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View Full Version : Carabiners, gate clips and "suicide clips"



Splitlip
11-25-2007, 20:52
I have sen a number of posts here with folks using carabiners. Rather than appear to be flaming, I thought would suggest here in this forum that alternatives be considered.

The term sucide clip is a rather extreme term. The incidents of unplanned line intrusion into gate clips that I have seen thus far can pretty much be classified as "inconveniences". (A buddy once had the float line get hooked on the gate clip of his retractror!)
The potential for catastrophy I suppose is quite unlikely, but why not mitigate that potential by using bolt snaps or other alternatives.

The paragraph below is clipped from the description of John Ormsby's 1985 death during a Doria penetration in the book Deep Decent.

Gentile then noticed that a cable had been snagged by a brass spring-gated clip, or "suicide clip," that Ormsby had rigged to his harness to hang tools from. It was a telling moment for Gentile. He now knew what had happened to Ormsby. The cable that snaked up his leg to his back must have prevented Ormsby from escaping, causing him to struggle and entangle himself even more.

If any are interested, a link to more of the story.
Simon & Schuster: Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria (Trade Paperback) - Read an Excerpt (http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?pid=411998&tab=1&agid=2)

Soonerwink
11-25-2007, 21:22
I currently use 2 cheap caribiners and after reading this thread you have conviced me to get rid of them and use other alternatives. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Steve Scuba
11-25-2007, 21:33
Hmmm. I too use cheapo aluminum caribiners. I think I might be looking for an alternative method sometime very soon.

Daved
11-25-2007, 21:40
I use a couple of locking carabiners. They prevent unwanted entry of anything and still can be used with one hand.

Soonerwink
11-25-2007, 21:44
I use a couple of locking carabiners. They prevent unwanted entry of anything and still can be used with one hand.
I have never tried the ones that lock, thats a good idea.

Clanggedin
11-25-2007, 22:04
Locking carabiners are the only way to go unless you are lead climbing.

comet24
11-25-2007, 23:18
I not a fan of them but have used them at times. You need to look at the diving your doing and where you used the clip. If I am jumping in the quarry and a reef I might consider it although I am really moving away from them at all. Never for a wreck or any kind of penetration.

texdiveguy
11-25-2007, 23:28
I only use bolt snaps,,,either swivel or double ended.

bubble-head
11-26-2007, 06:38
Bolt snaps are the way to go. I get stainless steel ones from Lowes and they hold up exceptionally well.

mm_dm
11-26-2007, 07:39
Bolt snaps for me. Stainless steel.

ScubaJenn81
11-26-2007, 08:12
I only use locking ones as well.

SarahBella
11-26-2007, 09:26
As of right now I have a retractor for my console and a cheap Carabiner...I like to keep the stuff hanging off the BC to a minimum. Maybe some locking carabiners would be the way to go...

ianr33
11-26-2007, 10:32
IMHO stainless bolt snaps are the way to go. (Got a whole bunch from NIX dog collars on Ebay)

I would imagine that locking carabineers are going to corrode badly in salt water.

Mtrewyn
11-26-2007, 10:40
Stainless Steel is one of the few metals that can stand up in salt water, but it will still "rust" or corrode in salt water.

If you check your gear the way you should that would not be a real problem

Airborne!
11-26-2007, 11:57
Anything with the word “Suicide” in its nickname usually does not make it into my kit. SS Bolt Snaps work nicely for me.

mcc2318
11-26-2007, 12:40
bolt snaps

mcc2318
11-26-2007, 13:53
My BCD has big enough pockets that I dont keep anything really dangling from my bcd

WV Diver
11-26-2007, 14:43
They all have their place I guess depending on your diving. The cheap aluminum clips are easy to get and use and they are readily available. I guess they all are easy enough to get, if you look around.

I can see good uses for them all and I can see why you would not want to use certain types at all in some instances.

Chad
11-26-2007, 15:10
SS bolt snaps tied on w/cave line.

mcc2318
11-26-2007, 16:02
i remember once on a charter there was i guy that had so much stuff that he looked like a christmas tree/ tech diver and all we dove was a 70 ft reef

medicdiver
11-26-2007, 19:28
I only use SS bolt snaps

mitchy
11-26-2007, 19:52
What is a locking carabiner?

