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Air horn versus Storm whistle

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Lucky Man
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2,163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Curious to hear people's opinion of the air horns that fit between hose and wing LPI.

I already have a folding flag, Sea Marshall PLB (bust and going back - grrr! separate topic) and Storm whistle for surface signalling. Considering getting day/night smoke/flare after recent theads on here, but that's also a separate topic.

Wondering how people rate an air horn versus a storm whistle?

Any negative experiences of air horns? I know it is an extra failure point, and a whistle in pocket isn't.

I'm guessing might be useful underwater too to get buddy attention (in emergency, not look at that fish, annoy the hell out of everyone else :D)

Which air horn is best, any to avoid?

Cheers,
Dave.
 

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Dave,
I'll be interested in the replies, I've just ordered one of the new Buddy Blast horns to take to the Red Sea with me (if it ever arrives:frown: ).
 

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Air horns not as loud as a decent whistle and a bit of panic. Personally I don't feel the need, they're more use underwater than on the surface. The temptation for a boat to think it's just someone pressing the wrong button on their BCD is more likely than someone accidentally blowing a whistle.

I wouldn't leave your whistle in your pocket either. I have mine on the side of my torch head. If you need it it could be because you've got feck all gas and are having fun staying on the surface, or if you have a casualty doing their best to do you in. Getting into a pocket and finding a whistle could well take longer than you want it to. I suppose that's a decent argument for an air horn, but not particularly.

They also could get confused for an inflate button in a rescue situation.

I have a load of BCDs for sale with integrated air horns, so not as many failure points as a separate one. I've only seen one or two designs ever so I presume they're a fairly generic design.

Digs.
 

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All hail the mighty ZOM
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26,851 Posts
Some bloke at Stoney yesterday kept pressing the horn button instead of the BCD deflate. You just end up ignoring it but a loud whistle you react to.

Flares IMHO not much use- they are a one-shot solution and tricky with cold hands.

Flags ok apart from stowage and wiggling through wrecks.

DSMB with Solas tape a good bet.

PLB locator beacon ok if the skipper knows you have it.

Sea marker dye crap in anything but the calmest conditions.

I carry a couple of DSMBs with tape on, a PLB and my backup torch is a long-lasting LED for signalling when it's dark.
 

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to far from a ocean
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468 Posts
I have had a air horn on my kit for the past 12 yrs both in the pool and OW on and off my kit I have not had any issues beyond what I would have with a hose and fitting.
I have bought 2 in 12 yrs and it is a LOT louder than a whistle will it work in wind ect .... dunno I know a whistle wont and I never want to be there in the water for a few hrs on my own again to find out but I do also carry a storm whistle as well if I ever have to ditch my kit againso belt and braces and any other thing I can fit in my pocket :) I also carry a signal mirror.
 

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Chuck Norris put the laughter into manslaughter...
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A mate of mine usually dives with one of them damned Buddy Ear Drum busters. On the surface he'll occasonally blat away with it to make sure the boat remembers it has to pick us up, and me being beside him...well it hurts. Plus it always gets pressed instead of inflate, annoying but ignorable after a while, which kinda defeats the purpose of havin one. A big old whistle is a clearer to understand option IMHO, as when its used evryone knows you need something. Strobes are a safe bet too, especially in the winter when it dosen't take long to get dark, they can be seen for miles. just my wee £worth....
 

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If I was on a boat and he was "blatting away to make sure the boat remembers" I would be there in seconds at full throttle. I would then be physically removing you guys from the water assuming an emergency. Same as if someone went off whistling or waving. When I then found out you were "blatting away to make sure I'd not forgotten you" you would be on the sharp end of my tongue. Just imagine someone else surfacing in difficulties while we were "rescuing" you, only to find that we were all hands on deck sorting you pair out and not dealing with someone who actually needed help.

