Frequently Asked Questions
Are you accepting bookings for this dive season?
Yes we are taking reservations spring, summer and fall now. Check our calendar , send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 252-646-8754 for availability.
Be sure to check out the blog section in the “Captain’s Corner” and catch up on Captain James’ unique perspective on things.
What qualifications and/or experience do I need to dive on Tortuga?
We can accomodate all levels of certified open water divers. Our coast has a range of dive sites that go from inshore intermediate to offshore advanced and even technical diving. Everyone will be happier if your group has similar training and experience. For wrecks and reefs over 70 feet deep, we require a minimum of Advanced Open Water certification and 30 logged dives, with at least 3 dives to a 100′ or more, preferably in the open ocean.
If I do not have the certification or experience to make a specific dive, can I hire a Divemaster to dive with me?
Yes. All of our mates and the Captain are Divemasters and we also have local freelance divemasters available for an additional fee. Please arrange this early when you book your charter. Requesting this service the day before the dives may result in a Divemaster not being available.
Where is the best place to check current and near term coastal weather for the waters Tortuga dives?
NOAA Marine Weather for Onslow Bay out to 20 nautical miles is the first place to look. It can be different further offshore, but you have to travel through this area coming and going. For up to the minute wind speed and direction, as well as wave height and period…check here. Onslow Bay Weather Buoy. For an idea of sea temperatures, you can look at the satelite images, but remember, if it is overcast, the images will be blank. If you have a hard time interpreting the information on these sites, read this explanation.
What EANx mix is recommended for Nitrox divers?
Most of our offshore dives are in the 100′-120′ range, making EANx 30% the safest mix. Discuss with the Captain the depths your group wants to dive and certified Nitrox divers are welcome to bring and dive the mix they see fit.
How do we get our tanks filled between days?
We have a Nitrox blending station. Tank fills are $15 per tank if you bring us your tanks and pick them up. If we take your tanks from the dock after your dives and return them the next morning there is a $5 per tank service charge. Rental tanks are $25 per tank and that includes service to the boat.
What time does the Tortuga leave the dock?
All Tortuga trips are custom charters, so the customer generally arranges the departure time with the crew. We suggest a departure time of 7am for offshore and extended day trips because of the distance to the sites. Inshore half day and regular day can leave later. One our favorite things to do is leave early before the sun comes up and make the first dive at sunrise.
What food and drinks do the divers need to bring to the boat for the trip?
Bring enough food and drink for a full day at sea. We have a large cooler with plenty of ice always on the boat. Please transfer your provisions to the cooler on the boat and avoid bringing additional coolers aboard. There is a microwave in the galley if you want to bring food that needs to be heated. We provide plenty of bottled water so everyone stays well hydrated.
What other items are suggested to bring?
A dry towel, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are all good items to bring along. If you are prone to motion sickness, dramamine or a patch may be in order. We try to always have ginger snaps and ginger ale on hand, which always seems t help. It is always a good idea to have a dry bag for your items and clothes.
Do you have rental gear available?
We have very limited rental gear, and it is best to make arrangements with one of the 2 dives shops, Olympus or Discovery if you do not have your own gear. We do have a supply of last minute items that could fall into the “save a dive” category, such as regulators, mask and fin straps, finger spools, SMB’s and dive lights.
Are tanks and weights provided with the charter?
No, they are not. We have enough HP steel 120 cf tanks to rent for a charter of 6 divers on a 2 tank trip. These are always filled with EANx 30%, so nitrox certification is required. There are two good shops in the area that rent tanks as well and other gear as well. If you will need tanks and weights for your dives, please let us know in advance so we can prepare for you.
What is the system for handling dive gear on the boat?
We ask that all divers assemble their rigs for the first dive at the dock. The crew will assist in stowing away the remainder of your gear to keep the deck area clear and uncluttered.
Are there any suggested dive safety items?
We highly recommend that each diver carry a minimum of safety gear that includes an audible signaling device (whistle or horn), a SMB (surface marker buoy), a reel or spool with at least 150′ of line, and a cutting device (shears or dive knife). A good, but small dive light is a valuable piece of equipment to have along. Not only to shine under ledges and into wrecks, they double as a fine visual signaling device on the surface.
Do I need a North Carolina fishing license to spearfish?
Tortuga has a blanket fishing license, so anyone on the boat is covered, in state or out of state residents alike.
What about the rest of my questions?
Call the Captain at 252-646-8754. He is always willing to chat, answer questions and tell a story or two.