Preparing you for the adventure that lies ahead!

SOL MATES DIVE CHARTERS

Diving in Lake Superior

This page provides information to help you enjoy your charter experience. While the cold waters of Lake Superior maintain shipwrecks in outstanding condition for exploration and photography, there are other reasons to dive in the lake. For instance, there are boulder fields, walls, and fish spawning.

Weather

Lake Superior air temperatures tend to be cool most of the season, particularly in the evenings. You will likely be most comfortable if you assume water temperatures will be between 40-50 degrees F. However, on certain days, it is possible to see water temps in the mid-50’s (or possibly even higher), particularly on shallower dives. Rarely do divers encounter sub-40 degree water, although it is not unheard of and tends to only be at the deeper depths. Lake Superior can be trickly. The weather changes quickly causing rapid variations in wind and wave conditions. If we are unable to leave the dock (i.e. we are “weathered out”) the trip will be altered to accommodate the situation or moved to a different date.

Packing for Your Charter

Sol Mates large size provides ample space for multiple divers to be comfortable. However, as on any boat, storage space is at a premium. Please keep in mind it is important to pack lightly and bring on-board only items necessary for the trip.

The following items are likely to be useful: sleeping bag, pillow, jacket, clothes for varying (and often unpredictable) weather, towel for bathing, personal hygiene items, soft soled shoes (hard soled shoes can damage the boat), swimsuit (if desired), and your diving log book/certification cards. Soft sided luggage is preferred. Hard sided luggage will likely need to be unpacked and left on shore. Your dive kit (BCs/tanks/regulators) will be loaded on the boat pre-assembled and placed in the tank rack area, and fins/masks/hoods/etc. can be stored alongside your gear. As such, there will be no need for bulky equipment bags on board.

Due to its size, Sol Mates offers an exceptionally stable environment when on the water. However, as Lake Superior is a large body of water with changing (and often unpredictable) wave patterns, bringing along a preventative measure for motion sickness is recommended.

All divers will need to provide their own full set of SCUBA gear, including dive weights. A dry suit is recommended, however many people manage to get by with a 6-7 mm Farmer John or Farmer Jane style wetsuit. Regardless of your chosen exposure protection, hoods and gloves are an absolute must. Each diver must provide one SCUBA tank with proof of current inspection/certification via generally accepted SCUBA industry standards. “Pony” bottles may also be brought on board as needed (limit one per diver unless prior arrangements have been made). Please remember to pack a small spare parts kit (a “save a dive” kit) that contains whatever you may need to address minor issues with your equipment while on the water (extra mask strap, extra fin strap, extra regulator mouthpiece, etc.).

Sol Mates has standard 110-120 volt outlets throughout the boat to provide electricity for charging dive lights, cameras, or other electronic equipment as needed.

Departure, Diving & Return

Unless specifically communicated otherwise, charter participants should arrive at the dock no later than 7:00 AM on the 1st day of the charter. At this time the boat will be loaded, diver certifications will be checked, paperwork (liability releases, etc.) will be processed, and the required boat briefing will be conducted. The goal is usually to leave the dock by 8:00 AM. Charter participants are welcome to sleep on the boat the night prior to departure at no extra charge.

As we head to the first dive site a continental breakfast will be served. After the boat has moored, a dive site briefing will be conducted. Divers will then be able to complete one to two dives. A snack is typically provided between dives. After the morning’s dives are complete, a lunch typically consisting of sandwiches and soup is served. After lunch another one to two dives are conducted, most likely at a different dive site than the morning’s dives. The number of dives is dictated by the diver and how quickly the tanks can be refilled. Most divers find time to log two to three dives a day.

The boat will tie up to a dock or breakwater on Saturday evening and dinner will be provided. Dive gear may be left onboard overnight. On Sunday the same process will repeat, but dinner is NOT provided Sunday evening.

While onboard, food and drinks are provided. Sodas and alcohol are not provided. You may bring your own in plastic bottle or aluminum cans (preferred). There is limited room in the refrigerator so feel free to bring one cooler per group. Drinking must be under control – once alcohol is consumed you are obviously done diving for that day. If you want to use any type of tobacco products they must be used on the outdoor upper deck and all residues disposed of safely. Please be considerate of others.

There will be no illegal drug use on the charter. Illegal is defined as any illegal drugs or legal drugs used in a non-prescribed manor or by a person other than the one for whom the prescription was written. If any are found onboard the charter will immediately end and police will be contacted.

Dive Planning & Decompression

All divers aboard Sol Mates will dive with a buddy, and perform their dives within “no-decompression” dive limits. We strongly encourage all divers to not push the recreational limitsof their dive tables or dive computer.

Illness/Injury

Sol Mates has a first-aid kit and an emergency oxygen delivery system onboard. We strongly recommend each diver have some form of SCUBA diving accident insurance.

Gratuities

Gratuities are not included in the trip cost and are normally between 10% - 20% of the cost of your trip. They are given as appreciation for good service and are shared by the captain and crew. Tips may be provided individually or by having your group leader collect from everyone.

Reserve Your Spot

Multiple types of charter packages are available depending on the needs of your group. Feel free to contact us directly with any questions: Hanz Lehrke 651-208-9277 hanzlehrke@aol.com or Bob Karl 651-261-5719 karlx002@umn.edu.