Daved
11-26-2007, 20:03
A locking caribiner is a device by which either rope or equipment is attached temporarily too. Typically the "gate" is spring loaded to prevent unwanted access--

Carabiners: Locking (http://www.bentgate.com/carloc.html)

You might have to cut and paste the link above--I'm not to puter literate.

mitchy
11-27-2007, 18:35
The link worked. I use the cheap carabiners, and had never really thought of getting snagged. I assume it's rare but nonetheless possible, and therefore better safe than sorry. Any experience using them with gloves on, as most of my diving is done wearing 5mm gloves?

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
11-27-2007, 18:44
This thread is a bit of an eye opener. While I was at the hardware store getting a kitchen spray nozzle for my rental house I picked up some stainless steel bolt snaps and a couple of quick links. All carabiners and retractors are going bye bye.

CompuDude
11-27-2007, 18:49
I use a couple of locking carabiners. They prevent unwanted entry of anything and still can be used with one hand.

Do you have any issues with corrosion? Aluminum can have issues with that at times. Also, the springs are not always SS (in fact, they're usually not) and will eventually fail... hopefully not at an especially inopportune time.

I use SS bolt snaps where ever possible. (read: everywhere except my camera's coil lanyard, which is only available with a brass bolt snap)

mitchy
11-27-2007, 18:52
Why stainless over brass? My local DS uses brass on their rentals. These rentals only see fresh water, is that why? Is SS better for salt water?

Splitlip
11-27-2007, 20:11
I pasted this link in my original post. More on the incident.

Simon & Schuster: Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria (Trade Paperback) - Read an Excerpt (http://www.simonsays.com/content/book.cfm?pid=411998&tab=1&agid=2)

tedwhiteva
11-27-2007, 20:37
SS bolt snaps tied on w/cave line.
:smiley32:To emphasize what Chad said - "with cave line". I.e. you want to be able to cut it off in extremis.

Airborne!
11-27-2007, 21:22
Why stainless over brass? My local DS uses brass on their rentals. These rentals only see fresh water, is that why? Is SS better for salt water?

Honestly I think most of us use SS because we like shiny things that contrast well against our nice black wetsuits and equipment.

Daved
11-27-2007, 22:58
I will need to re-read the link.
I have SS snaps on my BC
I have locking Carabiner on my BC

I have plastic ties on my BC

Most important--I dive lite. If it is not required on the dive--I do not have it with me. More clutter and junk--more chance of something going wrong.
KISS--
\

CompuDude
11-28-2007, 02:04
Why stainless over brass? My local DS uses brass on their rentals. These rentals only see fresh water, is that why? Is SS better for salt water?

Honestly I think most of us use SS because we like shiny things that contrast well against our nice black wetsuits and equipment.

Actually, there's a reason. Brass is a relatively soft metal, and with use, the edges of the gate get VERY sharp. Sharp enough to slice your thumb wide open. I've never seen it first hand, but have read many reports.

I used to poo-poo all those reports, and buy brass to save a few bucks, but the first time I looked at my thumb and realized the two white streaks in my water-softened skin were the harbingers of unpleasant things to come, I started replacing it all with stainless (slowly, over time). $5-10 here and there isn't a big deal, and even better is getting it on sale for less. Eventually, you're all SS and have one less thing to think about.

The other bonus, incidentally, is brass tends to corrode ever so slightly, not enough to fail structurally, but just enough surface texturing builds up that the action tends to get stiffer over time. Good SS clips just keep going and going.

LiteHedded
11-28-2007, 11:56
yep
brass snaps cut your thumbs up.
go with stainless

Airborne!
11-28-2007, 12:16
Why stainless over brass? My local DS uses brass on their rentals. These rentals only see fresh water, is that why? Is SS better for salt water?

Honestly I think most of us use SS because we like shiny things that contrast well against our nice black wetsuits and equipment.

Actually, there's a reason. Brass is a relatively soft metal, and with use, the edges of the gate get VERY sharp. Sharp enough to slice your thumb wide open. I've never seen it first hand, but have read many reports.

I used to poo-poo all those reports, and buy brass to save a few bucks, but the first time I looked at my thumb and realized the two white streaks in my water-softened skin were the harbingers of unpleasant things to come, I started replacing it all with stainless (slowly, over time). $5-10 here and there isn't a big deal, and even better is getting it on sale for less. Eventually, you're all SS and have one less thing to think about.

