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Lionfish Invitational Research Expeditions

The Application

  • I’m not Nitrox/Advanced Open Water certified yet, but I will be before the trip date. Can I still apply? Yes you can, but please note: You will not be allowed on the boat without the required certifications.

  • I don’t have dive insurance, but I will purchase it if I’m selected for a trip, is this okay? Yes, absolutely. DAN offerers great diving and travel insurance bundles, for around $100 you can purchase medical coverage and trip insurance. Check them out at

M/V FLing

  • Check out the M/V FLING here:, they post weather and condition updates on their Facebook page. Their website also has a great FAQ page that provides information on what to pack and dive gear needed.  Their Facebook page is a great place to see current water temps, and we will also include that information in our pre-trip email updates.

  • Water temperatures in the Gulf can vary. We've outlined a general guide of water temps below.

           May --> 24 to 26C (75 to 79F)

           June --> 27 to 29C (81 to 84F)

           July --> 28 to 30C (82 to 86F)

           August --> 29 to 30C (84 to 86F)

          September --> 29 to 30C (84 to 86F)

          October --> 26 to 28C (79 to 82F)

  • You will pick your own bunk and your own dive buddy, we assign neither. You will receive an email about a week before the trip that will allow you to choose your bunk, notify the FLING of any dietary needs and fill out the FLING’s waivers.

  • There is no cell service. The FLING has StarLink, and you can purchase internet access from them directly. This is a new addition to the FLING. In the past, we have found that the lack of wi-if and cell service is actually quite nice.

  • We will not be eating any of the lionfish.

  • The FLING captain and crew and Lionfish Invitational will cancel dives if needed to due weather. We are 100 miles offshore, and safety is 100% our first priority.

  • The FLING sells beer and sodas onboard. You make bring your own liquor or wine, which the FLING will store for you. Special food items can also be brought aboard, and stowed in the FLING’s galley. No food or drink is permitted in cabins.

Before The Trip:

  • Purchase travel insurance (consider bundling your medical and travel insurance at Purchase a refundable flight. Things happen — we cannot control the weather and sometimes boats break.

  • We travel to and from the dive sites overnight. If you take sea sickness medications, TAKE THEM IN ADVANCE.

  • Transportation to and from the boat is your responsibility. As we get closer to the trip, we will send you emails that include other participants’ contact info. Use that to coordinate travel, carpooling, car rentals, hotels, etc. You can also check the Facebook page to connect with your future trip mates.

  • There are 2 airports in Houston, HOU ( Houston Hobby) and IAH (George Busch Intercontinental ).  HOU is much closer to Clute where the trip briefing happens and is also much closer to Freeport, where the boat docks. While we always plan on waking up back at the dock on Thursday morning for breakfast and our post-trip briefing, weather and boat mechanisms sometimes have their own schedule. Book your return flight with this in mind.

  • Our MANDATORY pre-trip briefing is at El Toro Tex-Mex Restaurant located at 120 Commerce St, Clute TX 77531. Our federally approved permit that allows this trip to happen requires this meeting, if you are not at this meeting, you do not dive.

  • After the briefing, we will all drive to the FLING dock, located at: 726 W Brazos Freeport, TX 77541. Your car will remain in a parking lot by the boat dock during the trip.  While this is a very safe area, DO NOT leave firearms or valuables in your car. The FLING has an onboard safe where you can securely store these items.

What To Pack:

  • The FLING provides us with tanks, they are aluminum with yoke-style valves (if you are DIN, bring an insert). If you are driving, you can bring your own tank as long as it is in hydro and up to date on its VIP. No exceptions. The FLING also provides weights, however, if you are driving feel free to bring your own.

  • Please bring a towel, clips for securing things to the deck, your dive gear, toiletries, comfortable clothes, including a sweatshirt (the boat has amazing air-conditioning).  A water bottle is a nice thing to have on the deck. The FLING provides bedding in your bunk, but bring your own pillow if you’d like.

  • The FLING’s dock is home to a swarm of the biggest meanest mosquitoes I’ve ever encountered. Bring bug spray and don’t be shy about using it while you load and unload gear. This is only an issue at the dock, there are no bugs 110 miles out in the Gulf.

  • 3 things that you CANNOT dive without: safety sausage, WORKING flashlight, and compass. We recommend the “One is None, Two is One” rule, please bring two of each if you have them (or three! Or four!)

  • We provide Zookeepers, pole spears and weights. If you are driving and can bring your own, that’s very helpful! If not, we’ve got you covered.

  • Getting back onboard the FLING involves a long ladder. In heavy seas, it can be challenging. You have no way of handing your fins off, so make sure they can be secured to your body.  The ladder ain’t no joke, you will NOT make it back onboard with your fins in your hands. (I have full-foot fins, so I have para cord looped through mine that I can slide over my wrists.) 

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