Diving class is always a good idea, and it's a good idea just because it's a fun thing to do. And can lead to a lifetime of new stuff and enjoyment.
There are at least three companies making small 12 vdc hookahs. Probably more. IF all you really are ever going to do is dive down say six to ten feet and clean a hull, there are two things you need to know about breathing compressed air. Well, really three things. The first of the three things is always:
But the practical things are to 1.) never hold your breath while underwater. Keep breathing in and out. If you don't hold a breath, you probably won't get in trouble. If you are under and the compressor stops, you start exhaling as you slowly surface. Just don't hold your breath. The reason is that the air you are breathing even at ten feet down is compressed, and takes up less volume than surface air. If you fill your lungs with it, and then hold it and surface, it is going to expand. This can cause problems, even from ten feet, if you have enough air in your lungs to overstretch the tissue.
2.)Second rule is not to ever pass your bubbles going up. Just don't do anything fast, and this ties in with the Don't Panic mode. There are a number of things that can startle you underwater while working along on your hull. Something might bump you. A scary fish might surprise you. A crab might grab you. You might knock your mask off and get water in your eyes and nose. the compressor might stop, etc. DON't panic. Just think to yourself, aw shucks...gotta go up. DON't drop your weights and shoot to the surface like a Polaris missile. You can bump your head. You can get tangled up in a rudder or prop. You can forget the other rule and hold your breath.
Really, the rest of what you learn in a dive class is more important if you are spending time below two atmospheres ( about 33 ft.) and how to treat various things, and how to best use all the equipment that the shop giving you the dive course is going to want to sell you.
It just occurred to me that if you didn't want to take the full certification course, you could probably do just fine by taking one of the short Resort Courses they give you as kind of an introduction to SCUBA. That's really all you need to know if all you want to do is clean your hull.
Oh, you will need some kind of weight belt, by the way, to hold you under. And you will have to find ways to brace yourself so you can get some traction for exerting force to clean the hull.
What I do ( I have a Brownies Third Lung gasoline powered hookah with three hoses) is to anchor the boat in a nice sandy spot in the lee somewhere with no current and minimal waves in about six or seven feet of water. That lets me brace my feet against the bottom and scrub the hull. Water is shallow enough that if you drop a tool or something you can just bend over and get it. And you can't get into any depth related problems.
Two Americans move to the TCI.
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Last edited by 2Gringos; 12-30-2009 at 08:53 AM.