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Okay - here goes with my first 'stupid question post'.  You will recall that Josh and I are the 'Novices' who joined a week ago or so.  I want to buy a DSMB - what does the forum recommend?  That's probably the easy and not so 'stupid' bit.  Next bit - I saw some talk about formal training to use them.  When in Tenerife last month we dived with more experienced folk who put up DSMB's and we accompanied them up to the surface.  After 6 or 7 dives the Dive briefing for Josh and I was to tell the guide when we reached 50 bar.  He would put up a (DSMB - he had 2) Hand it to me and off we could go.  We used more air so it was to allow others to carry on 'bout us.  After 40 mins or so we duly gave the 50 Bar signal, up went the DSMB and Up went Josh and I from 25m to 6m - nice and easy - stopped at 6m for 3 mins (as per the brief) and then plopped our heads up on the surface, gave the 'okay' and along comes the RIB and Hey Presto.  When I chatted with the Dive Leader etc about DSMB's, he said as long as I practised in shallow first i.e. 5-10m - several times, I would be okay.  He was being flattering at the time and said based on what he had seen we wouldn't have any problem at all and gave us some tips etc.  Get to the bloody point I hear you say - Okay - is it okay for me to buy a DSMB - practice at Capernwray and go on from their or do I need formal instruction - I just know I'm going to luv the answers.
 

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So what's the stupid question? :biggrin:
Personaly I use a Buddy SMB which is self sealing, costs a little more BUT doesn't deflate at the surface. I also have a good reel, a full size one which can be used to hang off during stops if required, I know boyancy and all that but.... :spank:
I dive with some one who swears by a Buddy with auto air inflator, but the downside of that is if it failed there's no way to manually inflate so you need a backup, which defeats the object.
Regards practice...
Depending on depth, sink to the bottom dump all your air from BC and/or suit. One deploy the DSMB holding the reel the other inflate, feel the tug and let the release go. DO NOT fasten to your BC as my mate did (very funny) and he was showing me

Both have a go and then surface. Simple
 

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I have a standard non-branded orange sausage and similar  medium reel. On the surface, I can fold over the open end and use it as a float till I get picked up. My reel is adequate but it has a small winder so it can be a bit of an effort to 'reel it in'.

Some tips which may help:

Before inflating the SMB, get your buddy to clip his reel onto yours (so if yours jams, you can let it go and use his reel)

Sending up an SMB is a two man job so one prepare the smb, the other inflates it.

To inflate it, there are various methods - here are some of them together with pros / cons:

1. Using an octo:

Pros - Relatively easy to do and you both still have primary regs to breathe off.

Cons - Can contribute to a freeflowing 1st stage in cold water by adding additional tasks to your 1st stage.

2. Using exhaled breaths:

Pros - Eliminates the risk of freeflow as above

Cons - Difficult to master and means you have to keep removing your ist stage - also takes a few breaths to send it up.

(My favourite)

Using your low pressure inflator - put exhaust into SMB, press inflate and vent valves simultaneously so gas bypasses your BCD and vents straight into the SMB

Pros - Relatively easy to do with practice

Cons - Freeflow issue comes in again so inflate in bursts.


How much air to add? Add sufficient to make the SMB want to start to surface then stop - remember, with gas expansion, it will only want to surface faster.

With your reel, send it up in bursts - don't simply take the brake off and wait until all goes slack becasue you will have a load of extra line to reel in.

When reeling in, again use your buddy to help. Get him to pull down on the line to give you slack to reel in rather than reel yourself up the line (much easier) - bit like reeling in a fish!

Regards
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]I dive with some one who swears by a Buddy with auto air inflator, but the downside of that is if it failed there's no way to manually inflate so you need a backup, which defeats the object.
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Eh?

Assuming you mean the Buddy dSMB with a crack-bottle on it, this is a standard dSMB with a bottle attached- if the bottle doesn't work, you inflate it via the normal method.

