Lloyd Robert Borrett

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Haines Hunter V17L Dive Boat


02 December 2018: This dive boat has been sold.

Haines Hunter V17L dive boatHaines Hunter V17L dive boatHaines Hunter V17L dive boat
Haines Hunter V17L dive boat in January 2012

NOTE: This is a private boat and is used solely for transporting myself, my friends and guests. It is not a dive charter boat and I am not a dive charter operator. I have included this information for people interesting in setting up their own boat for scuba diving.

Disclaimer: I'm no expert on dive boats, having only been a dive boat owner since March 2011.


In 2006 I joined the Victorian Sub-Aqua Group (VSAG) dive club and started to regularly scuba dive from the private boats belonging to various club members. Thus I became familiar with diving from these smaller boats, in addition to the larger dive charter and liveaboard boats I'd already been diving from.

One VSAG member, David Kelly, had a Haines Hunter V17L boat he'd purchased in 2005 from Peter Galvin, a fellow Black Rock and VSAG dive club member. I got to dive from David's boat quite often and was pleasantly surprised at how well it was setup for diving, how well it did the job, plus how well it handled out on the water, especially given it was one of the smaller dive boats.

In late 2010, I started to think about getting my own dive boat. I was leaning towards a 6.0 metre to 7.5 metre sized plate alloy boat. Yes, big and expensive stuff. Especially so when to tow such a boat would mean also having to buy a large and expensive 4WD car with enough towing capacity.

Then In March 2011, David Kelly contacted me to say he was looking at selling his boat. I visited him to have a chat about it, checked out the boat, trailer and gear and then went away to think about it. A week later we agreed on a price.

Haines Hunter V17L dive boat
Haines Hunter V17L dive boat as purchased in March 2011

The boat is small and light enough such that it can be towed behind my existing vehicles, once Hayman Reese 2,100 kg rated tow bars were fitted.

Nov-Dec 2011 Update
In the fourth quarter of 2011, I commenced a program of works to make repairs and improvements to the dive boat. New instruments were added, radios moved, a sound system fitted, electrical wiring replaced and tidied up, anchor light replaced, and a second battery was fitted. The trailer was serviced, the rear axle replaced, a new winch post and a L-&-R Boat Latch fitted, plus five new wheels and tyres, together with bearing protectors all around.

The motor and hydraulic steering systems were serviced, hull repairs were made, a Permatrim hydrofoil fitted, plus the entire hull acid washed and then given a cut and polish.

The Dive Boat

The boat, now called Raydon, is a Haines Hunter V17L fibreglass (GRP) power boat, vee hull, 5.2 metre (17 feet) long, low profile, built in 1988 – Reg. CU839, serial # 9169602. It has a red coloured hull, with a sleek, sporty looking, low profile white cubby cabin and a bimini cover (put on it by Peter Galvin).

Haines Hunter V17L specifications:
Length 5.21 m (17')
Maximum Beam 2.06 m (6' 9")
Deadrise 22.5 degrees
Fuel Capacity 110 litres
Hull Weight 442 kg
Weight on Trailer 900 kg

The Haines Hunter V17L is a time proven, legendary deep vee hull boat. They were very popular as dive boats in their day, with many Victorian dive club boat owners having them. The ride is very soft and dry. While there may well be more stable hulls available, for ride, comfort and high speed handling, this one is fantastic. It tracks well and steers well.

Yes, it's old, but the Haines Hunter V17L is highly sought after on the secondhand market. And this one has been well cared for all of its life.

Haines Hunter V17L boat interior
Haines Hunter V17L boat interior

David Kelly took the seats out of it. (I now have them in storage.) Thus it can now comfortably fit four divers. There is no cabin/cockpit bulkhead to separate the cuddy cabin from the rest of the cockpit interior.

Haines Hunter V17L Cubby Cabin Left
Haines Hunter V17L Cubby Cabin Left
Haines Hunter V17L Cubby Cabin Right
Haines Hunter V17L Cubby Cabin Right

The BCDs with cylinders all kitted up are kept on the sides of the boat, strapped to the hull using weight belts. Second cylinders are stored in the forward cubby cabin well.

Haines Hunter V17L Cubby Cabin Well
Haines Hunter V17L Cubby Cabin Well

There are useful side storage pockets running the whole cockpit length. There is plenty of cockpit freeboard along the sides so the boat feels quite safe at sea.

Down aft there is a single outboard engine well flanked by molded quarter seats.

Haines Hunter V17L dive boat ladder
  Haines Hunter V17L dive boat ladder
Haines Hunter V17L dive boat ladder

The left/port side rear quarter seat has a sturdy tray unit that can be swung down and used as a platform for resting scuba gear as you put it on.

The right/starboard side of the transom has a custom made boat boarding ladder made by Quality Marine Fabrications, Dandenong South. This replaces a wooden swing down platform that had been fitted by a previous owner. The new dive ladder makes it a lot easier to get back into the boat.

Shot lines, running lines etc. were stored in green crates under the outboard engine well.

Outboard Engine

The outboard engine is a Yamaha L130BETO, V4 130 HP Saltwater two stroke purchased for the boat from J.V. Marine on 18-Jul-1998 - Yamaha Model 130 BETO, Code 6LI-L-, Serial # 310309, Engine # 310309.

