Most yachtsmen keep masks and snorkels aboard, not just for underwater boat maintenance and checking their anchors, but because the Bahama islands offer almost limitless undersea exploring possibilities. You might just want to snorkel around on the surface; certainly, the shallow water of The Bahamas provides some of the best snorkeling territories in the world. Or, if you’re scuba-certified, there are all kinds of dives: drift dives, wreck dives and reef dives. You will see coral reefs with dramatic angelfish, triggerfish, friendly grouper swimming about, close to the bottom, rocks and eel caves. Vertical walls drop thousands of feet to the ocean floor, lined with a descending parade of spectacular sea life.
We recommend that you dive with a guide from one of the many dive concessions throughout the islands. Tank refills are usually available, and some shops rent underwater photo equipment and have photo labs that will develop your film. If you aren’t certified, most of the dive resorts offer instruction with certification. Remember that it is illegal to use or import any type of trigger-actuated spear gun. The use of a Hawaiian sling is allowed only with a mask, fins, and snorkel and not with scuba.
In a dive-related medical emergency, contact BASRA for immediate local assistance. There are recompression chambers at UNEXSO in Freeport, Grand Bahama; AUTEC, Andros; Providenciales, Turks & Caicos; and at the NOAA Diving/Hyperbaric Center on Virginia Key in Miami. If the Miami chamber is needed, call either of these 24-hour numbers: U.S. Coast Guard (305) 536-5611 or Dade County Emergency Rescue (305) 271-8996. They will contact the chamber and necessary doctors to be ready for your arrival.
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