Another reason to get into the water
It's hard to imagine there are any recreational boaters in Hawaii without such diving essentials as masks, snorkels and fins aboard their boats.
These basic accessories for going underwater are, after all, always going to be needed for inspecting or cleaning a boat's bottom, or for emergencies like unsnarling a line that has wrapped itself around a propeller.
Moreover, I'm sure the vast majority of boaters here, even if just occasionally, enjoy the experience of snorkeling in Hawaii's tepid, clear waters, even without some work project in mind.
Some boaters may have at least one self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) aboard, however, that is not likely for most boaters for several reasons. The pressurized tanks can be hazardous, they are heavy, and passing a certification process is required just to get the tanks refilled.
There is, on the other hand, a device that seems to me to be a transitional step between free diving and SCUBA that boaters might like to consider. It's called a PowerDive hookah diving system.
This easy-to-use system, in its most basic configuration, consists of a 12-volt-powered compressor that provides air to a diver through a 20-foot hose to a mouthpiece regulator. Just put on your mask and fins and you're ready to go.
Mike Pascoe, whose company EasyDive Hawaii sells the system, was kind enough to allow a couple of friends and me a chance to demo a PowerDive unit and we all were sold on how safe and comfortable it was to use.
As Pascoe's promotional materials indicate, the depth a diver may go is only limited by the length of the hose and factors such as his or her diving experience, level of exertion, breathing technique, age, and fitness.
There are four basic models of the PowerDive systems available. The one we tested was called a Deck Snorkel Hookah and the total package only weighed 29 pounds. A similar, but larger unit, called the Double Deck, weighs 40 pounds and can supply air to two divers at the same time.
For ocean lovers who would like to use this dive system but aren't boat owners, PowerDive also has a model that floats in its own molded polyethylene housing. This 77-pound unit allows up to one hour of dive time for two people.
PowerDive's fourth model, called the Extreme Snorkel, is an 84-pound commercial version that floats and can supply two divers air down to 60 feet, or air to three or four divers to a depth of 15 to 20 feet.
List prices for the PowerDive hookah diving systems range from about $1,500 to $4,000, depending on the model. But Pascoe has been known to offer sale prices at various times of year.
I would advise anyone who is looking for a great way to explore Hawaii's beautiful underwater reefs, with or without a boat of their own, to contact Pascoe at EasyDive Hawaii on the Garden Isle at 1-877-348-3327 for more information.
Or, better yet, check out his informative Web site at www.easydivehawaii.com.