Yamaha 130 HP Saltwater Outboard
Yamaha L130BETO Specification Data
Overall Length 808 mm (31.8")
Overall Height 1599 mm (63")
Overall Width 582 mm (22.9")
Transom Height 642 mm (25.3")
Weight 171 kg (377 lb)
Full Throttle Operating Range 5,000~6,000 RPM
Maximum Output 95.6 kW (130 HP) at 5,500 RPM
Idling Speed in Neutral 700-800 RPM
Engine Type 2-stroke, 90oV
Number of Cylinders 4
Displacement 1730 cm3 (105.6 cu.in.)
Bore x Stroke 90 x 68 mm (3.54 x 2.68 in.)
Ignition System CDI system
Spark Plug NGK BR9HS-10
Spark Plug Gap 0.9-1.0 mm (0.035-0.039 in.)
Control System Remote Control
Starting System Electric Start
Battery Capacity 12 Volt, 70-100 AH (252-360 kc)
Alternator Output 12 Volt, 20 A
Starting Carburation System Choke valve start system
Drive Unit
Gear Positions Forward-Neutral-Reverse
Gear Ratio 2.00 (26/13)
Trim/tilt system Power trim/tilt
Propeller Mark KL
Fuel and Oil
Fuel Regular grade petrol
Recommended Engine Oil Yamalube Two Stroke Motor Oil for Marine or equivalent TC-W3 certified outboard oil
Engine Oil Tank Capacity 0.9 litres (0.79 Imp qt)
Fuel/oil Ratio Yamaha Precision Blend System
Recommended Gearcase Oil Hypoid Gear Oil (SAE 90)
Gear Oil Capacity 715 cm3 (25.2 Imp qt)
Tightening Torque
Spark Plug 25 Nm (18 ft-lb)
Propeller Nut 55 Nm (40 ft-lb)

A Yamaha 703 Remote Control unit is used for the start/stop, trim up/down and throttle control.

The switch to raise/lower the motor is on the left/port side of the motor.

Permatrim Hydrofoil
Permatrim Hydrofoil

A Permatrim Hydrofoil has been added to improve the handling and performance characteristics of the boat. It's manufactured from marine grade aluminum and powder coated for maximum corrosion resistance.

The Permatrim Hydrofoil makes a huge difference getting the boat up onto the plane when loaded up with the gear of three or four divers.


Raydon dive boat instrument panel
Raydon dive boat instrument panel

Yamaha Digital Speedometer
This meter contains the speedometer, fuel meter with warning, trip meter, clock and voltmeter with warning.

Yamaha Digital Tachometer
This meter contains the tachometer, trim meter, oil level warning and overheat warning. The original tacho was found to be faulty and replaced by Advantage Marine during a service in December 2011.

Lowrance LMF-400 Multi-Function Gauge
Lowrance LMF-400 Multi-Function Gauge

Multi-Function Gauge
A Lowrance LMF-400 NMEA 2000 compatible multi-function gauge was fitted on the far right/starboard side of the instrument panel in November 2011, together with a Lowrance EP-60R Fuel Flow Electronic Sensor. This finally enables me to have an accurate fuel level and usage reading. Being a multi-function gauge, it can also be used to show speed, water temp and numerous other real-time graphic or digital readings.

Hour Meter
An hour meter was fitted to the left/port side of the instrument panel in November 2011.

Boat Hour Meter
Boat Hour Meter showing 25 hours since installation.

Please keep in mind that this outboard has been used for diving most of its life. A 15 to 30 minute trip to the dive site and then hours of idling while diving takes place. Move to another dive site and repeat. Then head home. The motor doesn't get worked hard.

A Danforth Compass sits on the right/starboard side of the instrument panel.

Panel Switches
The panel switches on the right/starboard/driver side of the cockpit dash are:

  • Top Left - Navigation Lights
  • Top Right - Anchor Light
  • Bottom Left - Bilge Pump
  • Botton Right - Spare
Boat Panel Switches
Boat Panel Switches


The Ronstan navigation lights, 12 Volt, port (red) and starboard (green), enable the boat to be seen at night. The globes are Ronstan RF2035 12 Volt navigation light globes, festoon 36 mm, 12V x 10W, suits RF2014 and RF2102.


A Winch & Marine Australia stainless steel bow roller with removable captive retaining pin over the roller makes feeding the anchor line easy.


The boat was fully rewired by Don at Advantage Marine, Highett.

Haines Hunter V17L Boat Electrics
Haines Hunter V17L Boat Electrics

Under the right/starboard side rear quarter seat is the number one 12 volt battery. It's a Platinum Marine King. Attachments points for a trickle charger to the number one battery have also been put at this location.

SuperCharge Batteries, SeaMaster Marine Battery
SuperCharge Batteries,
SeaMaster Marine Battery

During changes in December 2011, Advantage Marine, Highett, fitted a second 12 volt battery behind the oil tank under the left/port side rear quarter seat. This battery is a SuperCharge Batteries, Sea Master Marine Battery, calcium expanded.

Battery switch
They also fitted a NARVA Battery Master Switch, rotary style with four positions (off, 1, 2, both) on the starboard side near the rear, right/starboard side, quarter seat. Part No. 6109.

NARVA Battery Master Switch
NARVA Battery Master Switch


The boat is fitted with HyDrive Hydraulic Boat Steering purchased from Luxfords. The steering wheel is HyDrive Admiral Series Model 101 (serial # P 36375). The rear unit is a HyDrive Model 112 BH, (serial # 2003).

Fuel System

The boat's under floor alloy fuel tank runs down the middle of the hull and holds 110 litres of fuel. The engine typically goes 1.3 km per litre of fuel.

The inflator hose/primer for the fuel is located under the starboard/right/driver side stern quarter seat.