Buddy don't MAKE a self-inflator that can't be manually inflated.

I can highly recommend the Buddy self-inflator, BUT only if you don't use the bottle until you're competant to deploy a dSMB manually, for the exact reason stated above - the bottle doesn't always work.

Personally, I carry two dSMBs because there are too many things that could make you loose one - reel jams on deployment, line breaks, boat hits dSMB, etc etc.

Heads' advice is good, though when you get more practiced at it, you should learn how to deploy the dSMB without your buddy helping you - nothing worse than being separated from your buddy on a drift dive and being unable to deploy your own dSMB.

Whichever method you use, the shallower you try it, the better - if you have a problem, you can try it again, and if you can get the thing to fully inflate in 2m depth, you'll have NO problem getting enough air into it at 20m.
 

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Dominic, if this is right then I stand corrected. It was explained to me that the downside to the Buddy DSMB with the 'crack bottle' (a smaller version of the inflator bottle supplied with the buddy jackets) was that it couldn't be inflated in the usual manner.
And this was by the bloke who owns and dives with one, and that was why he carried two.
 

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As with most questions that are answered Simon there will be differing opinions on how to do things, so sometimes a multitude of answers may confuse rather than educate but you'll decide on which technique you want to use and feel most comfortable with in the end.

Deploying a DSMB is probably one of the most dangerous parts of a dive, it can be a stressfull, task loaded situation with the added dangers of entanglement and uncontrolled bouyant ascents, therefore is does need to be practised and preferably in shallow waters at first.

There are a few things on which my opinion differs on what has so far been said..

In our very murky UK waters even very attentive buddy's can become separated in a heartbeat, it only takes a moment for one divers to stop to look at something, a couple of fin strokes later and the other buddy is out of sight. No real biggy, you've been trained for such an event, but it now means that after one minute of searching you must abort the dive and surface to find each other. In a situation like this and its a very common one over here, then both buddy's must be capable of deploying a DSMB by themselves and NOT as a buddy pair, by all means assist each other when you can during the final phase of your dive yes, BUT.. practise the technique of deploying alone. If you always rely on a buddy to assist you, then when you become separated from your buddy and your alone at 20m in a low viz situation, trying to now deploy alone is only going to task load you drammatically and could lead to it all going wrong.

I'm also not sure I agree with sending it up in bursts either, when the bag goes it goes at quite a rate and all your going to achieve by playing with the rachet is a jerked arm, maybe loss of the reel (pulled from your grip) and maybe even loss of bouyancy control... Far better in my opinion to let it flow and wait for it to stop, better to reel in a few more metres of line than risk dropping the lock on a bag of air that is rocketing to the surface.

Third thing... You were trained in your basic SCUBA to ascend without a reel and line by using bouyancy control alone, yes? Well the same applies when using a DSMB, you should still use correct bouyancy control to ascend.
(Good bouyancy control, as you are no doubt aware is the most fundamental part of diving)

Pulling your self up a line achieves nothing but hard work, a tired arm, and aching fingers.. (I know I used to do it before I realised the error of my ways..) This technique will also pull you into a vertical position in the water (Head up, fins down) which makes it even more difficult to maintain a constant depth and achieve any form of bouyancy control. I feel the proper technique would be to ascend as you were taught in basic SCUBA and slowly and comfortably reel in the line as you go, a slight negativity at first may be advantagous as you learn the technique but you should very quickly try to achieve neutral bouyancy at all times during your ascent,.

A DSMB is to alert the boat cover of your location and inform them that you are ascending, it also helps you in having a reference point during ascent (things can become a little confusing mid water with no reference but your instruments), It's also there to hang off during your safety stops if required, It should NOT be used to reel yourself up from the seabed (well except in extreme circumstances but that a whole new discussion)

So, to summarise..
1. Learn to deploy alone.
2. Let it run to the surface without hinderance.
3. Use correct bouyancy control to ascend the line.