The other bonus, incidentally, is brass tends to corrode ever so slightly, not enough to fail structurally, but just enough surface texturing builds up that the action tends to get stiffer over time. Good SS clips just keep going and going.


And its Shiny...Grog like Shiny things. :anim_bounce:

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
11-28-2007, 12:23
So do the barracuda.

No Misses
11-28-2007, 12:24
I started out with brass suicide clips. Beside the nasty habit of snagging lines, they will also come unclipped if the loop that you have clipped them onto twists up and over the gate. I have dropped flashlights and lobster gear this way. I have since switched over to all SS Bolt Snaps. Since all of my diving is in salt water, I use only marine grade clips. I have seen non-marine grade ones rust.

Airborne!
11-28-2007, 20:45
So do the barracuda.

Grog like taste of Barracuda too.

Splitlip
11-28-2007, 20:49
So do the barracuda.

like shiny bolt snaps hanging by your throat.

cummings66
11-28-2007, 22:51
For those that think the bolt snaps you're buying at the hardware store are stainless steel, check them because I bet they're not. I know at my Lowes, Home Depot, Sutherlands, Westlakes, and Orschelns the bolt snaps are NOT stainless. They are PLATED and will rust. I can't say all those stores everywhere carry plated only, but I would be willing to bet that they all buy from the same places and it's likely none of them are stainless.

Most of the time they're plated and in a few dozen dives they'll start getting sticky. Mine did until I spent the money and got the real deal. There's a reason they're cheaper at the local hardware store.

Splitlip
11-29-2007, 05:17
My experience also.

LiteHedded
11-29-2007, 07:27
For those that think the bolt snaps you're buying at the hardware store are stainless steel, check them because I bet they're not. I know at my Lowes, Home Depot, Sutherlands, Westlakes, and Orschelns the bolt snaps are NOT stainless. They are PLATED and will rust. I can't say all those stores everywhere carry plated only, but I would be willing to bet that they all buy from the same places and it's likely none of them are stainless.

Most of the time they're plated and in a few dozen dives they'll start getting sticky. Mine did until I spent the money and got the real deal. There's a reason they're cheaper at the local hardware store.
I bought one a couple weeks ago
after one dive it discolored and rusted shut.
my thumbs still have cuts from my cavern class this weekend. my backup light has a brass snap on it. I will be all stainless before my next dive :)

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
11-29-2007, 07:50
Good to know.

mitchy
11-29-2007, 09:31
Thanks for the tip on hardware stores not selling the real deal. I was planning on grabbing some at the HO.

Netsloth
11-29-2007, 09:50
Thanks for the tip on hardware stores not selling the real deal. I was planning on grabbing some at the HO.

I believe the hardware that is in the marine section specifically is stainless. I've been using them, and no discoloration or corrosion to report. They are specifically marked stainless - marine grade on the bins they came out of, though, and they were more expensive than the zinc hardware at the store. They were still cheaper than the LDS.

I got mine at lowes. Look for the blue section for marine hardware on that isle.

LiteHedded
11-29-2007, 10:37
Thanks for the tip on hardware stores not selling the real deal. I was planning on grabbing some at the HO.

I believe the hardware that is in the marine section specifically is stainless. I've been using them, and no discoloration or corrosion to report. They are specifically marked stainless - marine grade on the bins they came out of, though, and they were more expensive than the zinc hardware at the store. They were still cheaper than the LDS.

I got mine at lowes. Look for the blue section for marine hardware on that isle.
I didn't know there was such a section
mine didn't come from a marine section and were only like $1.50 each. I'll check it out

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
11-29-2007, 11:32
Don't have a marine section but my Lowes has a number of different materials (SS, zinc coated, etc.) the SS bolt snaps are much more than 1.50- more like 6 bucks a pop. They claim to be SS but I don't recall seeing anything about being marine grade or not. They were all in the same section as the mildew resistant ski ropes.

CompuDude
11-29-2007, 12:52
For those that think the bolt snaps you're buying at the hardware store are stainless steel, check them because I bet they're not. I know at my Lowes, Home Depot, Sutherlands, Westlakes, and Orschelns the bolt snaps are NOT stainless. They are PLATED and will rust. I can't say all those stores everywhere carry plated only, but I would be willing to bet that they all buy from the same places and it's likely none of them are stainless.

