The range can be up to several kilometres along the coastline from the launching point to a place where access would be difficult from the shore, although the sea is sheltered. It is a considerably cheaper alternative to using a powered boat, as well as combining the experience of sea kayaking at the same time.
More recently it has been exported to other countries :
- New Zealand, - and to a very limited extent the United Kingdom, where it remains rare. - One couple has been Kayak diving in Sabah, North Borneo, Malaysia since 2008 with members of the Piasau Divers club. Several dives have been made in and around the islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park. It was found that a dive-yak was perfect for diving and snorkelling. Especially since as an inflatable it could be deflated, brought by speedboat out to the further islands and then inflated and left to dive and kayak their way back home.
On reaching a dive site the lead kayak drops an anchor, and the other kayaks tie on to the back or use separate anchors. The divers put air into the buoyancy compensator attached to their diving cylinders and then push them overboard so they float while remaining tethered to the kayak by a bungee cord. Then they put on their weight belts, slide overboard, and climb into their jackets while floating. In places where the visibility is less than excellent it is important to use a diving reel to find the way back to the anchor, because usually there is no boat handler on the surface to pick up the parties if they surface elsewhere. Alternatively one of the party carries the anchor during the dive.
Getting into the kayak is the reverse of getting off. Since the kayaks are stable and open, it is easy to climb onto them from the side.
Until the late 2000s a purpose built inflatable dive kayak was built by "Sevylor". This came in two models - a single and double. The single was 0.8m in width and the double wider and more stable at 1m. The Diveyak was an excellent boat and could easily carry two divers and gear in an extremely stable platform that was simple to dive from and very rugged.
Today many fishing kayaks are available that have the stability and buoyancy to act as diving kayaks. An example is "Finn", a small manufacturer in Perth, Australia. "Feelfree" and other brands also make suitable kayaks.
An outrigger is a good idea as it is light and makes the kayak more stable to dive from and to get back into and when pulling tanks back on board.
A lanyard to tie paddles to the boat will prevent them from floating away while the user is diving. If all divers are to dive at once a dive flag will indicate the presence of divers in the water and that the boat has not been abandoned. In this case it is prudent for the divers to tow the boat as a float. In practice this is not hard in calm weather for the inflatables as they are light.
Most kayak diving is close to the coast at distances that would be easy to shore-dive had there been reasonable shore access.
It is important to fly a 'diver down flag' while diving to indicate that it is not an abandoned kayak and that there are divers underwater. In the UK, with its low water temperatures, strong tidal currents and bad weather, an empty boat at sea is likely to be reported to HM Coastguard by experienced and responsible seafarers as a sign of a possible life-threatening emergency. As it is the Coastguard's duty to investigate such reports, they may order a search of the area by an RNLI lifeboat or Coastguard helicopter. To reach a minimum level of safety when boat diving, a capable person should be left on the surface at the dive site while divers are underwater, to start a rescue and operate a marine VHF radio to raise the alarm in the event of a diving accident.
- John Liddiard (June 2000). "Paddling in Catalina". Diver Magazine. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- Jim Spears. "Kayak diving introduction". Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- Matt Aukett (June 2005). "Kayak Diving". Dive New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-08-25.
- Julian Todd (January 2010). "Kayak Diving in Britain and Ireland". Retrieved 2010-05-10.
- National Diving Committee (Dec 2007). "British Sub Aqua Club, Incident Reports 2007, Incident 07/281" (pdf). British Sub Aqua Club. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- "Sea search sparked by empty boat". The News (Portsmouth, England). 26 February 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- National Diving Committee (Dec 2005). "British Sub Aqua Club, Incident Reports 2005, Incidents 05/399 and 05/446" (pdf). British Sub Aqua Club. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- National Diving Committee (Jan 2009). "British Sub Aqua Club, The Diver's Code of Conduct" (pdf). British Sub Aqua Club. Retrieved 2009-06-08.[dead link]
- Safety and Rescue for Divers. British Sub-Aqua Club. ISBN 0-09-171520-2.
- Comprehensive Site on Kayak Diving
- Mark Theobald's website The original author of the kayak diving manual
- A kayak dive in the UK around the Llyn Peninsula.
- Kayaking Diver Southern California blog
- Top Kayaker index to diving articles