Gear Check Odds & Ends
Neutralize the itch June 2007
Resisting scratching an itch or twitching from pain of stings and bites no longer is an exercise in self-control and will power for people who
pack Neutralize It. Pharmacist and Jaws Brand president developed three formulas, one for flying insect stings, ultra for fire ant, scorpion
and spider stings and marine for jellyfish stings. Unlike most sting-relief products, which desensitize skin, Neutralize It contains ingredients
that denature venom proteins and de-acidify toxins that cause the body’s histamine reaction. The ingredients are mixed with liposome that
speeds the absorption through the skin, so the ingredients can go right to work neutralizing the pain and relieving the itch. The products are
available in 1.8-ounce bottles or single-use packs. www.jawsbrands.com.
Strong protection June 2007
Who hasn’t returned from a dive outing looking as red as a steamed lobster. Not only is that painful, it’s dangerous. More than 62,000
cases of skin cancer are found each year, with nearly 8,000 dying annually. Being on the water concentrates the harmful ultraviolet
sunrays, putting divers at significant risk. Dermatologist Jeffrey Dover has formulated a sunscreen called Skin Effects / Dermaplex that
blocks skin-damaging UVA and UVB rays from penetrating through three layers of skin. Yet, the lotion contains some 60 percent less
chemicals than other leading brands. The good news for water lovers is that the lotion is very water resistant so it can protect for up to five
hours in watery, sweaty conditions. Plus, it’s non-migratory to minimize dripping into your eyes. Sun Effects / Dermaplex is available in
30, 45 and 60 sun-protection factor formulas at CVS drug stores. www.cvs.com.
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Scanning case closed January 2007
Scanning the depths from small open boats can be done with the new splash-proof personal computer system from JW Fishers. Side-
scanning tow fish are built to withstand salt and freshwater, of course, but the water is the enemy of the computers that log and display the
scanning signals. The new computer has an ultra-bright 10.4-inch screen that’s readable even in bright sunlight, Fishers states. A rugged,
waterproof case houses the computer and all external cable fittings have o-ring seals for extra water protection. With a 60 gigabyte hard
drive and 512 megabytes of random access memory, the computer offers capability that rivals many desktop units. It’s intended to help
search and recovery teams and marine researchers who may be called upon to search lakes, streams and harbors using small watercraft in
bad weather. www.jwfishers.com.
Drying suit's a breeze December 2006
Hang up a suit is easy, but getting air to circulate though it can be a different matter. The HangAir drying system has a two-speed fan
mounted into a sturdy nylon hanger that pumps 130 cubic feet of air into a suit that dries suits up to 70 percent faster than drip drying.
Suits can be bone dry overnight, giving the smelly bugs little time to create their funk. www.hangairs.com.
Sketchy idea November 2006
AquaSketch has added a new slate called the Minno to its line of underwater documentation and communication products. The wrist-
mounted slate holds 8 feet of waterproof velum. A turn of the knob advances the roll to a fresh paper, eliminating the need to erase a slate
to convey additional information to a buddy. The product was initially developed for NASA to help in training astronauts in a large
underwater tank to acquaint them with the sense of weightlessness. It’s handy for artists who wish to sketch underwater scenes, or
engineers and scientists for logging data. Technical divers can use a computer printer to print out dive plans onto the velum to ease keeping
track of important safety details. The writing surface is phosphorescent, easing use of the Minno during night dives. Scrolls of velum can
be saved or scanned into a computer. Drawings and notes can be erased with a conventional pencil eraser. Spools can be changed easily,
even under water. Learn more at www.aquasketch.com.
Drive a dive December 2007
Everyone knows diving isn't supposed to be an aerobic activity. Stidd is taking that concept of laziness to the max with its diver propulsion
device. The company has supplied underwater propulsion devices to militaries of the world. Now it's taking the basic designs and retooling
them as wet submarines intended for use by sport divers. Use them to haul a dive team to the site and then go below to explore. The units
can travel at up to 2.7 knots with two divers and descend to 60 feet. www.stiddmil.com.
See before you dive December 2007
SeaBotix is a remotely operated vehicle that can peel away the shroud of black water when it is equipped with a multi-beam sonar system.
The low-light black-and-white sonar unit is offered in 450 kilohertz and 900 khz powers that pierce through up to 450 feet of water with a
resolution of 25 to 50 millimeters. It can also be equipped with a high-resolution camera to see full-color images from the bottom. The unit
is depth rated to 980 feet and can be used to recover objects as well as just view them, making it an ideal tool to probe black water without
endangering public safety divers. www.seabotix.com.
Squish jellyfish stings June 2008
Even armed with Jellyfish Squish, you won't want to actively seek a fight with deadly box jellies or Portuguese man-of- wars. However for
divers and beach lovers who chance upon the nematocysts of any of hundreds of varieties of jellies, the product can quickly soothe the
sting. Jellyfish Squish was developed by Coastal Solutions with the help of marine biologists at the Skidaway Island Institute of
Oceanography, Savannah, Ga. Nearby Tybee Beach was a testing ground for formulae. Unlike popular home remedies of Adolph's Meat
Tenderizer, baking soda or peeing on the burning rash, Jellyfish Squish has been scientifically tested and proven to work on the stings
within minutes of application. In addition to halting the sting with a topical anesthetic, the product neutralizes the venom in the nematocysts
on the skin. It has been endorsed by the American Association of Lifeguards and complies with U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
A skin-care secret August 2008
Two days into a dream dive getaway your foot is developing a blister from rubbing inside the booty and the back of your neck is raw from
the zipper on your wetsuit. It's almost bad enough to make you consider blowing off diving. Instead of spending the remaining days of your
trip drinking anesthetics in the lounge, try slathering on some Surgeon's Skin Secret Sportwax from Jamark Laboratories. The
hypoallergenic beeswax-based product was developed by a plastic surgeon in the 1950s to promote scar-free heeling and is now marketed
as a water-resistant moisturizer for athletes. Lanolin and mineral oils blended into the wax help to protect the skin from chaffing and reduce
irritation. Unlike petroleum jelly products, the wax stays on in salt- or freshwater or during sweaty workouts. Sportwax is available in 0.78-
and 2.5-ounce sticks that pack easily into dive bags or airport carry-on luggage. Look for the sticks in sporting goods stores or on-line.
