Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Need advice on recreational gear configurations? Look no further than this equipment forum.
User avatar
Gdog
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 3373
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby Gdog » Wed Sep 12, 2018 4:55 pm

Very nice report. Im glad it went well despite the weather and the tank issues. What size tank did you end up with?

User avatar
MariaT
Frequent Bubbler
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby MariaT » Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:06 pm

So, I have suddenly remembered that I was going to post an update after my trip to the Southern Channel Islands with Truth Aquatics. To summarize, 1) it was awesome, 2) I need a larger tank next time, 3) I should rather not rent a tank at their rental facility on the peer, 4) loved the boat, the crew, the nature, and will do it again.

In more details, the sites ranged from shallow-ish to 100+, and my LP tank wasn't a match for them - and of course, the deepest site happened to be very, very beautiful one with unique landscape and purple corals that I have not seen anywhere else on the trip! On that dive I got lucky to join the instructor with the AOW student for his checkout deep dive. It was short - "Hi, fishes! Bye, fishes!" but just right for my setup, although watching the needle on my pressure gauge moving fast to the left was sad. I wish I would come back with a different gear.

This time I found myself with limited buddies options: the other buddy pairs had HPs and sometimes larger sized tanks. If I went with them I would have shortened their dives or would have to surface solo which would not be comfortable doing at the unknown sites often with swells and currents. I ended up diving with two beginning divers and became the lead doing most of planning, navigation, monitoring their air, even teaching how to do a controlled ascent "anywhere" as opposed to returning to the anchor line and climbing. I can't always bring you back to the same spot in a kelp forest, sorry! All doable, just not something I wanted but had no choice to ensure the safety of my dive. There were a few solo divers on a boat whom I bombarded with questions on how they do it and why - now this skill is in my future plans list. And nope, they did not want buddies :)

As for not renting at the peer place. One of my buddies got a tank from them, same as mine but looking very rusty on the outside. It was trickling air bubbles underwater sometimes, the o-ring was fine, so go figure. On the third day of the trip the whole thing had to be reassembled by the boat crew and the captain himself because IIRC some inside plastic gasket or a washer worn out. The tank started leaking air all of the sudden right before my buddy put her gear on, luckily it happened on a boat, not in the water. My tank was okay except for crumbly o-ring, same as last year so I planned to replace it anyway.

The weather and vis were not so great, and we did not make it to the ultimate destination i.e. Cortes Banks, not a chance. However, the captain kept finding different dive sites for us that did not disappoint. Sometimes we could only do a single dive because of conditions and had to leave beautiful spot where I could have easily spend a day. I took some videos, they did not turn out well, I'll just put a few vide stills here for some visual interest :)

Well, that's pretty much it! If anyone wants to go on this trip next summer with me - let's do it together :)

img-1217.jpg

img-0272.jpg

img-1175.jpg

img-0308.jpg

User avatar
ljjames
I've Got Gills
Posts: 2667
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:46 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby ljjames » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:09 pm

Another work around is to get sidemount training and roll with a couple of 80’s with travel rigs ;) (i know i know, blasphemy, but gets you more gas if you need it). Or use one on your back and one with travel rig as a stage bottle if you have the training. Lots of ways to skin the proverbial cat. I’m with the folks that wouldn’t risk my own tanks with a boat compressor unless i really knew the operator.
----
"I survived the Brittandrea Dorikulla, where's my T-shirt!"

User avatar
Gdog
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 3373
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby Gdog » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:20 pm

MariaT wrote:Today I called the shop and found it funny when the guy on the phone became defensive after I suggested to ship the tank to the shop (The postal service may not want to do it... Ah, it does? Then we have no storage, and... and... Ok thanks, I got it.)

Yes, I wondered if their receptiveness would be less than encouraging. But the only way to know was to ask.

User avatar
MariaT
Frequent Bubbler
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby MariaT » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:12 pm

CaptnJack wrote:I would use the lp85s provided. One thing not mentioned is that the boats down there frequently give really wet fills. So plan on needing to have your cylinders tumbled when you return, they are likely to have rust in them.


THANK YOU! I was on the edge but now I will just rent. It was already too much hassle for one short vacation. Today I called the shop and found it funny when the guy on the phone became defensive after I suggested to ship the tank to the shop (The postal service may not want to do it... Ah, it does? Then we have no storage, and... and... Ok thanks, I got it.)