An in-line fuel filter and water separator is located on the inside of the transom on the starboard side. The original one had passed its used by date and was replaced by Advantage Marine during a service in December 2011. The new unit uses a Mercury Marine 35-802893Q type fuel water seperator filter cartridge.

Fuel Filter and Bilge Pump
Fuel Filter and Bilge Pump

As an added precaution against water and any other muck in the fuel, I use a Mr Funnel F15C Fuel Filter Funnel when fuelling the boat, purchased from PAC FIRE AUSTRALIA in Sunshine West Victoria. It's 25.4 cm in diameter and 21.6 cm in height, with two filters to give a flow rate of up to 45 litres per minute.

Mr Funnel F15C Fuel Filter Funnel
Mr Funnel F15C Fuel Filter Funnel

Many petrol outlets have been caught using high levels of ethanol and other additives in regular unleaded petrol (ULP), i.e. minimum Research Octane Number (RON) of 91. I've had to pay some expensive repair bills due to crook fuel in cars.

To safeguard against problem fuel with the dive boat, I avoid using any ethanol blends, and prefer to fuel the boat with premium unleaded petrol (PULP) which is designed for engines that have a high compression ratio. Therefore, it is formulated with a higher-octane level to prevent knocking and to optimise performance. Under the National Fuel Quality Standards PULP is required to have a minimum RON of 95. Because the petrol outlets make enough margin on PULP, it's rare that it is tampered with, and thus safer for use in the dive boat.

A Super Jiggler Siphon with 19 mm (3/4") anti-static petrol resistant hose 2 metres long is available. It was purchased from Whitworth's Marine and Leisure in Melbourne Victoria.


There is a Yamaha 10.5 litre (9.2 Imperial qts) oil tank under the left/port side rear quarter seat.

ENGINE OIL Capacity: 10.5 litres
BIA certified TC-W3 Two Stroke Oil
Yamalube Two Stroke Motor Oil for Marine
Castrol Super Outboard Plus 2 Stroke
Valvoline High Performance 2 Stroke Outboard (NMMA TC-W3)
Gulf Western Oil Outboard TCW-3

GEARCASE OIL Capacity: 0.72 Litres
Hypoid Gear Oil (SAE 90)
Castrol Outboard Gear Oil

HyDrive Hydrallic Oil

Marine Grease
Yamaha marine grease
OMC Triple Guard marine grease
Shell Nautilus marine grease

Loctite Nickel Anti-Seize, purchased from Blackwoods, is used to coat threads before doing anything up so that I'll be able to get it undone later.

Spark Plugs

The specifications of the recommended NGK BR9HS-10 spark plugs are: 14 mm thread diameter, Resistor, Thread reach 12.7 mm (1/2"), Standard 2.5 mm centre electrode, Tightening Torque 25 Nm (18 ft-lb), Spark Plug Gap: 1.0 mm (0.040 inch) to 0.9 mm (0.035 inch).

Spark plugs that can be used are:
NGK: BR9HS-10 / BR10HIX / B9HS-10
Bosch: W3AC / W3AS
Champion: QL7BC / L76VS
AC: W27FSR-U10 / IWF27


Spares carried on board include:

  • 2 x BR9HS spark plugs
  • 1 x Yamalube Two Stroke Motor Oil for Marine, 4 litre
  • 1 x HyDrive Hydraulic Oil
  • 2 x 12V Festoon Bulbs for navigation lights
  • 4 x Ronstan RF738 Bung Plugs to suit RF737 drain plug
  • Yamaha propeller spares
    • 1 x Thrust washer (gear housing spacer) - part # 6E5-45987-01 / 63P-45987-00
    • 1 x Spacer - part # 688-45997-01
    • 1 x Washer - part # 92990-18200
    • 1 x Propeller castle nut - part # 90171-18M04, tightening torque 55 Nm (40 ft-lb)
    • 2 x split pins

Boat Trailer

The boat is carried on a 1991 Tinka Classic boat trailer — Reg. T76401, serial # 8862168, VIN # 6FFMT171391SB0262, Tare 460 kg, GVM 2000 kg. Though former owner Peter Galvin tells me there's not much of the trailer that is original Tinka anymore!

It has mechanical disk brakes on the front axle. It started out as a single axle trailer, but Peter Galvin added a second axle. When I received it the shaft and bearings on the original rear axle were Holden, and the forward axle were Ford!

In December 2011, the Trailer Repair Centre, in Braeside Victoria, replaced the rear axle with a new Ford axle to standardise all 5 shaft and bearing sets. Bearing protectors are now fitted on all five wheels.

On long trips I take a Dunbier Trailer Pre-Greased Wheel Hub Kit with me. Part #1666, Ford wheel hub pattern, bearing part numbers L68110 & L68149 - LM12710 & LM12749, axle size 45 SQ. This was purchased from the Trailer Repair Centre, in Braeside Victoria.

Trailer Winch

The Steadfast Marine MMW5 5:1-1:1 manual boat trailer winch was made in Sydney (serial # WS 7589). It has a webbed winch strap and removable handle. A spare handle is carried in the cuddy cabin in the starboard side pocket.

L-&-R Boat Latch

In December 2011, the winch post was removed and a Dunbier winch post fitted by the team at the Trailer Repair Centre, in Braeside Victoria. This then enabled a L-&-R Boat Latch system to be fitted, to make launching and retrieving the boat easier.

L-&-R Boat Latch
L-&-R Boat Latch

Trailer Jockey Wheel

In November 2011 I fitted a Manutec trailer jockey wheel, galvanised, 90 degree swivel, solid wheel.