Remember though Simon, these are only my opinions, listen to others and make your own decisions

Best regards
Dave
 

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Got to agree with Dave,

It's vitally important to learn the skill but once you've got it taped it almost becomes second nature.

Practice with buddy pairs first from the bottom. Sometimes on a wreck you can secure the reel to the wreck surface and let the blob go. No pulling upwards for you and you can take your time.

From midwater - or when there's nothing to hold onto. I'd advise getting negative just incase you lift a couple of meters. Also I always when sticking the blob up midwater do it from 8-10m not at 5m just in case.

Finally, don't worry about it too much. It's basically a series of simple skills tacked together. Take your time and find out what's the best method for YOU.

Happy Blobbing
 

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</span>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Quote: from Andy W on 9:06 am on Sep. 3, 2002
Dominic, if this is right then I stand corrected. It was explained to me that the downside to the Buddy DSMB with the 'crack bottle' (a smaller version of the inflator bottle supplied with the buddy jackets) was that it couldn't be inflated in the usual manner.
And this was by the bloke who owns and dives with one, and that was why he carried two.
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Very odd - like I said, I own one too, and it's self-evident that it can be inflated normally.
You may like to check http://www.apvalves.com/SMBCi.html for Buddy's own description of the item - near the bottom of the page, it states "One key advantage of the BUDDY SMBCi over similar systems is that it can still be inflated via the baffle in the usual manner &#8211; with a DV or an air-gun - in the event that the diver has forgotten to fill the mini-cylinder."
If your friend has been misinformed about his ability to inflate the dSMB, he might thank you for a printout of this page

Much as I like the self-inflator, it IS bulky. I wouldn't want to carry two. One crack-bottle type and one traditional self-sealing is fine by me.
 

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Diverging slightly - but for you guys who use the Buddy dSMB and say you carry two, how do you carry two?  I find just one is a pain in the proverbial coz they ain't exactly the smallest things when rolled.  I carried a dinky Oz style one in my "safety" pocket on my BCD but it was only ever for backup (and I lost it last time out...poo).  I really don't know where I would put another Buddy one.  I currently hang the rolled up saucisson on my bottom left d-ring and the rell bottom right.  It is a bit Xmas tree and dangly like though.  

Any better suggestions gratefully recieved!

Cheers

Lou
 

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Thanks to everyone for the tips - strangely enough the people with us in Tenerife suggested the same as Dave and Gav, and watching them closely they all deployed alone.  We'll get one a-piece and follow the advice until we get it right.  Still one more question - do we need the skills off-pat before we can dive with you guys? Truthful answers okay - we're big boys and will understand.  S & J.
 

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No absolutely not guys. You learn on the job and I think I can say from my experience that even the most experienced YD divers will not give you a hard time for being a bit new at something: just mention it and all allowances will be made! Interestingly there was recently a thread on DiverNet about this subject, when I made the confession that I learned DSMB deployment in Thailand - where they consider reels aren't for real men and 5m of paracord will do! (not good if you're below 5m...not good...) It's one where practice makes perfect and I'm by no means perfect yet. So comne on down, bring your reels and we'll shoot bags.
 

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Simon,

Ditto to Paul above ... the only way to learn is practice ... I went to a quarry where a course was being taught and me and my buddy kept on putting up blobs and pulling the buggers down for 20 minutes but until you do it for real it's never the same.

I certainly would come and watch and assist if necessary. Good attitude can be as important as perfect skills sometimes.
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Quote: from Simon Leach on 6:16 pm on Sep. 3, 2002
Still one more question - do we need the skills off-pat before we can dive with you guys? Truthful answers okay - we're big boys and will understand.  S & J.
<span =''>
Absolutely not - there is no substitute for experience and that can only be gained by actually diving. You are more than welcome to come on any of our dives. We are still tending to arrange the easier, shallower kind of UK dives because they suit everyone (and also are more interesting anyway).

