It has come to my attention that some of my friends who sail and snorkel might be wondering whether or not to say “dived” or “dove.” If you dive on your anchor or mooring ball, as we do often, and are actually confused, you have good reason! The usage is somewhat murky, as the waters around anchors and mooring balls tend to be (unless you are in the Exumas, of course). So, what’s correct?
The most correct usage is dive, dived, dived. I will dive on the anchor. I did dive on the anchor. I dived on the anchor. I have dived on the anchor.
The reason you might be confused is that, in the United States and Canada, the usage of “dove” has become more acceptable. So, for example, it is also correct, in speech more than in writing, to say, “I dove on the anchor.” That is perfectly okay.
It is not correct to say, “I did dove” or “I have dove”. That sounds wrong to me, obviously wrong. But I frequently hear people ask, “have you dove on the anchor?” This only makes sense if you are so accustomed to the colloquial usage of the word “dove” to indicate the simple past tense, as in “I dove down to the bottom.” That latter phrase is fine, but it is not correct to say, “I have dove,” or to ask someone if she or he has already “dove” down to the bottom.