Safety Chain

Ronstan RF6210 snap shackle

The safety chain in use consist of:

  • Ronstan RF6210 Small Swivel Bale standard snap shackle, internal snap width 16 mm, internal shackle width 16 mm, length 92 mm, MWL 1600 kg, BL 3200 kg, weight 113 gm. This is made of investment cast grade 15-5PH stainless steel for corrosion resistance and high strength to weight ratio.
  • RWB Marine RWB 2406 10 mm stainless steel captive bolt shackle, SWL 1000 kg.
  • 3 links of Zenith 8 mm (5/16") welded regular link hot dip galvanised chain.
  • RWB Marine RWB 2406 10 mm stainless steel captive bolt shackle, SWL 1000 kg.

The spare safety chain in use consist of:

  • RWB Marine RWB 2406 10 mm stainless steel captive bolt shackle, SWL 1000 kg.
  • 5 links of Zenith 8 mm (5/16") welded regular link hot dip galvanised chain.
  • RWB Marine RWB 2406 10mm stainless steel captive bolt shackle, SWL 1000 kg.

Trailer Coupling

The trailer coupling is an AL-KO 2000 kg mechanical override with brake plate, zinc plated with plate, 50 mm, AS 4177.3, part # 614050PL, 184 mm long, 54 mm wide, 13.5 mm diameter.

I'm using a Lockwood 120/30/118 general purpose padlock to ensure no-one removes the trailer from the vehicle towball.

A Couplemate Trailer Guide and Lock is used to make hitching up easier.

A Couplemate Premium Dual Trailer Lock ensure no-one can tow the boat away when it's not hitched to the car.

The two trailer chains used to keep the trailer attached to the car are made up of:

  • Zenith D Shackle, 13 mm (1/2"), internal width 25 mm, pin diameter 12 mm, WPH0013.
  • 11 links of Zenith 10mm welded regular link hot dip galvanised chain.
  • Zenith D Shackle, 13 mm (1/2"), internal width 25 mm, pin diameter 12 mm, WPH0013.

Trailer Lights

Submers-A-Lite trailer lights

The trailer is fitted with Submers-A-Lite rear trailer lights. This waterproof trailer lighting system eliminates the effect of salt water corrosion, allowing you years of trouble free usage. Features include a vandal deterrent lens locking device, wiring seals, thermo plastic rubber seals and all non-rusting components. Depth tested to 20 metres. Set of two lights each with red tail light / number plate light, orange indicator and reflector plate.

Trailer Wheels and Tyres

The trailer arrived with an assortment of 14" wheels and tyres fitted. Three different wheel types and five different tyres of four different sizes. In Decemebr 2011 I fixed this situation.

Five new Dunbier 14 x 6 machined alloy wheels with a Ford 5-stud pattern were purchased from Trailer Repair Centre, in Braeside Victoria.

Five new Yokohama RY818 Deliver Star 195R14C 106/104R light truck tyres were purchased from Bob Jane T-Marts in Dandenong Victoria. These tyres are 195 mm wide, with a 100 aspect ratio, a 106/104 (950/900 kg per tyre) load index, and a R (170 kph) speed rating. The tyres have a square profile, with wide circumferential grooves, wide shoulder ribs, and large tread blocks.

Dunbier Wheel and Yokohama Tyre
Dunbier Wheel and Yokohama Tyre

Boat Tie Downs

A Ronstan RF178 hook is mounted on each side of the transom.

Two Just Straps transom stainless steel, trailer ratchet tie downs with stainless steel S hooks and 25 mm polyester webbing keep the boat securely on the trailer.

Safety Features

Naturally, the boat is kitted out with all of the mandatory safety features. These include, radios, EPIRB, depth sounder, GPS, First Aid Kit, flares, life jackets, fire extinguisher and torches.

I hold a Senior First Aid certificate, as do many others who come out with me on the boat. I intend to set the boat up with an oxygen first aid kit.

Paines Wessex Para Red Rocket Mk 3


The flares are kept in a white plastic container in the left/port storage pocket in the cuddy cabin.

There is a Paines Wessex Para Red Rocket Mk 3 long range red parachute distress signal for day or night use. Up to 48 km (30 miles) visibility. Flare ejected at 300 metres (1000 ft). Flare burns 40 seconds at 30,000 candlepower minimum.

There are two sets of Paines Wessex Inshore Distress Flare Kits. Each contains 2 red handheld flares, plus 2 orange smoke signals. The Aurora Orange Handsmoke flares are for daylight use only. They emit a cloud of vivid, expanding orange smoke which is visible for up to 60 seconds and more than 40 km away at sea level, and further from an aircraft. Strong winds will reduce the range. The Aurora Red Handflare is for night use. They emit a brilliant red light which can be seen up to 20 km away by an aircraft and up to 10 km away at sea level.

Marine Radios

Icom IC-M304 VHF marine transceiver

The boat came with an Icom IC-M304 VHF Marine Transceiver (serial # 0118110), MMSI 503375300, FCCID AFJ2988900, to the left (port) of the cockpit dash. In November 2011 we moved this radio onto the cockpit dash area to the left (port) of the helm steering wheel.