Regards
 

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Dave's summed up the points pretty well.
Practice the skills in shallow water.
If you have got your bouyancy sorted out and kit configured right shouldn't be to much of a problem.
I'd choose a reel thats less likly to snag the line some of the more decorative "fancy" ones can be prone to foul ups.
The stainless steel dive rite type ones are excellent but pretty pricey, simplicity seems to be the key here.

At the risk of stating the obvious,if youre ever using an inflated SMB and line don't be tempted to clip it to your kit. Read a nasty Diving incident Report of a poor guy being dragged up by a boat tangled in the line.:shocked:
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Diverging slightly - but for you guys who use the Buddy dSMB and say you carry two, how do you carry two?  I find just one is a pain in the proverbial coz they ain't exactly the smallest things when rolled.
<span =''>

I personally only carry one, with a normal manual inflator as the second.
But even though I use the larger bottle on mine, I can't say I find it to be THAT awkwardly big.
Are you using the DIN or A-clamp version? I found that the A-clamp was horribly bulky compared to the DIN version - if you're on A-clamps, you might want to consider switching to DIN.
It's not too tough to do, as AP Valves are very good at selling replacement parts and exchanging bottles.
 

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One minor question Simon, your son at 14 should not be below 18/20 mtrs and I am very concerned about your dive guide letting you go to the surface whilst he carried on.
I have a 15 yr old and he has just passed his AOW so he's about the same as Josh (he also has 20 dives) and although he can now do 30m (in theory - not yet in the UK though) I wouldnt have been happy. We too trained in warm waters and dont have smb skills as yet, its something I am looking into as is UK diving. My BSAC DO was very insistant that my son went no lower than 15m when he was 15, please ask your DO about the physiological situation with your son as there are risks to development using compressed air to young bones. Matt
 

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Hi Dom,

I was actually talking abou the manual inflate!  Rolled up it is about (using hands to imagine/gauge size....)a 9"x4" dia cylinder, with the black webbing adding to that if you hang it by that.  Hence it hangs halfway down my thigh and is not exactly streamlined.  It is easy-ish to get off there though.

What do you do with either of yours?  One of my pocket (which ain't great) holds my torch on a lanyard and I think the dSMB is too bulky to really be feasible in there.  Am I packing it wrong or something?

Cheers

Lou
 

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Ah, right. With you.
Firstly, I tuck the webbing loop out of the way: as you noted it gives far too much slack. The only thing I dislike on Buudy SMBs is this loop.
I attach the clip to the velcroed strap that keeps the dSMB rolled up. On my manaual dSMB, there's a metal loop on this strap, but on the Buddy, you just have to attach to the strap itself.
The self-inflator I have clipped to my left hip D-ring, where it's accesible but out of the way.
The manual backup I keep in my drysuit cargo pocket.
I did actually have a problem with getting it into the pocket when I first got it, as it was just slightly too big. I've found that the best way to cut down on bulk is to NOT roll the dSMB up.
Instead, fold it up, concertina style. Instead of an annoying bulky roll, this gives a nice flat rectangle that is a lot more manageable. It also means that when you undo the velcro, it doesn't need unrolling, it just opens up by itself.
If I were to add a third (A yellow emergency one) I'd probably add a pocket to my wing backplate and put it in there. That's not really feasible with a stab jacket usually though.
Something you could try is a pocket threaded onto your cylinder camband, BCD waist strap or even weight belt - there's plenty of pockets around that can thread onto a 2" bit of webbing. Some dive shops sell them, so do most outdoor and camping shops.
Personally, I swear by thigh-mounted suit pockets. Never got on with BCD pockets.
All else failing, get some bungee cord and mount it on your torch
 

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Ok, so I need to do some mods then.  My (AP Valves - I think) dSMB has a stupid press stud to keep it rolled up and hence nowhere to attach to D-ring apart from webbing loop.  I guess a bit of sewing might be in order.  Because of the popper I can't even vary how tightly I roll the dSMB!

Cheers Dom, I will get it out tonight and have a tinker...
 
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