NYC Sea Gypsies Diving Rules and Policies


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1. Introduction. The NYC Sea Gypsies volunteer staff puts a lot of work into organizing the dive schedule. In addition, the club (a non-profit organization) assumes a large financial obligation for the many charter dives on the schedule. However, in the past, there has been confusion about our club diving rules and policies. To avoid this, we have outlined these rules and policies in this document and as such, they may be revised by the Board from time to time. This document supplements our Club By-Laws, which control in the event of any conflict. Please read and understand these before purchasing any charter spots, or committing to any other diving activities.

2. Club-Sponsored Diving Activities. The Sea Gypsies typically charter local dive boats during the season for day trips to our local wrecks. We also have events at Dutch Springs, shore diving events, local dive trips and dive trips out of the area.

3. Requirements to Participate in Club-Sponsored Diving Activities. The club will not allow anyone to participate in any club-sponsored diving activity without (1) paid dues for the current year, (2) a fully executed liability waiver on file for the current year, and (3) an image of both sides of the diver’s valid scuba certification card on file.

The card does not need to be updated yearly, but if a higher level of certification is required by a boat captain or any other operator for a given dive, the club must have this card on file. Note that certification requirements are levels like OW, AOW, AN/DP, Trimix, CCR, etc.. We do not need any specialty cards like dry suit or nitrox, and we do not need any DM or instructor cards.

The waiver is available as a fillable PDF form for convenience, but the signature of the diver, the signature of the witness, and the initialing of the first page of the waiver must be done by hand on a printed copy. Once completed, the waiver may be given to the membership chair in person, or a legible image of the waiver may be sent to membership@seagypsies.nyc.

The club also requires an email address AND a cell phone number to allow the dive chair and sponsors to distribute information prior to the event, and to rapidly communicate with the divers in the event of last minute cancellations, delays, or emergencies.

The club does not make any determination about whether any diver is qualified to do any given dive – this decision is entirely up to the individual diver, as well as any external dive operator (boat captain, dive shop, instructor or resort) that may be organizing the dive. Experience with local conditions is also an important consideration. Divers with certification in warm, clear water should consider the extra challenges of diving in the northeast before pushing any limits.

The club also is not responsible for arranging buddy teams, or for providing gear. Individual members who choose to assist other divers (whether or not they are diving professionals) do so solely on their own behalf, and not as representatives of the club.

4. Requirements for participation in specific charter boat dives or trips. The captain of the dive boat (or the person in charge of any dive shop or other dive operator) determines their minimum certification and gear requirements for each diving activity. The club will note these requirements on the published dive schedule. Anyone participating in these activities is solely responsible for confirming that they meet these requirements. If there are any questions, the diver must clarify these with the boat captain, shop or dive operator. No refunds will be given if the diver cannot meet these requirements by the time of the dive.

5. Buying charter boat dive spots.

a. The dive schedule is typically announced at the February meeting. No spot is confirmed until payment has been made in full, and the Member has otherwise met the requirements of Paragraph 3 above.

b. Club members who serve either on the executive board or on the dive committee (by sponsoring at least one dive) will get two days of early access to the dive schedule to book spots, in appreciation for the volunteer work that they do on behalf of the club. They can book one spot per dive, for themselves only, in advance of the release of the schedule.

c. Following announcement of the dive schedule, members may purchase charter spots. All requests must be made by communicating with the dive chair - either in person, by telephone, by email or other electronic messaging – and the dive chair is the only person who can confirm reservation of a charter spot. If the February meeting is in-person, members who are physically attending the meeting will have priority. The dive chair is not responsible for confirming the ability of any diver to do any dive, as per section 3 and 4 above.

d. The dive schedule will be emailed to the full membership the day after the February meeting, so that members who are not at the meeting will be able to purchase spots.

e. Members who have purchased a spot on a club dive may invite one non-member guest to purchase a spot, and the same requirements in Paragraphs 3 and 4 apply. Unless the guest has the certification and gear to satisfy the boat captain’s solo diving criteria, the sponsoring member must buddy with their guest.

f. If there are unsold spots on a charter within one week of the dive date, they may be purchased by non-members subject to the same requirements in Paragraphs 3 and 4.

6. Selling charter boat dive spots. If a diver has purchased a spot, can no longer use it and wants to resell it, they must first check with the Dive Chair. No spot can be resold until the Club has sold out the dive. If the Dive Chair confirms that the dive is sold out, then the Dive Chair will check the standby list, if any, and the spot must be offered to the first person on the list. If the spot is declined or if the person does not respond after a reasonable period of time, then the spot must be offered to the next person on the standby list, and so on, until the list is exhausted. At such time, the person who originally purchased the spot is then free to try and resell it as he or she sees fit. The same rules outlined above in sections 3-5 for initial sales apply, and the diver selling the spot must immediately inform the dive chair of any sale so that the roster can be kept current.

7. Refunds. Refunds will only be given if the charter is cancelled by the dive boat captain, (typically because of weather, sea conditions or mechanical issues) or in very rare cases, by the dive chair or the Sea Gypsies executive board. The dive sponsor will communicate any such cancellations with the divers on the roster. This will be done as soon as possible once a decision has been made. However, it is understood that the Captain’s decision to cancel a local dive is generally made very close to the time of departure (and in some cases, even after departure from the dock). The club is not responsible for financial losses due to unused gear rentals, hotel accommodations or travel costs.

8. Requirements for Shore and Quarry Diving. The Club requirements for Club-Sponsored shore or quarry dives are the same as detailed in Paragraphs 3 and 4 except that the owners of private property (such as Dutch Springs) may have additional requirements and/or policies for diving in the water located on their land. Members are responsible for determining and complying with the property owners’ requirements in addition to the Club requirements.

9. Local trips and trips out of the area. Dive trips are subject to the same rules and policies as outlined above in sections 3-6. Special arrangements and cancellation policy should be confirmed with the trip organizer before signing up.