It has a submersible compact body with a large LCD and powerful audio. Features include:

  • Compact and submersible.
    Equivalent to IPX7 (1m depth for 30 minutes, except cables).
  • Large easy-to-see LCD.
    Shows full size channel number with 4-step backlighting.
  • Built-in DSC that meets RTCM SC-101.
    For distress calls, or for position request/position report.
  • New Force5Audio™ speaker.
    Delivers impressive audio output with powerful bass.
  • Favourite channel function.
    Offers quick channel selection from the microphone up/down buttons.
  • AquaQuake draining function.
    The vibrating "buzz" sound clears water away from the speaker grill.
  • Weather channel with weather alert.
    Listen for important weather broadcasts
  • Dualwatch and Tri-watch functions.
    Monitors Ch.16 and/or call channel, while using another channel.

A GME AE87 VHF marine aerial is hooked up to this VHF marine transceiver.

The boat came with a CB radio in the form of a GME GX294 27 MHz AM Marine Transceiver (serial # 2102569).

In December 2011, Don McClymont at Advantage Marine, Highett Victoria, fitted a white GME GX300 27 MHz Marine and CB radio transceiver (manual). This is flush mounted in the cockpit dash area using the white GME MK001W flush mounting kit, to the left (port) of the helm steering wheel. A white GME CVR001W cabin cover also helps to protect the radio from the elements.

GME GX300 27 MHz AM CB/marine transceiver

The GME GX300 incorporates both 27 MHz Citizen Band and 27 MHz Marine Band transceivers into one unit. Channel recall, dual watch, large back-lit display, very effective noise limiter and environment protected design (IP55), the GX300 covers virtually all aspects of 27 MHz communication on land or sea in one unit. The front mounted speaker provides loud clear reception and the channel controls on the microphone make operation easy.

Features include:

  • Large back-lit LCD display with lamp dimming function
  • Dual watch feature
  • Rotary squelch control
  • Water ingress protection to IP55
  • Programmable memory channel scan
  • Remote channel change function microphone
  • Electret mic insert for enhanced frequency response
  • Advanced noise limiter (NL) circuitry
  • User selection of Australian 27 MHz CB or 27 MHz marine channels
  • Front mounted speaker
  • Priority channel selector key

In December 2007, I'd purchased an Icom IC-M33 Hand Held, VHF Marine Transceiver from Prestige Communication in Malaga WA, for use while out diving in small boats.

Icom IC-M33 VHF Marine Transceiver

I chose the ICOM IC-M33 Hand Held, Marine VHF Radio because it is fully submersible and it floats! If you drop the IC-M33 into water, the radio comes up to the surface so that you can easily retrieve it from out of the water. The IC-M33 is not designed to be used in the water, but it will operate after being at 1 metre depth for 30 minutes.

The Icom IC-M33 now comes out on the dive boat as a spare VHF radio.

We also have our mobile phones on the boat. I currently have a Samsung Galaxy Note Android based smartphone, and I use a Pelican 1040 Micro Case to keep it safe from the harsh marine elements.


GME MT400 406 MHz EPIRB Manual Activation

The dive boat came with a GME MT400-S503A 406 MHz Manually Activated digital EPIRB Type C/S Class 2 (serial # 905141606), UIN BEEE48A4980022D, expiry date 4 Apr 2013, which meets the Victorian safety regulations. This EPIRB is mounted in the left/port side pocket, just outside the cuddy cabin.

It gives world wide coverage, position location accuracy to within 5 km and a more stable transmitted signal resulting in faster response time. Most importantly, the addition of a unique digitally coded message provides Search and Rescue authorities with vital information including the country of beacon registration and identification of the vessel in distress, thus greatly reducing the incidence of false alerts and unnecessary deployment of valuable rescue resources. An auxiliary homing transmitter is included in the MT400 to enable suitably equipped Search and Rescue vessels to home in on the distress beacon.

If I was buying a new EPIRB for the dive boat, I'd opt for the GME MT406G 406 MHz Manual Activation EPRIB with GPS. I believe the GPS option adds an extra level of safety that's certainly worth having.


When heading off for a live-a-board dive trip in 2006, almost as a joke a friend lent me his small EPIRB and I took it along and dived with it. As it was based on the old 121.5/243 MHz analogue system, I didn't buy one for myself. However, I could certainly see the benefits of having one.

GME AccuSat Pocket Pro+ MT410G PLB with GPS

Eventually small, compact PLBS (Personal Locator Beacons) units based on the new 406 MHz digital system became available. I purchased a GME AccuSat Pocket Pro+ MT410G PLB with GPS from Prestige Communication in Malaga WA, type C/S Class 2 Cat1 + GPS, model MT410G-h503A (serial # 71244583), UIN 3EF62755BF81FE0, expiry date 4 Apr 2013.

The unit has a 7-year battery life and with GPS accuracy should tell the emergency services where I am to typically less than 45 metres. The unit puts out a 5 Watt digital 406 MHZ signal, plus a 121.5 MHz homing signal and includes a high visibility strobe light. It's sealed waterproof design exceeds the IP67 specifications, but that's not good enough for scuba diving.

The GME AccuSat Pocket Pro+ MT410G PLB with GPS now comes out on the dive boat as a spare EPIRB.

Life Jackets

When diving from small boats, Victorian regulations are such that we must wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) Type 1 when we are in hazardous waters, even though we're typically already in our wetsuits. So for crossing The Rip, we still have to stop and put a life jacket on.

Instead of using the bulky life jackets most boat owners have, I decided to purchase my own Stormy Yoke Inflatable PFD Type 1 (Style: SIY, serial #: F 271833) online from Stormy Australia. It's red in colour and has a manually activated inflation system powered by a CO2 cylinder, plus a backup oral inflation tube. The reflective shoulder tape and signal whistle add to the safety factor.