Wholesale quantities are available for dive shops and other retailers. www.jamarklabs.com.
Protect skin and reefs October 2008
Unless you're solely a night diver, scuba generally is a sunlight-intensive sport. Thousands of tons of oily sunscreens wash off of swimmers
every year and the goo is suspected of contributing to coral bleaching, according to Skin Elements. The Australian company introduced
Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen in the U.S. at last month's DEMA show as a product that can help divers minimize the damage to the
environment while protecting their hides from the damaging effects of sunlight. Except for zinc-oxide, the product is formulated with
organic ingredients that provide a 30 sun-protection-factor sunscreen. Soleo is designed to be water resistant, yet so biodegradable that it
was listed in National Geographic's Green Guide last summer as a reef-safe sunscreen. Besides blocking sun rays, the lotion contains
moisturizers to nourish the skin and was designed be hypoallergenic as well. Skin Elements is making Soleo available to retailers, so look for
it in your neighborhood dive shop. www.soleousa.com.
Stick it to repair jobs November 2008
OK. It won't patch holes that require adhesive attachment, but Rescue Tape is like duct tape on steroids for patches that demand encircling
a component. Wrap the silicone-based tape around hoses, tubing or wires and pull it tight. Hold it in place for just a few seconds, and the
magic begins. The tape fuses into itself to create a waterproof patch that's even resists up to 700 pounds per square inch of internal
pressure. It even holds fast to wet, dirty or oily surfaces. Blow a radiator hose going to dive site? Need a thick non-slip handle on a tool? Do
you have ropes you don't want to fray at the end? Wrap it with Rescue Tape. And when you're safely back home, it won't leave a sticky
adhesive residue when peel it off. www.rescuetape.com.
Checkmate jellyfish stings December 2008
Dousing jellyfish stings with vinegar is one of the most longstanding remedies to quell their burning itching sensation, so it's no surprise to
see acetic acid as the top-listed active ingredient in StingMate from First Aid Mates LLC. But the product has some value-ads over lugging
around a jug of vinegar. It also has menthol that delivers a cooling sensation to the wound. And it has emollients that help the skin adsorb
the lotion and keep it in place instead of rolling right off like vinegar. Some unlucky volunteers at a West Coast aquarium found quick relief
from sea nettle stings and 80 percent of them had no sign of a sting after two hours, the company says, and posts photos on its Web site as
proof. StingMate is available in 4-ounce plastic bottles that slip easily into a dive bag or first aid kit. First Aid Mates has dealer packs and
counter displays to help dive shops bring the product to the attention of their customers. www.stingmate.com
Keep vitals under thumb March 2009
Being healthy is a given for divers, but medical technology extends the concept of being of physically sound enough to dive. Although those
with manageable conditions can take a folder of medical records on trips, they might not do much good back in the hotel room if an
emergency arises on the water. Travel-ER packs these vital data into a handy USB thumb drive that takes up almost no space in a dive bag,
yet could provide medical personnel with instant access to information. Pop the drive into a computer to quickly print out an emergency
records report that can include personal information, medical history, physician contacts, emergency contacts, health insurance, family
medical history and travel information. Distinctive marking on the case alerts medical technicians that the data on the drive is of a medical
nature and not the USB drive of your photos. www.traveler-er.com.
Get flexible at work June 2009
Unlike many Pelican lights, the new 2365 is not designed to go diving. However, service technicians may find it to be a handy light at the
workbench because its 15-inch flexible cable neck puts light where you need it, even in tight spaces in gear or crannies where tiny screws
land after toppling off the bench. The light-emitting diode puts out 45 lumens for up to 15 hours on two AA batteries. The tough black
anodized aluminum battery case is machined with a no-slip grip pattern. It also has a magnetic clip to snap the light into place on any steel
surface to hold the beam exactly where it should be. Even with batteries, the light weighs only 9.3 ounces and can slip into the toolbox for
repairing gear on the go. As with all Pelican products, the light comes with the company's lifetime guarantee: "You break it, we repair it …
Pressured to feel better September 2009
Adventurers traveling to remote waters might feel a little easier about diving if they pack an SOS Hyperlite portable hyperbaric chamber. At
191 pounds, the latest model is one-third lighter than earlier models and packs into one case rather than two. The improvement was made
possible by a material braiding technology developed by Joint Venture and Beaufort Ltd. The companies say the chamber can be fully
operational within 10 minutes to treat decompression sickness on-site or to transfer the victim to a medical facility. Its maximum working
pressure is the equivalent of 75 feet seawater. Patients can be monitored via fixed-wire connections or Bluetooth, and pure oxygen can be
administered via a mask or hood. Owners of earlier models can contact the company about upgrading they gear. www.hyperlite.co.uk.