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  #1  
Old 05-12-2011
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Scuba compressor ???

I have been trying to find info/input on peoples experience with having an onboard scuba compressor. I have found threads here and on other sites from a few years ago, but can't find anything more recent. I understand that a compressor will take up valuable space and would be a luxury, not a necessity, but I love diving and want to be able to dive whenever I want, and not have to go ashore to fill tanks.

I am planning to buy my boat in about 1.5 - 2 yrs time and I'm currently working on my budget and getting as much experience as I can. I don't know what size or model of boat I will end up with, but planning on something in the 36'-42' range, but really want to incorporate a dive compressor if space and budget allow. What would you suggest for an onboard compressor? Would mostly only be filling tanks for 2 divers.

-Electric/Diesel/Gasoline?
-Small cascade system or higher compressor output?
-Any other advice/experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much in advance,

Nate
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Old 05-12-2011
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Nate, I crunched some numbers a few years ago about this but don't have all the info at hand. The only compressor small enough to be reasonable on my boat 39 footer, was about the size of two milk crates side by side. It was very expensive and would take ages to fill my tanks. I carry two HP 130s and typically get two dives off each. I would sooner have more tanks than a loud slow power hungry compressor.
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Old 05-12-2011
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I would agree. You can buy a lot of tanks for what a compressor costs and it does not take forever to fill a tank.
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Old 05-13-2011
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Instead of scuba which requires tanks, think hookahs Google: tankless diving equipment.
From the Miami boat show they had 1-4 person units. Some would dive 2 to 75 feet (must still be certified for those) Come in battery or gas powered (I'd rec gas)
Note, they use different regulators, scuba regs not compatable.
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Old 05-13-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whroeder View Post
Instead of scuba which requires tanks, think hookahs Google: tankless diving equipment.
From the Miami boat show they had 1-4 person units. Some would dive 2 to 75 feet (must still be certified for those) Come in battery or gas powered (I'd rec gas)
Note, they use different regulators, scuba regs not compatable.
Hookas require you to stay tethered though. Scuba offers much more freedom and safety.
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Old 05-13-2011
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we looked seriously at adding a compressor to our 42', but even with what most consider a lot of space...we could not mount any where that would make sense except outside ahead of the mast. That would mean leaving an expensive Bauer unit out in the weather for all practical purposes and that would mean even more maintenance.

We then looked at some custom, an engine driven system, and some hybrids and if money were no object they may be an option. Even the Bauer is near $10K with filters and spares, and would still take a while to fill 2 or 3 cylinders.

Engine driven would be an issue with our Yanmar for both space and engine load. Electric almost out of the question unless you are running a stout gennie and the compressor at the same time = a LOT of noise. We have a 6K gennie and that is not enough to run the low end units. Upgrade to +++KW is another chunk of change.

Small system would work but take hours to fill two tanks... I have seen a lot of used dive compressors in the last year or two both commercial as well as gov't surplus at great prices. But when you factor spares, installation and look at the hours on the used gear it just did not work for us.

You buy dive compressors cheaply if you go off brand, foreign made, less quality air systems, but for something that your life would depend on, we stayed with name brand quality.

We have taken the course of buy two tanks this year, to go with the four we have and add a couple more later on. We think this will be the best compromise.
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Old 05-13-2011
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I appreciate all of your input on this topic. My big reason for wanting to have a compressor is independence; not having to rely on a others for air fills, but I do understand your thoughts on the subject. Maybe I would be better off just buying more tanks and filling them anytime I have an opportunity so that I am never with out tanks. The issue there is, wouldn't having more tanks take up more room than a compressor?

I like the idea of a hooka system for shallow dives on open reefs and for boat maintenance, but I like to be able to dive deeper than a hooka allows and would think that a surface hose would be very restrictive.

I'm just afraid of having a once in a lifetime diving opportunity, the perfect out of the way spot or something, and not having full tanks to take advantage of the opportunity.

Luckily I have plenty of time to get this figured out.

Thanks again for all your replies!
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Old 05-13-2011
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Rebreathers are starting to make their way in to the recreational market, expensive but an option.
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Old 05-13-2011
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Nate, the compressors are all expensive and the consumable supplies for them (filters,etc.) make it even more so. Ain't cheap to keep them operating. I'd suggest as kd3 said, buy two or four more tanks, whatever will occupy the same space that the compressor you'd have bought, and call it a day. With the money you save, you can have fresh tanks brought out by helicopter. :-)
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Old 05-13-2011
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The only person I've known to have one, ultimately took it off. Too much trouble. Pretty sure it was about $4 grand.
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