When diving, particularly off a boat, with the Club you will probably have seen the orange blobby thing to the surface that you have then completed your three minute safety stop under and then surfaced, to find that the dive boat is ‘just there’ waiting for you to arrive.
Maybe not been on a club trip yet, but seen them being deployed as part of practising by our team members.
You may even have launched one yourself, and have inflated one on the surface as part of your open water course.
That orange blobby thing is called an SMB or Surface Marker Buoy. It’s a piece of safety equipment to allow you to be seen. If you become separated from your buddy under water, you can deploy. If you become separated from the boat your SMB will stand up tall and is designed to allow you to be visible to surface support.
There are different methods to inflate SMB’s depending on their design – orally inflated, by blowing into a tube. A non-locking nipple fitting to the oral tube that connects a low pressure inflate hose and some you can inflated from a small cylinder
But what happens if you require URGENT attention for you and your buddy either after you have surfaced or during your time underwater you need to activate urgent priority help. In the UK the general standard is, your orange SMB indicates I am here, all is well, and we will be there shortly. But for urgent help a Yellow SMB should be deployed.
If you have already deployed an Orange one, not an issue just deploy your yellow one up the same line… the skipper and / or surface cover will instantly recognise that urgent help is required and you will be prioritised first.
Deploying an SMB is a skill that you need to master and continuously practise. Even when you are working in a different buddy pair from normal, things will change so knowing what you will do is part of your dive planning. Deploying on your own is very different to working with your buddy and doing a two-person deploy and then mid-water moving in a drift to mid-water stationary… all skills that need to be practised. No point in practising when you need the skill for real, like everything it should be a motor skill. Think about completing the Surface Marker Buoy speciality where all of these skills are taught and you get lots of practise.
Want to find out a little more about SMB's then have a look at our Choosing Dive Equipment - SMB page
Let’s take a journey back to 2010. I had just completed my advance open water, and started to build up my collection of kit. After I had completed several dives, I was comfortable with diving, my kit, and confident in the water. So, what was my next adventure?
Following the standard PADI ladder, the next step from Advanced Open Water was Rescue Diver. This is one of the most useful and rewarding courses that you will ever complete.
I’m not going to lie; the rescue course was tough, but fun at the same time.
The skills that I got out of the rescue course was well worth the effort, knowing that you are going to come out of this course with a different skillset and mindset towards diving is well worth the hard work.
Like all courses, rescue started off with some theory and reading the manual this was in the days before e-learning. E-learning allows you to start NOW.
Once I had covered the 5 theory segments, drank lots of tea and completed the exam it was off to the pool to brush up my self-rescue skills, remember those from Open Water? We then began to work though 10 different situations, realising just how dramatic the Dive Rutland staff can be.
The self-rescue section opens your eyes as to how you will save yourself in the majority of issues, at the end of the day you need to be able to look after yourself before you can rescue anyone else. The first time I did a lift was a little daunting, I watched the instructor make it look so easy I didn’t want to it mess up. Don’t worry about it, it will go wrong the first few times (it did for me), this is where the laughs came in. Your instructor will show you what is considered to be the best practice, but it is important to realise that there is no one right way to do a rescue.
Once the pool sessions were complete it was off to Stoney Cove where the real hard work began. I needed to complete 2 rescue scenarios which were testing as we were in full open water kit but once this was done to standards, I was qualified! It was hard! It was the end of Feb and the water was probably as cold as it would get, I had only practiced this in a wetsuit in the pool, now I had hoods, gloves, dry suits and extra weight to deal with. This is what I normally dive in, so I needed to be confident that I could complete the rescue in my open water kit; hoods, gloves, and drysuit!
With the 2 scenarios done and dusted and my missing diver found, rescued and brought back to life I was a qualified Rescue Diver.
So, what are my memories from the course, what did I take from it and where did it take me?
This course helped me go to the next step with my diving. It helped me gain confidence within myself but also the ability to question why people do things and have discussions with them, you start to spot the errors before they happen.
I started to see and look at things in a different way. It will help you to see mistakes before they happen and intervene. You’ll gain more confidence in your own diving and it's also the last recreational qualification before you move on to the Divemaster Course. This course is about becoming a better and safer diver for yourself first, and those around you benefit from your continued training.
If you want to discuss any diver training then get in touch with the dive centre, they are a friendly bunch and are happy to answer your questions
Written by James Dames
Internally referenced from Rescue Course page & James Bio Page
When I started my Divemaster Internship in Tenerife, we were required to have a dive knife, which is in on the required kit list for any dive professional.
I have the same knife I had received as part of my first set of kit three years before, a blunt knife that had a line cutter integrated in to it. This was considered to be unacceptable for the course and I was asked to purchase a very large knife, a Scubapro K5 to be exact. This was to go Long Black Spiny Sea Urchin culling, as an invasive species I could understand this need though it is still not something that I enjoyed or even partook in.
I no longer own the Scubapro K5. There is no reason for my to have this knife. Instead I take my trusty blunt knife with a line cutter in its sheath with me on dives. Why even carry a knife? Increasingly I find plastics and fishing line with me on dives. Not in the quarries that we train in, but I like wreck diving and fishermen LOVE fishing wrecks. Monofilament line is invisible, often used for arts projects and displays because of this property.
Now imagine that you are swimming along a wreck, perhaps behind your buddy. Your buddy is an avid photographer and focused on getting a good picture. Before the dive, you talked about the shots that they wanted, maybe it was the six guns of the SMS Markgraaf. As the buddy, you are now looking for whatever picture your buddy may have missed. You may be swimming at slightly different depths in order to cover more ground. Your buddy a bit deeper swam under monofilament line, you were not so lucky*. Now you find yourself tangled in the line, attached to the wreck, what can you do?
This is why I keep my trusty line cutter with me. I hope to never need to use it, but being able to rescue myself in these situations or rescue my buddy means that there is less damage to the sensitive marine environment because of thrashing about trying to untangle yourself.
There are many line cutter options available, and different ways of attaching them to your equipment. Talk to your friendly local dive centre and even amongst their staff you will probably find many options and preferences. Remember from your training, you need at least one cutting device and it needs to be able to be easily accessed by either hand.
*the only part of this that is true is swimming along the SMS Markgraaf looking for those six guns, no instructors were harmed in this process*
Written by Bridget Weid, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
The dive industry in the UK are having a tough time - well in fact it is worldwide
We find ourselves closed to you our lovely friends, having to think about things we never thought we would have to. Just like other small businesses, and even some large ones, we have to think about things like job insecurity, bills still having to be paid and turning our business model on its head. After just investing in a new physical classroom we find ourselves running our training in our new virtual classroom, its a strange old world!
We find ourselves spending more and more time on Social media channels, which I am finding are full of ‘I have just purchased a set of regulators and it was a great deal’, ‘where can I purchase swimming costumes, wetsuits, leggings’ and much more…
The internet retailers keep going and are heavily discounting in order to continue to take the market share. In some cases, not discounting but have actually put their prices up, because YOU are a captive audience, sat at home pouring over the internet, looking at shiny dive equipment and maybe dreaming about your next trip.
In fact, we hope you are dreaming of that new bit of shiny equipment and that next great dive trip, but all of this has an impact on the smaller independent retailers.
Charter boat operations are also impacted, it was bad enough before COV19 with charters being cancelled through lack of interest or numbers not being met, yes, it is difficult to compete with the allure of warmer climates.
Did you know, the UK has some if not the best diving in the world?
let’s see… Sherringham Gullies is an incredibly beautiful and relatively easy shore dive, it is only a couple of hours away from us in Norfolk. The Norfolk area has some amazing scenic and wreck dives. Scapa Flow the home of the German high fleet has some amazing wrecks. Farne islands, who cannot resist the allure of the seals, there inquisitiveness – all they want to do is play. St.Abbs a combination of scenic and wrecks and that is just a few of what the UK has to offer. These are wrecks well preserved thanks to the colder temperatures of the UK waters.
Thinking back over the last five years since I started full time in this industry, the number of dive centres and charter operations that have closed down here in the UK is really sad. If this continues, the consequences will be huge, you will have to travel longer distances to get your air fills meaning you might have to have more cylinders or even your own compressor would probably seem excessive but might become realistic even if not cost effective.
Once your local dive centre closes, you will lose much more than an air fill station, it will mean goodbye to your ability to pop in and have a cup of coffee when out and about (some would say when you do not quite want to go home yet!)
The small retailers, like us here at Dive Rutland, need your footfall from not only air fills, but to fill our trips and events. Let’s be honest air fills do not make money but are part of the service that a dive centre provides. That’s right your local dive centre is a service to you and your community. It has certainly been shown to be essential in the last five weeks, with some of the work we have been doing behind the scenes for our key workers - work you do not see.
Your dive centre is much more. We provide income for pubs, charters, dive manufacturers and suppliers and in fact other dive centres, particularly when out on club trips - all which keeps a small part of the economy going. We are an amazing community let’s keep it going.
When this is all over go to your local dive centre and continue your training, purchase a clip – it all helps! Book on a trip, put your equipment in for service (in fact why wait – here at Dive Rutland we have a drop off, or post in service and can get it done so you are ready to go).
Don’t spend hours in your local dive centre trying on equipment, draining them of their expertise with your endless questions and then go and buy off the internet for a couple of pound cheaper. The service they have extended to you in their time and effort has cost them more than the couple of pounds you think you have saved. Your dive centre provides you with value and service and so much more.
Here at Dive Rutland for example, if you purchase a computer, we will take the time to show you how to use it, purchase a set of regulators we will fit together and make sure they are setup and ready to go, all making you a safer and ready to go diver. That’s right, they do not come put together in the box.
‘Use or Lose’ your local dive centre has never been truer. As part of the UK diving community we kindly ask that when we come out this situation, we all find ourselves in, we all continue to pull together and do just what we are currently doing – support our local community.
In the meantime with some of your spare time what all small businesses, us included would much appreciate is you take a little time (maybe when sat with that cup of coffee and piece of cake) to like, follow, comment, write positive reviews on any of our social media channels (Facebook and Google to name two) and show you care and are thinking about and want to go diving.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, we are passionate about what we do, and we are just like you WANT TO GO DIVING
All of the pictures are from Dive Rutland UK diving club trips.
Tomorrow we will mark another Earth Day, and the theme for 2020 is climate action. As divers, climate change is something we have been asked to participate in noting the effects of.
You will have learned the carbon cycle at some point in school, the ocean acts as a very large carbon sink. But what happens when the carbon is absorbed in to the ocean? Dissolved carbon dioxide in the ocean makes the ocean more acidic!
Corals grow their skeleton through absorbing calcium carbonate from the sea water and allow it to harden.
But where have you heard of calcium carbonate before? It is probably in your medicine cabinet right now. Indigestion medications contain calcium carbonate because it neutralises the acid in your stomach.
If the ocean is dissolving more carbon dioxide and becoming more acidic, then that means it will be neutralised by the same thing that should be making the coral skeleton.
Why does this matter? Less coral means less biodiversity in our oceans, and if you read back to last week’s blog article then you know this will have detrimental effects on the food web.
How can you show your budding marine scientist?
Humans breath in oxygen and out carbon dioxide, so you can make water more acidic yourself! Show it by using red cabbage indicator:
Showing that dissolved carbon dioxide makes water more acidic:
Add some red cabbage indicator to water, it should already be a weaker acid.
Using a bamboo, glass, metal, or paper straw, gently blow bubbles in to the water.
You should see it getting more acidic.
Want to do another test?
What happens if you put the sample with more carbon dioxide in it into a bag with a plant?
What happens if you dissolve some salt into the water first? Even more salt?
If you have some indigestion tablets, crush them up, how much can you dissolve before it becomes an alkali? Does it matter how long you blew bubbles in to the solution?
Over the years there have been many Dive Trips and Club Event. All of our trips come with a trip shirt as a memento.
Diving is just as much about the social aspect of diving, as much as the diving and at this moment in time, apart from the diving we are missing our diving friends, so we decided to have a look through some pictures and relive some memories.
Behind every picture is a GREAT story, stories that 'stay on tour' but for those in the know can be quite funny, or just in keeping with an ongoing theme here at Dive Rutland - CAKE
Dive Rutland is the trading name for Dive Rutland Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 9433835.
Registered address: 8 Horn Close, Oakham, Rutland LE15 6FE