Diving for Lobster: 5 Things As a Beginner You Need To Know

Diving for LobstersLucky for us, the waters off of the North Shore area of Massachusetts are a haven for lobsters. The rocky  coast is the perfect habitat for them to live. Many scuba divers love the sport of lobstering. Go on a nice dive, grab some dinner, you can’t beat it! Here is everything you need to know about lobstering in the North Shore.

  1. Get a Permit

    You MUST obtain a lobster permit before you can take any lobsters. Don’t think you can get away without having a permit, the authorities check often. You can get your MA Lobster Permit by heading over to the mass.gov website. The cost for MA residents is $55 and for non-residents $75. You can complete the application online and get your permit numbers right away. Your permit numbers are a unique set of numbers that have to be displayed on your tank as well as you dive flag at all times.

  2. Learn the Rules

    A. Size really does matter: When lobstering you have to use a lobster gauge to make sure they are the correct size for taking. The minimum size is 3 1/4 inches and the maximum size is 5 inches. This article shows you how to measure a lobster correctly.

    B. Let the V Notch Ladies Go: It is Illegal to possess any female lobster that bears a notch or indentation in the base of the flipper that is at least as deep as 1/8 in. with or without setal hairs. You cannot take any female lobsters with eggs at anytime. Learn what a V Notch looks like here.

    C. How Many is Too Many: Your legal catch limit of the day is 15 lobsters. You may not think that’s many but realistically most people never reach that number on a daily basis.

    D. Daytime Only: You are only allowed to take lobster between a 1/2 hour before sunrise and 1/2 hour after sunset.

    To view the full regulations visit the Department of Marine Fisheries website.

  3. Get the Gear

    In order to catch lobsters while diving there are a few more pieces of gear you will have to add to your kit.

    A. Lobster Gauge: This will be your measuring tool to make sure you are taking the appropriate sized lobsters.

    B. Catch Bag: You will need a catch bag to hold the lobsters
    collection bag

    C. Banding Tool & Bands: This tool will put the lobster bands are the claws so the lobster don’t fight with each other and you don’t get snipped by a claw!
    lobster bander

    D. Dive Flag with Numbers Displayed: These are your permit numbers which you will always have to have displayed on your dive flag and tank.
    Dive Flag

    E. Tank Tag: This is a great way to mark your tank with permit numbers if you rent a tank. Simple put the numbers on the tank tag and slide it over any tank you may be using to display your numbers. No stickers, no hassle, just slide it on and off.

    F. Tickle Stick: This is a great option for people who are still a bit fearful of reaching in a dark hole to grab a lobster. This is a stick with a bend at the end so you stick it in the hole and tap the lobster on the backside so the lobster thinks something is in the back of the hole and runs out of the hole, (hopefully straight into your hands and into your catch bag)
    tickle stick

    G. Kevlar Gloves: Kevlar gloves are heavy duty and will last longer when lobstering or doing any work underwater.
    kevlar gloves

  4. Learn Where to Find Them

    Lobsters love the waters of Cape Ann. You will find lobsters in anywhere from 15ft – 60ft on average.  They like to hide out from predators on the rocky coast line. They like to hide in holes and cracks so you will have to look for them. Some of our customers favorite shore diving locations for lobster are Lanes Cove, Pebble Beach, or boat dives to the Dry Salvages or Folly Cove. If you want to learn more about lobsters, how to identify male versus female, head over to marine fisheries website.

  5. Get a Technique Down

    Everyone has their own style and method for lobster diving. Some people reach right and grab them and some choose to use a tool like a tickle stick. Start diving different areas and you will develop a sense of where the lobster like to live in that area. Take tips from all of the local divers to find the best method that works for you.

    WORD OF ADVICE: DO NOT take any lobsters from traps. Don’t circle around traps or mess with any part of the trap. There are plenty of lobsters out there, respect all people’s property. Also, the use of snares is not allowed! There a hefty fines for those who disregard the regulations.

Have more questions about diving for lobsters? Shoot us an email at dive@underseadivers.com  or call us at 978.927.9551. Now go catch us some lobsters!