lay­out with the then-owner of Vi­sion Boats, Ge­off. Ge­off was a great builder and let me run with what I needed, which, as you will see by the de­scribed out­line, was a very ba­sic fit-out. Many of the boats I’ve been in are fit­ted out with ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing the kitchen sink; the first rea­son­able wave you hit will of­ten il­lus­trate why you shouldn’t have too many frills in a boat!

I chose a hull just un­der 7m long – easy to han­dle with a cou­ple of peo­ple, com­fort­able with five, but with the abil­ity to carry up to nine peo­ple and their gear at a pinch.

How­ever, if you own a boat around the same size, I’m not sug­gest­ing you can take nine peo­ple, too, as I’m only able to carry this load due to the lack of frills. For ex­am­ple, a toi­let is sim­ply an­other thing to get in the way and needs con­stant up­keep.

Bunks up the front? No, we never sleep in the boat – but if we did, I could throw a mat­tress up the front, as there is a nice flat floor in the bow where bins of gear can be stowed. Be­sides, bunks nor­mally end up with gear on them that comes fly­ing out the minute you hit a de­cent wave!

With no step-down up in the bow, I added ex­tra sealed buoy­ancy – a good safety fea­ture – in­stead.

Car­pet is a big no-no in any alu­minium boat in my books. It holds salt, which in turn pro­motes cor­ro­sion in be­hind the car­pet.

It also adds lots of weight to the boat, es­pe­cially when wet. The only area I have car­pet is the dash, where cam­eras, phones etc are stored. I know car­pet dead­ens noise, but we divers are only in a boat to get from A to B – and then we’re in the wa­ter!

Height in the hard­top was a con­sid­er­a­tion for me at nearly two me­tres tall, but the height of my garage had to be taken into ac­count, too. Ge­off obliged and made the best-pos­si­ble fit.

Many boats don’t have enough hand holds; mine has one in ev­ery spare space, in­clud­ing the hard­top, which in it­self can be an is­sue for tall peo­ple who may hit their heads. Many bruises in the past meant I made sure mine were po­si­tioned so it wouldn’t be a prob­lem.

On the dash I added some ex­tra up-stands to help stop clothes etc fall­ing off. This has been great, be­cause clothes need to stay up high to stay dry.

My seats are fold-away flat plat­forms. Most days you can’t sit down any­way, so I didn’t want floor space taken up by seats we hardly use.

Spear-gun racks down the sides needed to be very long and deep. In the past I’ve had boats with shal­lower stor­age ar­eas, and

the guns con­stantly fell out when con­di­tions got rough.

The floor area is com­pletely open, but I’ve added a small drum for weight belts in one cor­ner, a big chilly bin for the fish (also pro­vid­ing a seat in the mid­dle), plus a tall drum in the other cor­ner for our long fins. This means when you sit on the back to gear up and un­dress, the bins are right there within easy reach. I also have one big bin in the mid­dle of the floor for the rest of the gear we use.

Above the chilly bin at the back I re­cently added a large bar to hold onto as you get in and out – some­thing that’s re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated in rough seas!

Plat­forms at the back had to be as big as pos­si­ble and po­si­tioned close to wa­ter level. In ad­di­tion to cre­at­ing lots of room, it’s meant we’ve been able to do away with a dive lad­der, some­thing I’ve never been a fan of any­way (they al­ways get left down and lines tan­gle around them). On the cor­ners, just un­der the wa­ter, I welded two pipes in a semi-loop that act as hand­holds to grab and hold onto un­til you’re ready to climb out. They also dou­ble as footholds to climb aboard the boat when it’s on the trailer.

In front of the mo­tor, I had a hole cut in the pod to cre­ate a ba­sic tank so cray­fish and shell­fish can be kept alive, with the wa­ter cir­cu­lat­ing through the pod when mov­ing for­ward.

Trailer wise, I can’t go past alu­minium – vir­tu­ally main­te­nance free and so much lighter. It’s been bril­liant.

1 A good wide plat­form at wa­ter level means no need for an an­noy­ing dive lad­der! 2 Gary Fisher stows his long fins eas­ily in a bin as­signed for them. This bin is in the per­fect spot to sit be­side and ac­cess eas­ily. 3 The des­ig­nated weight-belt bucket. 4

Sam Smith shows an­other use for a wellplaced chilly bin. Also note the big float­ing bin for all the ex­tra gear.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.