User avatar
CaptnJack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 7732
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2006 2:29 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby CaptnJack » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:37 am

I would use the lp85s provided. One thing not mentioned is that the boats down there frequently give really wet fills. So plan on needing to have your cylinders tumbled when you return, they are likely to have rust in them.
Sounder wrote:Under normal circumstances, I would never tell another man how to shave his balls... but this device should not be kept secret.

User avatar
Vjw
Dive-aholic
Posts: 219
Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:38 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby Vjw » Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:33 pm

I flew to Flower Gardens in Houston with my pony bottle and it wasn’t a problem. Valve disconnected and the 3rd TSA person knew what was going on and I got through easily (first two TSA people were new I think).
My lesson learned was - connect the valve back before you get to the dive operator! When I got to the charter and the crew was ‘inspecting my pony bottle’ I hadn’t reconnected the valve yet and they threatened me saying it needed a new sticker with current VIP because valve had been removed. I was shocked and started putting valve back on and told them it was fine - they let me use it but the issue could have been prevented if I put it back on before - think it depends on how anal your dive operator is.
That being said, you don’t want any debris, etc to get into the tank while valve disconnected. I put tape over both ends and did my own visual inspection. Hope this helps.

User avatar
Desert Diver
Extreme Diving Machine
Posts: 449
Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 9:20 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby Desert Diver » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:35 pm

A few times we flew Alaska to Cancun. They allowed a "Scuba gear". which consisted of a BCD, Reg, suit and such in one suitcase under 50 lb and a tank in another bag, also under 50 lb but the 2 together weighed lots more than 50lb. All for the $25 bag fee. This is why most of my AL80's are in Mexico.

User avatar
YellowEye
I've Got Gills
Posts: 2263
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:08 am

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby YellowEye » Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:22 pm

Hi
We shipped our pony bottles when we went on our truth aquatics trips. Not a problem.

I think somehow we were able to rent 100's or something from TA, but perhaps they don't do that anymore.

One thing to note is that the Truth Aquatic boats (at least the Vision) is not very friendly at all towards divers with drysuits, big tanks, pony bottles, weight harnesses and cameras... The boats don't have ladders, you have to do seal haul outs and the staff is not helpful with entering the boat. The boat enter procedure is geared towards wetsuit divers in 80's. So you may want to consider the weight of a bigger tank. We tore up our knees pretty bad.

Most dives are pretty shallow, however there were 2 dives which were deep with current where bigger tanks were helpful: the Eureka oil rig (only because they recently stripped marine life above 70') and Fornsworth Bank, which is just beautiful! (pic below)

calidiving.jpg


Hope you have fun!

User avatar
dlh
Extreme Diving Machine
Posts: 408
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:10 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby dlh » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:39 pm

If you are traveling domestically you can save a lot of hassle mailing gear. Check online for rate comparison, I found that USPS is generally cheaper for bulky and heavy items.

I once shipped a pair of bicycles home at the end of a week long ride down the Oregon coast, then continued by Plane down to SoCal.
Dave

User avatar
FlyinV
Dive-aholic
Posts: 227
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:40 am

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby FlyinV » Mon Jul 30, 2018 6:29 pm

I didn't ship a tank but I shipped an "Action Packer" case once to San Diego with scuba gear in it.
Worked fine and its almost impossible for UPS to destroy the action packer. It was about 100 bucks each way but he action packer held everything.
BCD - Drysuit -- ect.

I shipped it to a USP itself under Will call and picked it up from their depot -- Just thought one less move for my box was safer and I had time and a rental car.
Jeff V
http://www.nwdivers.me
http://www.thunderreef.com - My local dive shop - Thunder Reef Divers

User avatar
Gdog
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 3373
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby Gdog » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:35 pm

dlh wrote:USPS will ship anything if you pack it right. I shipped 70 lbs of dive gear back to Seattle from Santa Barbara once for about $50. I shipped gear to and from Hawaii once as well. As long and you empty the tanks and remove the valves you should not have a problem. Ship them to a hotel or other business address, just let them know ahead of time about the shipment.

This is a great idea. If Truth would let you ship it to them that would be awesome.

User avatar
dlh
Extreme Diving Machine
Posts: 408
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 8:10 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby dlh » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:30 pm

USPS will ship anything if you pack it right. I shipped 70 lbs of dive gear back to Seattle from Santa Barbara once for about $50. I shipped gear to and from Hawaii once as well. As long and you empty the tanks and remove the valves you should not have a problem. Ship them to a hotel or other business address, just let them know ahead of time about the shipment.

