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 by clicking the button below
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