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Just some further thoughts on your excellent article which covered the subject of SMBs/dSMBs.

In the original thread, Lou responded by recalling that her boat skipper had rcommended the use of orange SMBs.  I responded with:

"Some thoughts to further cause debate.  Your boat skipper suggested that the best surface location device was an orange, not yellow, SMB.

The HSE, in conjunction with the MCA, RNLI and Armed Forces, conducted research into the most effective type of Diver Emergency Surface Location Devices.  The research was carried out in the winter of 1999 over a four month period in the Orkney and Shetland areas.  The trials were carried out using the widest variation of light, sea and wind conditions.

The resulting HSE report (HSE Offshore Technology Report OTO 1999 057) came to the conclusion that the Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) or APIRB was by far the most effective.  (The MCA have conservatively calculated that a 200 square nautical mile search area could be covered bySAR helicopter for a person in the water wearing PLB, in less than 20 minutes.)

The final conclusion on Surface Location Devices that came from the HSE was that "No one emergency surface location device is suitable for all conditions."

They went on to suggest "Paired devices, such as a fluorescent yellow flag with a strobe on top, covers the widest range of conditions."

And they finished with "If you can carry only one device, make it a fluorescent yellow flag."

Something to think about."

The tests looked at different coloured flags and marker buoys and the idea of marking them with black lettering.  The final analysis was that the best device turned out to be a fluorescent yellow flag.

I have the video and would be more than happy to try and get a copy to you if it helps in your putting your dive equipment guide together.

Best wishes.

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