I have flown many times with cylinders before, but usually 19CF or smaller. Not sure what they will think about HP100's. I print out full page w/24pt font the following and put it inside the luggage with the tanks:

TSA INSPECTOR:

PLEASE NOTICE THESE SCUBA CYLINDERS ARE EMPTY AND THE VALVES HAVE BEEN REMOVED.

FEEL FREE TO PAGE OR CALL ME IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THEM, AS THESE CYLINDERS ARE A VITAL PART OF MY SCUBA SYSTEM!


THANK YOU-

Your Name
You Phone #
Last edited by dlh on Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Dave

User avatar
MariaT
Frequent Bubbler
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:15 am

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby MariaT » Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:08 pm

Gdog wrote:It seems to me that we found some Lp95 tanks at the shop right there when we were there last summer. But the good news is, all the dives are pretty shallow, as in 30-50'. So if you had to, you could use the AL80's. Are you flying into SB, or Lax? If Lax, you might find a shop on your way.
In my experience, I would not try flying with a tank. I used to take my pony bottle, but only briefly. The hassle is crazy. The valve has to be off of it. Then they will question you because many of them do not seem to know what to do with it, and that can turn into a debacle. You chance getting particles inside the tank. The weight for it as baggage wouldn't be cheap.
You will enjoy the trip, take meclazine with and the night before. The water gets a bit rough some times, even when they try to anchor in a calm bay. The food is good! Have fun, and give us a report when you get back!


Oh, this is discouraging... I am flying directly to SB, this limits my options. My previous trip on the same boat was all in the shallows just as you said, there were 2 OW student groups, aspiring beginners like myself and some old timers who went to test their equipment before a more serious adventure (those were the best buddies ever!) On the other hand, my husband went a 3 days trip with them somewhere to the Southern part of the islands, most of their dives were in the 70-90 range, very beautiful clean water and plenty of wildlife. This trip is to the Cortes Banks, whatever this may be, but if it is similar, I would love to hang around longer out there...

You are right, their food it good, and meclazine is a must :) I will post something when I return :)

User avatar
Gdog
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 3373
Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:41 pm

Re: Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby Gdog » Mon Jul 30, 2018 1:08 pm

It seems to me that we found some Lp95 tanks at the shop right there when we were there last summer. But the good news is, all the dives are pretty shallow, as in 30-50'. So if you had to, you could use the AL80's. Are you flying into SB, or Lax? If Lax, you might find a shop on your way.
In my experience, I would not try flying with a tank. I used to take my pony bottle, but only briefly. The hassle is crazy. The valve has to be off of it. Then they will question you because many of them do not seem to know what to do with it, and that can turn into a debacle. You chance getting particles inside the tank. The weight for it as baggage wouldn't be cheap.
You will enjoy the trip, take meclazine with and the night before. The water gets a bit rough some times, even when they try to anchor in a calm bay. The food is good! Have fun, and give us a report when you get back!

User avatar
MariaT
Frequent Bubbler
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2016 10:15 am

Local flight with a scuba tank - is it doable?

Postby MariaT » Mon Jul 30, 2018 12:00 pm

So... I am doing 4 days liveaboard trip with Truth Aquatics to the Channel Islands soon. I took a shorter intro trip with them last fall and loved everything - but the tanks! There is a scuba rental shop right on the shore where everyone orders their equipment, and that place only has AL80 and steel LP85(iirc). I called two more places in Santa Barbara if they have a HP100 tank for rent which is what I am used to, but to no avail. Really? But that's what I got.

Now I seriously consider flying with my own tank over there now because honestly I don't go on vacations very often! And - I can haul heavy stuff short distances :) Alaska airline allows scuba tanks ( https://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/baggage/special-baggage/traveling-with-sporting-equipment ) with the obivous note: "Scuba tanks must have the regulator valve disconnected. The tank must have an open end for visual inspection."

Does anyone here have an experience preparing their scuba tank for a flight - disassembling and packing? I am going to call that rental place in SB to see if they can help me put the tank back together after a flight, I don't see why not. But how do I prepare it for TSA inspection and pack correctly? Could you please advise something?

-Maria


Return to “Gear Central (Recreational)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests