15th February 2009
It is not often that one gets the chance to ‘test dive’ a new dive boat! This Sunday however, just such an opportunity arose.
The M/V Scimitar is a Blyth 33′ catamaran that is currently in the process of being fitted out to meet the demanding needs of the dive charter business. Operating from the pontoon in Eyemouth harbour this vessel is licensed for parties of up to 12 divers. The boat has an MCA licence of 60 miles.
The M/V Scimitar has had an interesting past, both as a charter trip boat operating out of Tiree on the West coast of Scotland , as well as first starting life as a work boat for an underwater marine archaeological unit. It’s skipper owner Derek Anderson, has made a number of modifications to the hull including the installation of an impressive new diver lift on the stern. The boat has twin turbo 170bh diesel engines, with the propellers being positioned some way back from the stern and situated well clear from the diver lift.
There is a large cabin complete with a small toilet, as well as seating around a central table plus facilities for the brewing of hot drinks. The bridge area is well equipped with all sorts of state of the art electronic wizardry. Derek has over 30 years experience as a commercial fisherman operating out of Eyemouth so has considerable knowledge when it comes to local waters and wrecks.
The trip out allowed an opportunity to test out the boats current setup as a dive charter boat. The wide catamaran deck affords plenty of space for the kitting up and secure storage of equipment. Entry into the water is via the stern dive lift platform. Currently this aluminium platform wobbles a bit as you advance out over the water which can be a little disconcerting for those of a more nervous disposition. Exiting the water however back onto the deck is a joy, thanks to the divers lift.
Derek has also installed wooden seating along the sides of the vessel and in the light of our test dive is going to make some modifications to this seating and the guardrails to allow more secure storage of cylinders and dive equipment.
Dives carried out during this test included a visit to the Burnmouth Caves and the Agate arch. After the recent winter storms however, combined with the recent rapid thaw of snow, underwater visibility was a disappointing 2-3 metres with little marine life evident. Nevertheless it was still nice to be back in the sea, despite the chilly 5° sea water temperature and certainly it beats diving in freshwater ponds.
At the end of the day we had a good day out with the opportunity to assist Derek in his goal of setting up the MV Scimitar to meet the needs of today’s demanding dive customers.
There is no doubt that this new boat has potential to become one of the premier dive charter boats on the North East coast .
Many thanks to Derek for a great day out.
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