Scuba kit (including surface marker buoys) laid out to dry at the end of a liveaboard trip | Copyright © Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company. All rights reserved
It sounds obvious, but have you written your name and contact details on your surface detection aids? The RNLI recommend that you do.
Award winning photographer Mario Vitalini rolling up his DSMB | Copyright © Rosemary E Lunn / The Underwater Marketing Company. All rights reserved
A lifeboat crew recently recovered a Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) floating in the sea. They didn’t know whether they had retrieved a misplaced DSMB, or if they needed to commence a search for a potential lost diver.
As a minimum you should write your name on your DSMB, because it helps the skipper to know who is underneath the surface detection aid when you are sea diving.
The RNLI would prefer it if you also add your mobile number. That way if they find your DSMB, they can learn within minutes if you are missing and need help, or if they have recovered the delayed surface marker buoy you lost.
Just grab a permanent marker and neatly print your details onto the DSMB. Remember the name needs to be read from afar. When the lettering fades, just refresh the text accordingly.
“It can be quite a scary thought (when you are sitting beneath a Delayed Surface Marker Buoy decompressing) wondering if the boat has seen you, or if you are adrift on your lonesome”, stated Alex Vassallo, Custom Divers CEO. “On a long deco your imagination can play horrible games with you. I tend to keep mine occupied by thinking of things that will make diving safer, and this was where the Custom Divers Seeker radar detectable D-SMB was conceived. I wanted to be assured that the boat had seen my D-SMB, so the solution was to make it radar detectable. Basically, the Seeker is a traditional D-SMB which contains a conductive material shaped to receive and send back radar signals. It sounds simple but the Seeker took over three years of research, development and testing until we were truly satisfied we had a full patent pending product that will revolutionise diver safety.
During the development phase it was tested every time I went diving, and over a number of months we were getting good results but I felt it was not enough. I wanted to improve the detectable distance of the Seeker. With further modifications to the design and materials the Seeker was then re-tested by various Skippers on the English South Coast to verify its performance on their radar, and thanks guys for all your support. After several evolvements one Skipper phoned to say “this model is brilliant”! and so we felt it was appropriate to run broader and more extensive tests and at this stage we involved the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboats Institution) and Her Majesty’s Coastguard. I am delighted to confirm that the Seeker D-SMB showed up on boat radars from 1.5 miles away and from 2 miles on helicopters. The tests were conducted in British seas, over a long period of time in various conditions and included a simulated pitch black/fog search. The Skipper would navigate purely using the radar (with a watcher looking out of the windscreen to check he didn’t run into anything) and on each occasion the boats/helicopters located the buoy with ease, ending up within a few feet from the Seeker. From the Skipper/Rescue Services point of view the great thing about the Seeker radar detectable D-SMB is that because it is fully compatible with every radar system there is no need for any additional kit.
For the diver, a key feature of the Seeker is that it has a four-way fill option. Having seen many a diver forget to fill their D-SMB crack bottle I wanted to come up with a number of filling solutions. Firstly, it can be easily orally inflated, by blowing into a tube. Alternatively we have fitted a non-locking nipple fitting to the oral tube that connects to a low pressure inflator hose. Then there is the system that a number of divers already use, which is cracking a small air cylinder to fill the D-SMB. (The diver needs to replace the Seeker’s blanking plug with a DIN or A Clamp Pillar Adaptor before an AP Valves 0.1 litre, 232 bar bottle is attached). Finally, the diver can fill the Seeker D-SMB in the traditional manner by purging a second stage into the bottom of the buoy.
“So now just knowing that the Skipper can see my blob has given me great peace of mind on long hangs”, stated Vassallo, “and it’s great knowing we’ve helped divers improve their safety”. If you want to be safe in the knowledge your Skipper can easily see your Delayed Surface Marker Buoy, log onto http://www.customdivers.com for more information and technical specifications on the Seeker radar detectable Delayed Surface Marker Buoy.
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