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post #1 of 96 Old 02-09-2019 Thread Starter
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Hookah System

Dearest Sailheads,

Anyone have experience with hookah systems?

A haul-out in my neck of the woods cost $500 so I'm thinking that a hookah system could easily pay for itself by drastically reducing the frequency with which I have to do them. After all, assuming my paint holds up I only have to go down there once a year to check my zincs and scrape off critters.

Thoughts?

Ed
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post #2 of 96 Old 02-09-2019
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Re: Hookah System

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Originally Posted by Ed Kinney View Post
Dearest Sailheads,

Anyone have experience with hookah systems?

A haul-out in my neck of the woods cost $500 so I'm thinking that a hookah system could easily pay for itself by drastically reducing the frequency with which I have to do them. After all, assuming my paint holds up I only have to go down there once a year to check my zincs and scrape off critters.

Thoughts?

Ed
I bought a Hookah Max system a number of years ago. It works well with my Honda 2000 generator. Don't use it often but, comes in handy for cleaning the bottom or if you have dropped something overboard at anchor. Takes up less storage and is much lighter than a dive tank.
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post #3 of 96 Old 02-09-2019
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Re: Hookah System

have you considered hiring a diver... or paying for a lift up in the slings, power wash and splash? That can't be terribly expensive.

I hired a diver to clean the bottom he'll do it before I take a few week cruise so the bottom is faster. What is bad is when you let it go too far. Paint can do two seasons.

+++
If the painting is in the ranger of $1,500 and it last 2 seasons paying a diver could extend it 3 seasons .... maybe

pay attention... someone's life depends on it
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post #4 of 96 Old 02-09-2019
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Re: Hookah System

I purchased a Sea Breathe 'deck snorkel' about 7 years ago, and it has been fantastic for us, saving us thousands of dollars. It operates on 12 VDC so there is no possibility of the exhaust from a generator contaminating the air (absolutely the most dangerous risk when operating any sort of dive air compressor or hookah rig) and it can even be operated in the dinghy with a battery for fun diving away from the boat. We have not needed to, but being 12 VDC electric, it could be used in even the most inclement weather offshore to do underwater repairs, keeping the compressor unit in the shelter of the dodger/cockpit.
It's a bit more expensive than most other similar units on the market, but as a professional divemaster, I have never been one to skimp on my compressors or dive equipment.
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post #5 of 96 Old 02-10-2019
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Re: Hookah System

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Kinney View Post
Dearest Sailheads,



Anyone have experience with hookah systems?



A haul-out in my neck of the woods cost $500 so I'm thinking that a hookah system could easily pay for itself by drastically reducing the frequency with which I have to do them. After all, assuming my paint holds up I only have to go down there once a year to check my zincs and scrape off critters.



Thoughts?



Ed
I am thinking the same thing. With my old boat I was able to change my zinc and clean my prop while breathing through a snorkel. I would also scrub my bottom and keel by snorkel, but it was quite tiring. Now that we have a much larger boat, I wont be able to do that anymore.

The decision I need to make is power source, and size. To me electric is best. I dont want to deal with a small gas engine that is noisy and polluting. 115v would be ok if all I want to do is maintenance work at the dock, but if I am going to fork out the money for a Hookah, I think I would like to use it for recreational purposes too, so a 12v unit would add portability.

And then there is the size. The most cost effective unit is a single diver deck unit, but if I am going to use it to explore a reef, it would be more fun to explore it with my wife or a friend. (Its always a good idea to have a buddy, even if you are tethered to the boat!) So a 2 diver model would be better.

The next dilemma I face is portability. Around here the reefs I snorkel on are not right next to the boat, which will likely be anchored or docked in much deeper water, so diving within 40ft of the mothership will be very limiting. I could take a 12v deck unit and a battery in the dinghy, and just anchor the dinghy in the area I want to explore.

Or I can buy this unit:
https://www.seabreathe.com/products/...ver-float-unit

This looks like a very nice piece of equipment, unfortunately the price is pretty steep!

I am tempted to design and build my own system....

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post #6 of 96 Old 02-10-2019
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Re: Hookah System

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post

And then there is the size. The most cost effective unit is a single diver deck unit, but if I am going to use it to explore a reef, it would be more fun to explore it with my wife or a friend. (Its always a good idea to have a buddy, even if you are tethered to the boat!) So a 2 diver model would be better.

