Gear Check Accessories
Pocket mask protector March 2007
Ocean Goods has redesigned the mask pouch, making it easier than ever to protect a mask between dives. Like earlier pouches, the Mask
Saver’s strap forms a Neoprene pouch that accommodates most standard masks. During the dive the pouch provides a comfortable
cushion that does not dig into the back of the head or pull at hair. The strap is fitted with a standard clip that allows it to be attached to most
dive vests, so the mask won’t fall onto the boat deck or get lost. Mask Saver attaches to a mask with a touch-system strap, making it easy
to adjust the strap length for fit and comfort. They are available at shops in colors to match your dive kit. www.oceangoods.com.
Backup security March 2007
For decades cave and wreck divers who penetrate spaces that might be silty or be strewn with entanglements have secured their backup
regulators around their necks with surgical tubing. It didn’t look pretty, but it worked so long as it wasn’t tied in a granny knot. Now there’
s a better way of ensuring easy access to air, thanks to Manta Industries’ new Regulator Necklace. The necklace is made of soft, durable
silicon rubber and has a loop through which the mouthpiece extends to the regulator. The rubber will outlast tubing and you don’t have to
worry about the knot becoming undone. Necklaces are available in regular and extra-large size to fit over necks covered with thick
neoprene hoods. Plus, they come in colors to match your dive kit: black, yellow, blue and even hot pink. www.mantaind.com.
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Add safety for a song April 2007
Fancy computers with all their bells and whistles are great for those with pockets deep enough for deco dives. But what about real divers,
especially news ones who may’ve just blown the bank account on a full kit of gear. Ascent rates and safety stops can be tracked
electronically for a fraction of the cost of a dive computer with Master Underwater Technologies’ new Miniature Ascent Rate Alarm.
MARA clips onto a dive mask strap just above the ear. As long as it’s silently monitoring your dive, everything’s OK. However if an ascent
is faster than 30 feet per minute it lets a diver know with an audible beep. At the end of the dive, it lets out another alarm at 15 feet to signal
that it’s time for a safety stop. It offers a handy way of monitoring ascents on night dives and for vacation divers whose skills get rusty
between trips. The battery sealed in the unit lasts about five years of 1,000 hours of diving. www.masterunderwatertech.com.
Hotsuits December 2006
Chemical heat packs, handy for warming wetsuit divers, have been refined by Australia’s Hotsuits. Its Neoprene Heated Kidney Belt straps
around the waist and positions the chemical pack as a warm cushion in the small of the back. Strap it on while gearing up and then activate
it with a punch of a thumb even with the activation button buried beneath a thick wetsuit. www.hotsuits.com.au.
Sensus Ultra December 2006
Sensus Ultra, ReefNet’s third generation dive data recorder is smaller and more precise than ever. Just clip this matchbox-sized unit to your
gear and it logs up to 1,500 hours of depth in 0.5-inch increments and temperatures to within 0.01C at a user-set sampling rate. Data
retrieved from this diving “black box” can be analyzed with Sensus Manager software or other popular programs. www.reefnet.ca.
Keep your gear in line December 2006
Danglies are the bane of diving. In warm water, they immediately identify a diver as a bumbling boor. In cold dark water, they can be
deadly snags. Gear Keeper attaching systems from Hammerhead Industries can save your image and maybe your life by keeping consoles,
lights or other tools under control. Gear Keepers hold gear close to your body, yet have a retractable cord that extends 19 inches. That’s
long enough to check a gauge or extend a light into a lobster hole. www.gearkeeper.com.
Scientific snorkel December 2007
People have been improving on snorkels since Scyllias breathed through a reed to sink the Persian fleet in BC 325. Kadence Technology has
reinvented the reed. A regulator at the top of the tube and exhaust port at the bottom are intended to minimize anxiety-raising CO2 inside the
snorkel. Mark Johnson, MD, designed the tube to aerodynamically draw in the most fresh air with the least inhalation resistance.
