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Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Boat Diving

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Boat diving… the best kind of diving! We love the months of March – October when our dive boat, Little Viv, hits the water for the season. Diving from a boat offers so many more dive opportunities, and don’t get us wrong, we love shore diving too but the change of going off to Tudwals islands, being the only divers on site, is something special.

So, what do you need to know about boat diving other than it is amazing? First off, don’t rule out the RHIB boat… and yes, we are biased. Little Viv is a RHIB, but there is a reason for that, and it’s not just because we don’t like giving you the opportunity for a toilet break! The dive sites around our coastline here are pretty shallow, which makes it hard for a hard boat to get to where we want to go. For the diving with the seals, into the coves… Little Viv is perfect to drop us in and collect us. That said, there are also some epic hard boat dives here in the UK too: Plymouth for the wrecks, Eyemouth for the deeper reefs, all of which are suited to their own type of boat.

Next off… what to bring? We can answer that for you – just your dive equipment! You don’t need to bring a whole host of items with you. There is a small amount of room on the boat, and let’s be honest, if we are doing it right, we shouldn’t be on the boat for that much time in the day – we want to be underneath the waves! We recommend getting yourself a small dry bag to pack some snacks and to keep your phone in and a coat with you (it can always be a bit chilly out at sea regardless of the time of year).

Anything else that we get asked? That last all important question of how much experience do you need to boat dive. Well, once you are qualified, you are entitled to dive anywhere in the world… that includes boats! All of these types of dives improve our experience in diving and open doors to new exciting opportunities. There are plenty of places, including us, that offer guided boat dives which are a great way to get into boat diving if you are new to this type of dive.

So, if you have not dived off a boat yet… definitely put it on your list for this year!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

Located in North Wales, and nearly 10 years in the business, Duttons Divers operate two of the largest PADI Dive Centres in the UK, and specialise in course tuition from beginner to instructor levels, as well as guided shore & boat dives. The centre is led by PADI Course Director Clare Dutton and RYA Skipper Jean Dutton.

Dive Training Blogs

Tips for… Navigation

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Not the most fun of topics we guess, but pretty important for any diver! Now we are sure that there are some of you out there that steer away from the navigation side and are quite happy to follow along at the back. But if you are one of those divers and the reason is because you think that it is ridiculously hard.. we want to give you a few basic tips to help you!

Now using a compass may look scary but actually there is not much to it. First rule to remember… North is North under the water as well as on land… it doesn’t change! So, with that in mind we can use that pretty easily under the water to at least give us a point of reference whilst we are diving, even if you are not leading it. Knowing the direction that you are going and how deep you are is a good reference and will help you to become more confident. Get into the habit of taking a ‘bearing’ – fancy word for direction – on the surface before going under and check the bearing as you are diving.

Knowing which way is left and right – well, when going right, the numbers increase, and when going left, the numbers decrease… easy! Starting off with turning left and right 90 degrees will start to get you into the habit of making turns. Try not to use complicated numbers when you first start off, nobody likes maths at the best of times, let alone trying to add 273 to 32 under the water! Keep it basic.

Last but not least, navigating is not all about using a compass. If you are not a fan of it and want to keep your dives simple, there is nothing wrong with natural navigation. There are some amazing sites around our coastline that are perfect for this – harbour walls, piers, open sea coves, all allow the point of reference to be followed on one side of your body on the way out and the opposite on the way back. You can also check that you are going the right way on your return as the depth will start to decrease. This is a great way to start building your confidence with navigating if you are new to it, and what is even better, lots of marine life love to congress around these rocky areas!

Other aspects to consider to throw into your natural navigation bag are picking some land marks during your dives. If there is something notable that doesn’t move (fish are not highly recommended!) take a note of this and use it as a reference and pick another. On the return journey, you can use these ‘markers’ to find your way back to the starting point. A nice and simple way to find where you are going.

So, give it a go in a nice shallow bay area and see how you get on… practice makes perfect!


Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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Dive Training Blogs

Jump into… Behind the scenes of a dive centre

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Ah yes, the glamorous dive instructor. Just as you see in the adverts walking around in swimwear coming out of the sea… and as you guys see us, walking into the centre to meet you at 10am and having done two dives, finishing at 2pm and heading home…

Or not. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love the job as a dive instructor, more than I could ever tell you. But, it does not come without the negative side as I am sure with any job. 

So first off, let’s get these 10am starts out of our heads. A lot of our dives do meet at 10am, to be honest, that is mainly to give you the time to get to us and avoid the traffic! We are there longggg before this, setting up the boat, making sure everything is working correctly, checking the equipment, paperwork and loading everything up to have a smooth, well planned day when you get here. Oh, and as for the 2pm finish. I wish! Over the summer months you will usually find us here until late at night, if we aren’t out doing late afternoon dives, we will be there cleaning the equipment from the day… filling tanks… and making sure everything is ready for the following day.

Next. What else do you not see us doing on the PADI adverts? Cleaning? The centres aren’t exactly small and take a lot of work for us all to maintain… you know what it is like when you are on holiday and get sand in your shoes and it takes ages to finally get rid of it all? Well times that by 100 and you have an idea! 

But it’s not just about the cleaning and preparation parts of the job. There is also a lot of training. From risk assessment training, to scenario days with the staff, we plan monthly training sessions to make sure everyone is up to date with policies and procedures, any training updates and run emergency scenarios to make sure everyone is safe and prepared. 

Last but not least, the actual courses and guiding that you see us doing. The fun part… and what we all live for. Taking you all into the water whether it is to take your first breaths or to learn how to become an instructor. This is what we do all of the rest of the work for. And, I most definitely would not change this for the world. 

So, all jobs have negatives, and in the grand scheme of things, I can cope with filling some cylinders late at night for a career of exploration and seeing the most amazing sites I could ever wish to see. What are the positives and negatives of your job? If they’re nothing like this… why not become a dive instructor?! 


Clare began Duttons Divers at just 19 years old and a short while later became one of the world’s youngest PADI Course Directors. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com

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