Or I can buy this unit:
https://www.seabreathe.com/products/...ver-float-unit

This looks like a very nice piece of equipment, unfortunately the price is pretty steep!

I am tempted to design and build my own system....

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Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but I purchased my Sea Breathe deck snorkel before I met my sailing partner, at a time when I never expected to do anything but sail alone for the rest of my life. So yes, go with the double unit if you have someone to dive with.
As for building your own, if you are not a certified diver there are a lot of very important things you would need to know to build a safe unit. For instance, the compressor can not use fossil based lubrication, which would be toxic if it entered the air supply. You certainly wouldn't want a motor that could possibly heat up enough to introduce toxic additions to your air.
The quality of the fittings and the storage container are also things to consider if longevity is of interest to you. I had all the qualifications and knowledge to build my own unit but instead used them to pick what I thought would be the safest and longest lasting commercially produced rig. After all, you will be saving a considerable amount of money in the long run so the initial cost would be returned many times over, just a bit more slowly if you purchased a commercially produced rig.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #7 of 96 Old 02-10-2019
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Re: Hookah System

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but I purchased my Sea Breathe deck snorkel before I met my sailing partner, at a time when I never expected to do anything but sail alone for the rest of my life. So yes, go with the double unit if you have someone to dive with.

As for building your own, if you are not a certified diver there are a lot of very important things you would need to know to build a safe unit. For instance, the compressor can not use fossil based lubrication, which would be toxic if it entered the air supply. You certainly wouldn't want a motor that could possibly heat up enough to introduce toxic additions to your air.

The quality of the fittings and the storage container are also things to consider if longevity is of interest to you. I had all the qualifications and knowledge to build my own unit but instead used them to pick what I thought would be the safest and longest lasting commercially produced rig. After all, you will be saving a considerable amount of money in the long run so the initial cost would be returned many times over, just a bit more slowly if you purchased a commercially produced rig.
Yes, you are probably right. While I have the technical skills and research skills to source the appropriate components, it would be time consuming, and potentially still quite expensive.

Capta, as an experienced diver do you feel that the components used on the Seabreathe rig are sufficiently high quality to warrant the high prices they are asking?
It is really hard to tell from the photos they use on their website, and I havent found any retailers locally that sell them. I was hoping I might find some hookahs at the boat show, but there were none!

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post #8 of 96 Old 02-10-2019
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Re: Hookah System

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Originally Posted by SchockT View Post
Capta, as an experienced diver do you feel that the components used on the Seabreathe rig are sufficiently high quality to warrant the high prices they are asking?
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Honestly, though the connections on the hoses and the hoses themselves are, as I said around 7 years old and well used, there has been no deterioration on any of them, probably not.
The heavy-duty sealed box seems to have kept the compressor well, as there is no corrosion on it or any of the electrical connections. I did put a heavy duty plug on the cord and install its receptacle in the cockpit, but other than that it is stock. We rinse any parts that come in contact with seawater very well after use, but I have had to do no maintenance on it at all. It comes with plugs for the air intake and outlet on the compressor and the hose ends and I use them religiously when the unit is not in use.
I think it is nice to have a single source for parts should the need arise, as I am down here way south of civilization. I'm perfectly happy with my unit and would only change the choice for a single hose setup instead of double.

"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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post #9 of 96 Old 02-10-2019
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Re: Hookah System

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Originally Posted by Ed Kinney View Post
Dearest Sailheads,

Anyone have experience with hookah systems?

Thoughts?

Ed
A toilet paper tube, taped up on one end, with a thumb size hole poked in the side, with a piece of tin foil pushed into it, to form the bowl, works really well, and costs nothing.
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post #10 of 96 Old 02-11-2019
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Re: Hookah System

You do not need to dive to scrape your bottom. I use an eight inch flexible stainless steel scraper mounted on an 8 ft pole. Working entirely from the surface in mask snorkel and flippers I can clean my bottom in one hour. I am an old fart with a 44 ft monohull so have a rest after doing one side.

I get the hull 99% clean and the prop about 80%.

While I CAN fit a new shaft anode I do pay a diver to do this every year if required. But I usually haul every year.

TOP TIP Mount the scraper at a slight angle say 20 degrees so you can flip it over to do the curves.
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