Really easy reel in December 2006
A hands-free, automatic reel from Spectrum Diving Equipment is intended to minimize task loading for divers who penetrate shipwrecks
and caves. Line feeds out of the Autoreeler through a tensioning system designed to prevent bird nesting. Flip a switch at the turnaround
point and a motor powered by four AA batteries reels in line as you head toward the exit point. www.spectrumdiving.com.
Recall your buddy December 2006
Buddy Call from New Zealand’s Scientific Divers Ltd. is intended to help overcome buddy separation, which is a leading contributing factor
to diving accidents. With this ergonomic unit strapped on a wrist, calling for your buddy is as easy as pushing a button. It emits an
electronic siren signal that can be heard for 150 feet underwater. Batteries are user replaceable and the unit is rated to 120 feet.
A buckle up November 2006
Add to the options of your dive gear setup by replacing buckles with ones from Green Manelishi. The sturdy stainless steel buckles are
fitted with unique pivoting steel d-rings that provide attachment points for goodie bags, lights or other gear items. They are designed to fit
on the conventional 2-inch webbing used in weight belts and straps of buoyancy compensators. Two models are available. The Bryden
Sport buckle has low-profile smaller d-ring that passes in front of the quick-release handle. The Bryden Tech model’s low-profile d-ring
extends beyond handle, enabling a quick release without interfering with the gear on the d-ring. The buckles have channels that hold straps
firmly gripped in place to ensure no slippage of even very heavy loads. The buckles have a lift-time replacement guarantee. Learn more at
Keep snorkel fit February 2006
Snorkel keepers used to be so simple when snorkels were simple. Just hold the rubber figure-eight-shaped keeper against the mask strap,
ram the snorkel tube through its loops, position it for comfort and you were good to go. Not so with new snorkels with bulky purge valves
on the bottom and splash guards on top that prevent the use of the standard keeper. And the keepers that come with these engineered
snorkels have a habit of unclipping themselves from the mask strap. Dive master Dave Prichard came up with a solution in the Vari-Fit
Snorkel Keeper. It buttons around the snorkel tube instead of slipping over it, and holds the snorkel in place just where you’ve positioned it
for comfort. Keep one end buttoned on the barrel, and the snorkel can be snapped on a strap in about one second. Vari-Fit Snorkel Keepers
are distributed to shops through Prichard’s Web site at www.enchantedsea.com.
Glow up! Divers February 2006
Finding the up-line in the dark depths or the line running through a cave is a little easier with the Glow Rope from Fire Forks Unlimited. The
special rope has fibers that absorb and then emit light so the line glows in the dark. Keeping up with demand was a challenge shortly after
the rope was introduced late last year, but it’s now available in 1,200-foot spools. The rope can add an extra edge of safety when deployed
inside of shipwrecks, caverns or caves. In addition to the rope, Fire Forks produces glow-in-the-dark dock cleats, which ease tying up the
boat after a night dive and lessen the chances of tripping over cleats on dimly lit docks at night. Learn more at www.letsglowcamping.com.
Dry this bag February 2006
Why is it that when you’re just about to jump in the water you find your passport in your dive kit? Not to worry if you can slip it into an
Aloksak from Watchful Eye Designs. These waterproof, airtight bags are like Ziplocs on steroids. The National Association of Scuba Diving
Schools found them “watersafe” in a 24-hour test at nearly 200 feet. After Navy testers zipped them shut with assorted items, they tugged
on them, squeezed them and thrashed them all around. When they really beat them up? OK. They leaked. But your travelers checks and
Lempiras would stay dry enough to spend tucked away in an Aloksak in your BC pocket. And they’ll keep paper dive plans, class
instruction notes and site maps dry while you get wet. They are available in eight sizes from 4 by 5 inches to 16 by 32 inches. Learn more
Reely small backup January 2006
Sure there can be good visibility in Northeast waters, but don’t bet on it. Smart divers pack a real just in case conditions change to Braille
diving as currents kick in. Custom Divers has just the item to be prepared for low-visibility conditions with its new Pocket Reel. Like its
bigger cousins, the real has both ratchet and free-run settings. Unlike them, though, this reel slips easily into a dive vest pocket. It comes
loaded with 164 feet of 2-millimeter line that has a breaking strain of 216 pounds. The United Kingdom company’s products are designed
for use in chilly water, and the Pocket Reel is no exception, being capable of being used with one heavily gloved hand. It can be stashed as
a backup reel, used to deploy a surface marker buoy or as a jump reel to explore beyond existing underwater lines.
Learn more at www.customdivers.com.
Riffe gets the point December 2005
Founded by champion spearfisher Jay Riffe, Riffe International is known for its top-rate spear guns. But the company does produce other
diving accessories such as its newly introduced Hunters Knife. The 4.5-inch serrated stainless steel blade is Teflon coated and capable of
cutting through cable. The black and gray soft-grip handle has a tool for extracting spear shafts wedged in rocks and can be used as a tank
banger to attract other divers or fish. The 7.5-inch hard plastic sheath has a self-locking capability and a sliding safety to prevent loss of the
knife. A lanyard stretches over the sheath for additional safety. The sheath is supplied with conventional rubber leg straps. Learn more at
Platform shore eases dives August 2007
CDM has developed a surface support float that may tempt divers to put their jury-rigged inner tube and basket floats out to the curb for
trash pickup. The float is bright red and sports a diver-down flag to make it visible to passing boaters. Ringing around the outside of the
float is a metal handle that eases carrying gear to the water and to grip onto while fussing with gear on the surface. Suspended inside the
float is an aluminum alloy bowl that can hold extra weights and other dive gear that may or may not be needed for a dive. A stainless steel
fitting allows for the attachment of a line to anchor the float to the bottom or attach it to a boat or dock pilings. Instructors will find it a
handy platform from which to conduct classes and checkout dives. Shore divers may the platform to be useful in displaying their dive flag
and to haul out backup gear and bring back goodies from the bottom. www.thediversplatform.com.
DiveAlert buddies up November 2007
DiveAlert is always an attention getter. Safety-conscious divers for years have been adding them to their inflator hoses just in case they
need to signal captains that they've surfaced away from the boat. Ideations has added another reason to attach its noisemaker to a dive kit
with the DiveAlert Plus, which was shown at DEMA. Like the original, the Plus model can be heard up to a mile away on the surface.
Unlike the original, though, the new unit can be switched underwater to deliver a percussive sound to get the attention of a dive buddy.
Inventor Dave Hancock dives in the Pacific Northwest, so he made certain that the knob to switch between top-side and underwater
sounds can be easily manipulated while wearing thick mitts to ward off cold water. Yet, Plus units are as compact as the original
DiveAlerts so they won't interfere with the buoyancy compensator. They are available in three models for compatibility with various makes
and models of BCs. www.divealert.com.
Get some surface support November 2007
Instructors and shore divers can have a handy way of flying diver-down flags and towing accessories in Atwater Concepts' new Surface
Support Station. The station unveiled at DEMA is an inner-tube style float that is covered with a heavy-duty skin made of Codura nylon
with reinforced seams, stainless steel D-rings and an industrial zipper. Extra dive weights, goodie bags and other dive accessories can be
placed atop the skin or inside pockets that can be attached to the side of the float. Both large and small pockets are available, allowing divers
to customize the support station to suit their specific needs. The station kit comes with a standard diver-down flag as well as a sand-grab
anchor that can securely anchor the float to the bottom, even if it's sand or silt. The float easily inflates at the water's edge, and readily
deflates after the dive for convenient packing and storage. www.atwaterconcepts.com.
Magnify your fun December 2007
ReefNet, which brought black-box logging to diving, now has a way to enjoy the little things on a dive. Its SubSee is a 3-power handheld
magnifying lens with a twist. The lens is ground to take into account the refraction of water, so it produces sharp magnification from edge
to edge without the distortion of conventional magnifiers. A machined polyvinyl chloride ring holds an optical-grade acrylic lens, so the unit
is impervious to corrosive seawater. The 1.2-inch tall by 1.8-inch diameter lens slips easily into a buoyancy vest pocket. It lanyard can be
attached to a wrist or a d-ring so it won't get lost. Fitted in front of a camera lens, it provides a +10 diopter super-macro adapter.
Just the Rite accessory May 2008
Northeast divers can never have too many options for organizing tools and accessories so they're easy to find underwater. Dive Rite has a
new line of pockets to help divers customize their kits. Although they're intended for use with the company's harnesses, the pockets could
be attached to any company's harnesses and many vests, which typically have pockets that are rendered unusable by integrated weight
systems. Dive Rite's pockets incorporate the webbing loop daisy chain design that is handy for mounting carabineers on hikers' backpacks.
Loops are handy underwater for sheaths for Z knives or trauma shears outside the packs. A 36-inch looped lanyard inside the pockets can
be clipped to reels, lights, slates or other items. The lanyards are easy to grab even with thick gloved hands and ensure that tools don't get
lost even if dropped underwater. Pockets are available in an assortment of sizes and closing systems. Some have expansion bellows as well.
See them all at www.DiveRite.com.
Reely Good Manta June 2008
Carrying and using a reel just got a lot simpler with the CR-1 from Manta Industries. Instead of having a top-mounted handle to snag all
loose ends in your dive bag, the CR-1 has a streamlined Goodman-style handle mounted on the side of the reel. Slipping a hand through the
handle positions the fingers to control the line during deployment and retrieval, as Manta's Greg Dubas demonstrates. The uni-body cast
aluminum frame is anodized to protect against oxidation. The spool is machined from a durable non-warping composite and fille with 400
feet of No. 24 nylon braided line. Tolerances between the frame and the reel are computer controlled, allowing for smooth operation while
minimizing line jumps and jams. The reel is mounted to the frame with a stainless-steel shoulder bolt with specially treated threads to keep it
from unscrewing. A thumb screw that's big enough to be operated with gloved hands can lock the reel for use in running search patterns.
Be a tag team member August 2008
Having trouble identifying your buoyancy vest in the stack of gear on the cattle boat? Or maybe it'd be handy if all your shop's students and
their gear would stand out at a local popular regional training / certifying center. Your Bag Tag has just the item for marking your gear with
custom embroidered labels sewn onto rugged polypropylene webbing. Smaller strips can be wrapped around BC shoulder straps and larger
ones can fit tanks. The webbing is secured in place with a touch fastening system so – unlike sticky decals – the tags can be shifted from
one piece of gear to another. Polypropylene stands up to corrosive saltwater and sunlight, so the tags can last for years. Although they're a
handy way for a diver to personalize the kit, the company is set up to create bulk orders as well. In addition to personal names, Your Bag
Tag can embroider shop or dive club emblems to help customers or members stand out during group dive trips. www.yourbagtag.com.
Avoid bad air days (September 2008)
Bad air is fairly rare but it's really bad if it's discovered the hard way at depth. KWJ Engineering has a featherweight pendant carbon
monoxide detector / dosimeter that can allay qualms about whether the life-robbing gas is present. Set in the continuous mode, it samples air
every five seconds to detect CO amounts from 5 to 500 parts per million. Less than 10 ppm are generally considered non-hazardous for
short-term exposure on land, but they might be a problem at depth. Sensing any CO indicates that the gas is coming from somewhere. The
detector has no fittings to attach it directly to scuba tanks, but putting it in a plastic bag over the slightly open valve ensures an accurate
reading. A clip makes it handy to hang the gauge near the intake for the air compressor, a good idea if the filling station is in a less-than-ideal
space, like a basement or boat hold. The easy-to-read gauge can be backlit in low-light conditions. The coin-sized battery is
user-replaceable. The sensor has a two-year warranty and should be recalibrated at least once a year. www.kwjengineering.com.
Your gear can carry on November 2008
Travel divers who want to buck the trend in surcharges for stowed baggage may recoup the cost of a Dive Caddy in just a few trips. The
travel bag is designed to hold all the gear you'll need to go diving in a three-compartment bag with carrying handles and back-pack straps.