In tends to be cold out on the water in between dives during winter in Melbourne. So in July 2010 I purchased a Stormy Jacket Inflatable PFD Type 1 ( size 2XL, serial #: F 214351) online from Stormy Australia. It's yellow in colour and has a manually activated inflation system powered by a CO2 cylinder, plus a backup oral inflation tube. The warm fleece lining and hand warming pockets, roll away hood, long zip out arms, plus water and wind proof outer shell combine to keep me warm and dry.

A TAFT Lifejacket, PFD Type 1, (serial # B265254), year of manufacture 1987, plus a two Marlin Challenge Mark 1 Lifejackets Adult PFD Type 1, year of manufacture 2001/11 and 2001/10, are kept on board the dive boat for the use of my friends and guests. These three lifejackets are stowed in the right/starboard side pocket inside the cuddy cabin.

Boat Life Jackets
Boat Life jackets

First Aid Kit

DAN Asia-Pacific Pro Plus First Aid Kit

In September 2007, I completed a Senior First Aid Course with DAN Asia-Pacific, in Melbourne Victoria. That December I decided I should purchase a DAN Asia-Pacific Pro Plus First Aid Kit to have with me in the car when heading out on shore dives.

The DAN Asia-Pacific Pro Plus First Aid Kit is designed for both diving professionals and others. It has all the usual general first aid supplies PLUS more ... including a SAM Splint, Resuscitation Mask and emergency blanket. It comes in a waterproof Pelican 1400 Orange Case.

This first aid kit is kept in the boot of my car when on the road, and in the dive boat when out on the water.

The boat came complete with a first aid kit in a blue plastic container which is kept in the left/port storage pocket in the cuddy cabin.

Boat First Aid Kit
Boat First Aid Kit

Other Safety Items

A Quell fire extinguisher is mounted in the right/starboard side pocket, just outside the cuddy cabin. An old fire extinguisher is stowed in the left/port storage pocket just inside the cuddy cabin.

Burke Throw Bag

A Burke Throw Bag (product # THR152) was purchased from Whitworth's Marine & Leisure in Melbourne Victoria. This compact throw bag has 15.2 m of 3 strand 8 mm floating line stowed in a nylon bag. Easy to use, simply grasp hand loop at draw string end with non-throwing hand and throw bag at target. It features a grab handles at each end of the line, has clear instructions printed on the bag, a quick release draw string with toggle, and webbing attachment handle with quick release buckle.

Safety Grab Bag

A yellow Safety Gear Bag, purchased from Whitworth's Marine & Leisure in Melbourne Victoria, is stowed in the left/port storage pocket just inside the cuddy cabin. The compact GME PLBS and Icon IC-M33 Hand Held VHF Marine Transceiver are kept in this bag, along with the Burke Throw Bag (product # THR152) which has 15.2 metres of rope.

Fishfinder / GPS Chartplotter / Side Scan Sonar

In mid 2010, David Kelly added a Lowrance HDS-7 Fishfinder / GPS Chartplotter (serial # 103291517) with Lowrance StructureScan LSS-1 side scan sonar imaging (serial # 103320788) to the dive boat.

Lowrance HDS-7

This is a large-but-compact solution with 16.3 cm (6.4 inch) full VGA 640 x 480 colour viewing that renders fishfinder and navigation details. It also includes the new SolarMAX™ PLUS bright-sunlight/wide-angle display with pure-white LED screen/keypad backlighting that fully adjusts to zero-dim for night vision.

The sonar/sounder section has built-in Broadband high-definition fishfinder technology using either 50/200 or 83/200 kHz.

The GPS navigation section has a high-sensitivity 16-channel GPS+EGNOS+MSAS antenna. HDS has built-in cartography. It is fully compatible with all Navionics® chartcards Platinum+, Platinum, Platinum HotMaps with one high-speed SD card slot. Fully ready to build your complete stand-alone or networked onboard system. It can store 5000 waypoints, 200 routes, plus up to 10 pilot trails with up to 12,000 points per trail.

The Lowrance StructureScan LSS-1 is the brightest new edge in high-detail, picture-perfect bottom viewing of ledges, channels, drop-offs, and brush with superb clarity. There is a fully-waterproof control module plus an imaging transducer that is mounted on the transom.

Lowrance HDS-7 Configuration:
Platform 3.5.11494_r7
Loader 2.2.4
Navionics version 00.02.04_r1664_III
Serial number 3256552129
Sonar version 1.3.8
Keypad version 1.1.0
Language pack Standard
Hardware 1GiB 256MiB 640x480
Ethernet ksz8851

Nautical Charts and Waypoints

The Lowrance HDS-7 GPS Chartplotter is loaded with the Navionics Platinum+ XL Charts for Melbourne/Tasmania 8P133XL V01.22, P+/XL SD, SD/8P133XL V01.22 on a 2 Gb SD card. These multi-dimensional marine charts deliver a selection of bonus information beyond the best available navigation charts such as panoramic pictures, 2D views with satellite imagery, coast pilot guides, POIs and built-in offshore fishing detail.

NavigationPLANNER is used with a Navionics USB 2.0 multi-card reader (Serial # 32007) for viewing the Navionics marine charts, together with waypoints and routes on the PC. It allows you to backup all waypoints and routes on your PC, import data from other sources, and transfer them to your chart plotter.

I have also purchased a Lowrance PC-30-RS422 (127-49) power and data cable for the Lowrance HDS-7 and connected it to a 12V car cigarette lighter plug. Thus I can now power up the unit when it's not in the boat so as to change settings and load and save information.

