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Lucky Man
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OK, so buddy and I spent a scary 15mins or so bobbing around in growing swell, diminishing light, and no boat a while back in the Farnes - not something I wish to repeat, but I want to be better prepared next time!

Considering an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) however that aside I note the Health and Safety Exec did some tests and are recommending a flourescent yellow flag as the best all round surface signalling device (even better if you fit a strobe to flagpole top).

Anyone got any advice on which flourescent yellow flag, any not to get, any good deals they've noticed around?

Ditto on the bright strobe for the top of it.

Cheers,
Dave.
 

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I went DIR... but my bungies pulled me back!
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The Bowstone flag is the most common one seen in dive shops.  Its usually around £15 but you may find the odd bargin.  It folds into three sections and is a nice size to stow along your tank, including dumpy cylinders.  Use a couple of bungy loops or old inner tube 'Snoopy Loops' to keep it in place.  The flag when open is about 18" square and the pole about 4.5 ft long.  Its easy to remove the flag from your cylinder when in the water and once the flag is unrolled the pole snaps together on shock cords.  You can even do it underwater and use it as you surface if there could be boats about and you dont have a dSMB (think Redsea).  Diver are giving away one of these flags as a gift if you take out a subscription at the moment.

I have also seen a smaller flag which folds into about six sections and is sized to fit into a BC pocket.  It's easy to carry with you all the time, however I think that the flag is a bit too small to be seen at a distance and the pole is only about 3 ft when extended.

As for a strobe, I got a cheap one from Northern Diver and its fine.  Any with a velcro strap can be strapped onto the top of the flag pole.  I keep my strobe in my bc pocket all the time and can just use my flag or strobe as the light conditions change.  A strobe is pretty useless in bright sunlight so save you battery and just use the flag, equally at night the flag is useless so strap on the strobe and roll the flag around the body to help keep it on the flag pole.

Hopefully you will never need to use either in anger but I would never dive without mine.  Even when I head to the Redsea my flag is one of the first bits of kit into my luggage.  £25 - 30 gets a good allround bit of safety kit.  Dont leave the land without it.

Cheers

Darren
 

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diver Mag is giving a free flag away with a subsciption at the moment!!!

Peter
 

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<font color='#333399'>Just for interest

Comments made by a dive boat skipper, on his web site

Its very important that you use a red SMB and that it is used from the start of a drift dive.
It puts years on my life waiting to see if the diver will come up near where I think he should.
Lime yellow SMBs are pants in the suns reflection!!
Round red and white ones should be sent back to
Italy with a hole in them.
 

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Hi,

here's a trick I've heard of and will be trying on next night-boat dive.

Securely attach small torch (AA pelican or UK mini are good size) to the inside bottom of a dsmb with the beam pointing up the inside (assumes you have an open bottom dsmb).  

This is said to light up the whole dsmb from within so you now have a big red illuminated sausage as a surface marker which is highly visible from a boat.

Cheers,  John
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (JohnR @ June 27 2003,16:41)]Securely attach small torch (AA pelican or UK mini are good size) to the inside bottom of a dsmb with the beam pointing up the inside (assumes you have an open bottom dsmb).  
clever.  would you attach the torch before entering the water (makes for a larger profile smb) or just before deployment (more fiddling on the bottom)?

i guess i'd go for the first one as a mini torch isn't that big compared to most smbs, about the same size as an inflate bottle.  trying to securely fix it to the smb underwater is just asking for trouble and / or it being lost when it comes loose on the surface.

i'll remember that for the future tho.
 

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Not as tall in real life
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<font color='#000080'>Attaching a snap light to the top of the DSMB may also work (Assuming your DSMB is condusive to having a snaplight attached).

Leave it attached all the time and if the need arises, snap the light stick before deploying and let it go up.

Should make it more visible and if more light is needed on surfacing then shove your torch up it's rear end.

Daz.
 

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Hi,

[b said:
Quote[/b] ].  would you attach the torch before entering the water (makes for a larger profile smb) or just before deployment (more fiddling on the bottom)?
Before going in the water definitely.  My M8 who told me about this has a mini torch permanantly attached with cable ties.  It's only a couple of inches long - I saw one of these in local dive shop today for about a 8 quid.  Didn't buy it as the wife was in the car and apparantly I've more kit in the house that the shop has in the store, but Danny (in the shop) has one put away for me.  Tee hee.

Cheers,  John
 

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[b said:
Quote[/b] (JohnR @ June 27 2003,18:06)]Didn't buy it as the wife was in the car and apparantly I've more kit in the house that the shop has in the store, but Danny (in the shop) has one put away for me.  Tee hee.
yeah, more than a couple of tanks, a suit and some "flippers" is too much kit, but they can never have enough shoes!
 

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A short fat well off crap cave diver. Likes wrecks
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<font color='#000F22'>Get an EPIRB and stop pissing about with silly flags and stuff


Mark Chase
 

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Get an EPIRB and stop pissing about with silly flags and stuff


Mark Chase

EPIRB are good but a last ditch thing IMHO, at what time do you decide to activate it and launch a full scale search
when perhaps a flag/smd/torch would do the trick  

Andy
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>I've got a small VHF radio in my top left pocket that i can pull out by the ariel through my neck seal if i can't see the boat when i surface.  I haven't needed to use it yet but one of my mates has the same set up because he was in the water for an hour while the boat was searching for him a couple of years ago (he had a flag/strobe) and now he's scared of getting left out there. EPIRBs are ok but you don't know if they've worked because you get no response and they take up enough room for another two lift bags.
 

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[/QUOTE]
I've got a small VHF radio in my top left pocket......

Pretty smart idea I never thought of that. Icom do a cracking wee VHF thats waterproof to about 1m, so I suppose that would do the trick.
Andy
 

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<font color='#0000FF'>
[b said:
Quote[/b] ]Pretty smart idea I never thought of that. Icom do a cracking wee VHF thats waterproof to about 1m, so I suppose that would do the trick.
Andy
I forgot to add that it's in one of those poncy waterproof cases that you can get in poncy yachty chandlers so even if your suit floods it's still waterproof.
 
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