The outer shell fabric is a tough nylon that resists snags and tears. Inside are mesh compartments allow gear to dry en route home. Pockets
hold gear so that it provides stiff protection when the Dive Caddy is rolled up and clipped closed. The fin caddy detaches for use as a handy
gear tote to the boat or beach dive site. The whole unit was designed with Transportation Security Administration guidelines in mind so it
can pass through carry-on baggage checkpoints at airports. www.divecaddy.net
Who's your beach buddy November 2008
Beach Buddy is designed to ease lugging the dive kit to the water's edge. A tough nylon bag attaches a set of wheels to the bottom of the
tank allowing it to be rolled across sand or other surfaces. The wheels pop off and are stowed in the bag at the base of the tank. The
buoyancy vest attached to the tank can be used to hold fins, regulators, weight belt and other dive items while in transit to the shore. Beach
Buddy ergonomically balances the weight of dive gear on land and stows in a hydrodynamic fashion underwater. Once the dive is over, just
pop the wheels back onto the bottom to roll the kit back to your car. www.beachbuddy.com
Zippy de scoodah November 2008
Add zip to your dive or power-blast away silt to hunt artifacts with the Cuda from diveX, scooters that were a mere four weeks old when it
was unveiled at DEMA. Two models are available, the 550 and the 850. Both can speed up to 256 feet per minute at depths to 600 feet. The
550 weighs 50 pounds on land, is 33.5 inches long, and has a run time of 35 minutes at full speed for up to 1.7 miles. The 850 weighs 60
pounds, is 42 inches long, has a run time of 54 minutes at full speed for up to 2.6 miles. Both are powered with rechargeable nickel metal
hydride batteries. Controls are on an ergonomic t-handle, Accessories are available for mounting a compass, cameras or lights.
Tie one on with Diveleash December 2008
Divers soon learn that anything that's not tethered to them will be lost underwater. Leashtec reinvented the common cord that tightens
around a wrist in its new DiveLeash. The leash consists of a Neoprene strap that is affixed around a wrist with a touch fastener. The strap
is soft and wide, so it doesn't dig into skin. A nylon belt extends from the Neoprene strap and terminates in a clip assembly that allows the
attached item such as a camera to be quickly disconnected with gloveless hands. This could ease handing up gear to boat operators at the
end of the dive. The manufacturer does not recommend using the DiveLeash for items weighing one pound or more, so don't plan to hook
it to your housed SLR with dual strobes on arms. But for warm-water resort divers wearing thin suits and toting point-and-shoots, the leash
could be a more comfortable alternative to the conventional wrist lanyard. www.diveleash.com.
Reelly handy accessory April 2009
There are times when it'd be ever so handy to have a reel on a dive. For cavers it might be to jump a short distance between lines. Or in the
Caribbean, when you realized you just dropped some gear and you want to run a quick search pattern to find it. However even the smallest
of jump reels are big and clunky enough that they're usually left in topside unless they're part of the specific dive plan. A quick solution was
on the table at the Privateer Divers booth at the recent Beneath The Sea dive show in New Jersey. The Boston-area company markets the
Neptuno MiniSpool that is small enough to easily tuck away into a buoyancy vest's pocket, ready for use when things pop up that weren't in
the plan. The 2-inch diameter Grilon nylon spool stands up to saltwater and holds up to 30 feet of nylon line. A brass double clip holds the
line in place during storage and can be opened for quick deployment even by divers wearing thick gloves. www.privateerdivers.com.
It handles water music June 2009
Does the steady crunch, crunch of parrotfish gnawing on coral heads bug you during dives? Would the rhythmic throb of Soulja Boy Tell'
Um's Turn My Swag On help you add muscle to wresting that stubborn porthole off your favorite shipwreck? Then H2O Audio's iDive 300
is just what you need. The waterproof case is designed to house an Apple iPod music player so you can listen to your favorite tunes
throughout your dive. Inserts are provided to position various models of iPods so that their audio controls can be accessed through the
case. Functions are limited on some touch-screen models, and don't expect to receive calls on iPhones since radio waves don't penetrate
water. The iDive also houses an amplifier to drive underwater speakers that attach to mask straps positioned over the ears. Make sure to
have tri-mix techniques down pat if you plan to test the device to its 300-foot depth rating. The amp automatically lowers the volume close
to the surface to prevent damaging the ears. Good idea, especially in waters with heavy boat traffic. www.h2oaudio.com.