Tell your buddy to keep his air horn quiet. Very easy to misunderstand, and if in doubt all decent skippers will react to the worst case scenario (assume problem until confirmed otherwise, which you can't do until we're right on top of you)

Digs.
 

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iGeek therefore iTrek
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3,253 Posts
Last year in the Red Sea I had to use one of these for real. We had just done a lovely dive on the Marcus and Bunny, Jen and Ken were back on the rib. I was still in the water. When handing my kit up to the driver one of the jubilee bands on the pony slashed through one of the side side tubes causing it to deflate. Please note I am still in the water at this point and we are the last group still out there.

Rib driver tries to indicate to the boat by waving his shirt. Whistles are blown and the air horns are used.

I am still in the water as there is no point me getting into a sinking rib.

The Typhoon is on the other side of the reef and 5 minutes have passed. More frenetic air blasting is done and I'm beginning to chill literally and my head is burning. After 10 minutes the Typhoon acknowledges the noise and the captain comes out on the second rib, gear is transferred and we make the trip back to the Typhoon.

When we get back and we raise our concerns at the lack of urgency and are told, well we did hear you but saw you were all out of the water so didn't really think much of it - or words to that effect.

It's a bloody good job I wasn't dead, bent or lost wasn't it?

I feel these horns are absolutely useless IMO.
 

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old time
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Flares IMHO not much use- they are a one-shot solution and tricky with cold hands.

The best I have found are the pen type 6 pack, I also carry a red para and 2 hand held smokes ( similar to the RNLI life jacket type )

Flags ok apart from stowage and wiggling through wrecks.

Totally agree, the best I have seen was the one JANOS made and we did trails with it down here at Dover

DSMB with Solas tape a good bet.

Likewise, but better if you strip the DSMB down and hang strips of space blanket inside for radar detection ( that idea of mine was tested to the max, and this week found out that it will now be used by divers down under in sunny old Oz , after a kind diver asked me if it was ok for him to spread the word.

PLB locator beacon ok if the skipper knows you have it.

As discussd on other threads, these are only useful ( in my mind ) if a diver is lost and the skipper reports to the coastguard that the diver is carrying a PLB and the lifeboats and choppers can detect a 121.5 signal on thier D/F kit. Personally i'm waiting and will get the 406 model soon.

Sea marker dye crap in anything but the calmest conditions.

Depends o lots of other reasons as well , I carry 2 aircrew types...
 

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Nigel Hewitt
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7,142 Posts
Air horns not as loud as a decent whistle and a bit of panic.
Then get a better air horn.
I wear ear defenders to test mine

This does mean that, since it hurts, I would only use it for a real problem which I have done so once in ten years.
 

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I use a storm whistle and it hurts my ears when blowing it.
No idea how far it can be heard but its louder than the quakers/horns ive seen on BCs here.
 

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The smell of freshly turned delrin is more powerfu
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Last year in the Red Sea I had to use one of these for real. one of the jubilee bands on the pony slashed through one of the side side tubes causing it to deflate.

I am still in the water as there is no point me getting into a sinking rib.
sorry Noel are you saying YOU sank the rib :)

DAvid
 

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Lucky Man
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Then get a better air horn.
I wear ear defenders to test mine
What make+model is it please Nigel?

Not decided whether to get one or not but if I do I want the loudest ear hurter available.

Thanks,
Dave.
 

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Air horns are useless underwater but work well on the surface if used in the right way. Confusion on the boat can be avoided if guidlines for airhorn use are agreed before the dive and a short blast to alert the boat certainly doesn't have to trigger an all out rescue!

I've used a folding flag in anger only once when the charter boat broke down whilst we we diving. The conditions worsened and we were on the surface in an increasingly nasty sea for the best part of an hour. When the lifeboat arrived they told me that they saw the flag long before they spotted the divers.
 

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New Member ? Its the same one i've always had
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Just a thought. How much use is an air horn if you find yourself on the surface with an empty tank ?
 
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