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Sea Savvy - Low-budget cruising side bar

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Don’t haul that boat;dive the bottom and scrub

Don’t haul that boat;dive the bottom and scrub

To clean your bottom while your boat is in the water, you must be in proper condition and have the necessary skills to dive your bottom. If this applies to you, there is equipment available that can pay for itself by saving haulout fees, painting expenses and, with a clean bottom, fuel costs. It demonstrates well the principle that spending money on some gear can save you much more in the coming years.

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I’m referring to so-called “hookah” diving equipment. While several companies market variations of this, Brownie’s Third Lung has been a major manufacturer of this and other types of diving equipment since 1969. Its hookah units have a small compressor driven by either an electric motor or gasoline engine, a regulator, diving hose and other equipment.

They enable you to perform underwater maintenance chores, such as cleaning your bottom, changing zincs and clearing through-hulls, without cumbersome dive tanks and the hassle of storing, carrying and filling them. Many also use these for pleasure diving, at varying depths and distances from the compressor. Some units have compressors in specially designed floats so that you can drift along for greater distances as you explore the bottom.

Brownie’s Third Lung hookahs come in water-resistant plastic pods for storage, and are now being built into some boats. Online training is included with the package, but you still must have the skills, physical ability and training necessary to be in and under the water. If you don’t, hiring professional divers is usually a good way to save money.

Prices range from around $600 for a 12-volt pressurized snorkel system that will support one diver for light work at 6 to 8 feet depths to $995 for a 110-volt portable system that will take one diver down 60 feet. Other configurations are available. For more information, call (954) 462-5570 or visit www.browniedive.com .