Other diving friends have different GPS units and share waypoints using the GPX file format. The Lowrance HDS-7 can save to the GPX format, but can't load it in. Plus, as I write this in January 2013, the HDS-7 doesn't write all of its information into a GPX file, thus important information is lost during data transfers.

The Lowrance HDS unit puts all of its information into the Lowrance USR4 format files. But as this is a proprietary file format, it's not widely supported by GPS software.

NavigationPLANNER finally seems to properly support the USR4 file format. Plus it now lets me read the Navionics data stored on the hard drive instead of always having to have it accessible via a special card reader. Thus I can now transfer waypoint information to and from the Lowrance HDS-7 via the USR4 file format.

But exchanging information with friends using other GPS units is very problematic.

GPS Babel partially supports USR4 files but information is lost moving from USR4 to GPX and back.

TopoGrafix ExpertGPS can read USR4 files, but missmatches data fields so again information is lost.

GPS Utility can't read USR4 files.

Currently I'm finding the whole concept of transferring information from the chartplotter to my PC and back, plus editing and adding waypoints, and sharing waypoints with others a real minefield. All of the various programs have all sorts of features. But none of them make it easy for you to understand just what you can and can't do with your device, or provide full support for your device.

None of the programs and devices seem to support the concept of a simple synchronisation feature where they make it easy to add and update information.

Sound System

Lowrance SonicHub Marine Audio Server
Lowrance SonicHub Marine Audio Server

In November 2011, we fitted a Lowrance SonicHub Marine Audio Server for the Lowrance HDS, with waterproof dock and two waterproof speakers. This unit features full iPod, iPhone, and MP3 compatibility, plus AM and FM radio, all controlled from the Lowrance HDS-7 display.

An aerial splitter is used from one of the existing aerials to give the AM/FM signal to the SonicHub.

I now get to take my Apple iPod Classic 160 Gb music player out onto the water with my full music collection available. I'm using a Pelican i1010 iPod Case to protect the iPod Classic when it's not docked in the SonicHub.

Tool Kit

The following tools and spares are carried on board to help in case of a boat or scuba gear problem.

  • Stainless steel adjustable 7" spanner. Made specifically for the marine environment, this spanner incorporates a handy deck filler key cast into the head, two shackle keys, and a bottle opener as a part of the handle. Constructed from 304 grade stainless steel for easy corrosion resistant use. Opens to 22 mm.
  • Wanderer Camping & Outdoor 8-In-1 Multi Tool made from stainless steel with a polyester sheath included. Functions include: knife, adjustable wrench, phillips screwdriver, bottle opener, small slotted screwdriver, large slotted screwdriver, serrated blade, scissors.
  • John-Benzen Tools 19-In-1 stainless steel multi-purpose hammer with belt nylon pouch. Tools include: 2 function claw hammer, screw driver, tooth knife, double-tooth file, knife, inch meter, phillips screwdriver, can opener, bottle opener, small tooth knife, saw, 4 hex spanners. Overall length is 145 mm.
  • Platinum Split Ring Braided Line Cutting Pliers, 16 cm, Blue, stainless steel, bent jaws with split ring opener, soft spring loaded handle and lock guard.
  • Platinum Long Nose Braided Line Cutting Pliers, 16 cm, Green, stainless steel, soft spring loaded handle and lock guard.
  • Platinum Braid Cutter Braided Line Cutting Pliers, 12.7 cm, Orange, stainless steel, soft spring loaded handle and lock guard.
  • Duratech Precision Stainless Steel Sidecutters 115 mm, from Jaycar.
  • Duratech Precision Stainless Steel Long Nose Pliers 125 mm, from Jaycar.
Boat Tool Kit
Boat Tool Kit

Boat Lines, Shot Lines, Drift Lines, Cray Lines, Decompression Trapese etc.

To cover the requirements of running the boat, beach launching, plus doing various types of diving, an assortment of lines and buoys are used.

The 10 mm and 12 mm white nylon 3 strand rope, the yellow 10 mm ski rope, plus the 6, 8 and 12 mm stainless steel, asymmetric snaps, described here were purchased from Quarterdeck Marine, Seaford Victoria.

To label various lines, I purchased a Mills Styrox SPS 33 Business Hours sign from my local Bunnings. This 200 mm x 300 mm sign can be cut up into eight 66 mm x 100 mm tags, drilled to create the appropriate sized hole, labeled on one side with a Sharpie Permanent Marker, and attached to lines with cable ties.

Boat Lines

Long Dock/Tow Line: A Blueline Dock Line, 12 mm double braided nylon, 30 metres long, with a soft eye spliced in one end gives excellent shock absorption and abrasive resistance. Purchased from BCF, Braeside Victoria.

Shorter Dock/Tethering Line: A Blueline Dock Line, 10mm double braided nylon, 4.5 metres long, with a soft eye spliced in one end gives excellent shock absorption and abrasive resistance when used as a dock/mooring line. Purchased from BCF, Braeside Victoria.

Short Dock/Tethering Line: A Blueline Dock Line, 10mm double braided nylon, 3 metres long, with a soft eye spliced in one end gives excellent shock absorption and abrasive resistance. Purchased from BCF, Braeside Victoria.

Main Buoy for Shot, Drift and Cray Lines

The main float buoy used is a pear shaped, DAN-FENDER Inflatable heavy duty buoy, injection moulded from tough flexible orange vinyl (model B50) purchased from Anchor Marine, Sandringham Victoria. It features a heavy duty black solid injection moulded eye, high gloss body and metal inflation valve. It has an overall length of 570 mm, 405 mm in diameter, with an eye diameter of 28 mm and a buoyancy of 46 kg.

A 1 metre length of 12 mm white nylon 3 strand rope, is used to secure a 12 mm stainless steel, asymmetric snap hook to the main buoy. The snap has a formed eye and strong spring opening action. The rope is securely spliced to the buoy's eye at one end and to the snap hook at the other end.

Dive Marker Buoy
Dive Marker Buoy

Shot Lines

I've setup three shot lines from 10 mm white nylon 3 strand rope. They are 40, 20 and 10 metres in length, which enables me to make up the various length combinations required for the range of dive sites we use shot lines on.

Each line has an 8 mm stainless steel, asymmetric snap hook securely spliced onto each end. These snaps have a formed eye and strong spring opening action.

Shot lines
Shot lines

I've chosen nylon line because it's nearly twice as strong as silver rope. This allows a smaller diameter rope to be used which proves cost effective. Nylon rope is the strongest and most elastic synthetic fibre UV resistant rope. It is easy to handle, has great elasticity, shock absorption and abrasion resistance, plus it can be cleaned easily in soapy water.

Tidal Indicator Pip/Buoy Line

To help determine what the tidal current is doing when waiting for slack water, we have a tidal indicator pip/buoy line. This uses three white solid styrene surface floats - a 150 mm diameter float at the far end, then 1 metre apart is a 120 mm diameter float, then another 1 meter apart is a 100 mm diameter float.

About 1 metre from the smallest of the floats a 8 mm stainless steel, asymmetric snap is securely spliced onto the end of the line, which is used to clip the line to the main buoy. The line used is yellow 10 mm ski rope.

Pip buoy line
Pip buoy line

Cray/Drift Lines

The main buoy is deployed. Clipped to it is a 20 metre length of yellow 10 mm ski rope with 8 mm stainless steel, asymmetric snaps securely spliced onto each end.

A 1 metre long short float line made from yellow 10 mm ski rope, with a 100 mm diameter, white, solid styrene surface float in the middle, plus 8 mm stainless steel, asymmetric snaps securely spliced at each end, is then attached to the end of the first line. This keeps the line up in the water column so as to help the line from being snagged on reefs.

For each diver, a 12 metre length of yellow 10 mm ski rope with 8 mm stainless steel, asymmetric snaps securely spliced at each end, is clipped to the end of the short float line. There is a small stainless steel snap positioned in the line 3 metres from the end, to which a long cray snare can be attached when cray hunting in South Australia.

Drift/cray dive lines and float line
Drift/cray dive lines and float line

For drift dives, a 250 mm long, 25 mm diameter, wooden handle - one per diver - is clipped to the end of each of the 12 metre drift/cray lines. The line is a length of yellow 10 mm ski rope with 8 mm stainless steel, asymmetric snaps securely spliced into the end.

Drift dive handles
Drift dive handles

For cray dives, a reef pick (reef anchor with just two 8 mm prongs) is clipped to the end of the 12 metre drift/cray lines. The reef anchors are hot dip galvanised, but they have also been painted with two coats of White Knight Rust Guard Cold Gal zinc rich coating for lasting protection, plus two coats of White Knight Rust Guard Yellow Epoxy Enamel.

Reef picks
Reef picks

ex HMAS Canberra Safety Line

When diving the ex HMAS Canberra, we tie up to a mooring buoy. We then drop a line down from the boat with a 5 kg lead drop weight such that it hangs 5 metres below the boat. The line has stainless steel snaps at each end. The weight has eye loops top and bottom.

A 30 metre length of Grunt 9mm braided, solid core, multi-purpose yellow colour rope (part # GR0003) purchased from Bunnings, with stainless steel snaps at each end and a small 100 mm diameter white solid styrene surface float attached one metre from the far end, is clipped to the bottom of the drop weight.

The far end is then taken by the first diver down to the wreck. A wire coat hanger is used to attach the line to the wreck. The last diver to start the return journey can easily detach the line from the wreck. Even if they fail to do so, a strong pull from the surface will detach the line.

Scuba Diving From "Raydon"

Loading Boat to Head Out Diving
Loading Boat to Head Out Diving

If you are nominated for, and agree to participate in, scuba diving activities from "Raydon", you will be asked to read, understand and consent to the terms of the "Raydon" Participation Agreement and Consumer Waiver as available for download below, and also displayed in the boat.
Download/view the "Raydon" Participation Agreement and Consumer Waiver
(Adobe PDF | 1 page | 16 Kb )

You will also be asked to read and sign that you accept and/or comply with the requirements for Scuba Diving From "Raydon", as available for download below and as will be provided to sign before heading out on the boat.
Download/view the Scuba Diving From "Raydon" requirements
(Adobe PDF | 1 page | 156 Kb )


NOTE: If you're looking to purchase any of the above equipment, please use the manufacturer and purchase details I've provided, or your favourite search engine. Alternatively, contact me at The Scuba Doctor.

Update 22-Nov-2018: The boat has just been fully serviced by Don at Advantage Marine in Highett. Two new marine batteries, dumped the fuel and flushed the fuel system, serviced and checked the engine, and fully checked the boat and trailer. New fuel filter and impeller. It's in top condition and ready for its new home.

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The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop

Last modified: Friday, 24 October 2014


Total # of dives:

Total Bottom Time:
288:46 hh:mm

Last Dive:
Sun, 07-Apr-2013
Merimbula Wharf
Merimbula Bay, NSW
[ 391 ]

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