Most of the time they're plated and in a few dozen dives they'll start getting sticky. Mine did until I spent the money and got the real deal. There's a reason they're cheaper at the local hardware store.

Absolutely correct.

Not only that, but sometimes you can get a SS bolt snap (truly SS) that does not have a SS spring inside. The spring rusts out in short order, leaving a shiny but otherwise useless shell.

I've bought SS snaps from West Marine and they've held up fine, so look to boating shops as well. LDS is the most expensive place to buy them, in almost every case, although when you need one in a hurry there's no beating it.

In my experience, there are two good places to get great SS bolt snaps and save a few bucks. First, TechDivingLimited.com has sales on them every few months. Snaps that cost $12 at my LDS can be had for $4-6. I tend to wait for a sale and buy in batches, spend $20-30 on a small collection so I always have spares on hand.

The other way, if you want to buy in bulk, is (don't laugh, because it's real) Nix Dog Collars (http://216.36.250.99/nixdogcollars/) (look for "diving snaps" link). They have really good prices, but you have to want a lot of them. I've never bought from them, although I would have saved in the long run if I had, but I've heard nothing but excellent feedback on their bolt snaps.

RoadRacer1978
11-29-2007, 13:04
Every Lowes may be a little different based on thier location. Since Netsloth is in FL, it makes sense that Lowes would have a section to cater to the boaters and such. I don't recall such a section at my Lowes here in Oklahoma, but you can bet I'll be checking the next time I am there. And since one Lowes has them you could probably always get some special ordered, but not sure how much they would be then, or what kinda quantity you would have to buy.

lmorin
11-29-2007, 15:07
For a wide variety of opinions on the topic of "suicide clips" See Here (http://www.scubaboard.com/forums/basic-scuba-discussions/193018-suicide-clips.html)

cmburch
03-02-2008, 15:16
This year I upgraded to stainless steel bolt snaps and quick links. In the Pacific Ocean for the past 20 or so years, I was using marine brass boat snaps. I have not had much problem with these so the spring must be stainless. I liked them because they were easy to handle with or without gloves. But the marine style boat snaps are not secure. I have had them open somehow and release on me.

ianr33
03-02-2008, 15:29
This is a good source for SS bolt snaps.

Diving Snaps (http://216.36.250.99/nixdogcollars/Diving_Snaps.html)

Crimediver
03-02-2008, 19:19
I have never had problems with brass bolt snaps but over time I have eventually replaced them with SS. I also avoid gate snaps, butterflys snaps and caribiners. I am in a lot of sand and have had locking biners get hard to open when gritty.

CompuDude
03-02-2008, 23:04
I have never had problems with brass bolt snaps but over time I have eventually replaced them with SS. I also avoid gate snaps, butterflys snaps and caribiners. I am in a lot of sand and have had locking biners get hard to open when gritty.

Brass, being a softer metal, has a nasty tendency to sharpen up the slot where the gate moves up and down.

I used to use a lot of brass snaps, too, until I looked at my thumb after a particularly long pool session and saw two parallel cuts on it from opening it and closing it.

I now use all SS except for my one camera coil lanyard, which is not available in SS.

LiteHedded
03-03-2008, 07:41
it seems that the people who have no trouble with brass snaps are the people wearing gloves :P

cgvmer
03-03-2008, 08:47
Do you use double ended bolt snaps? If not how do you attach the snap to yourself, assuming the accessory is on the side that opens?

cmburch
03-03-2008, 10:32
Do you use double ended bolt snaps? If not how do you attach the snap to yourself, assuming the accessory is on the side that opens?
I am now using a stainless steel split ring, but I use to tie it with a piece of rope or line using a bowline knot. I still use rope for attaching clips to other items.

CompuDude
03-03-2008, 12:11
Do you use double ended bolt snaps? If not how do you attach the snap to yourself, assuming the accessory is on the side that opens?

Best method for attaching a bolt snap (non-double-ended) to an object is a "cave knot". (There are exceptions, but this method, with some minor variations, works super well for a wide variety of objects)

How to Attach a Snap (http://www.diveriteexpress.com/library/boltsnap.shtml)

ianr33
03-03-2008, 12:24
Do you use double ended bolt snaps? If not how do you attach the snap to yourself, assuming the accessory is on the side that opens?

Lights,spg,primary reg (long hose) use a single ended snap. Tie the object onto the non-snap end.

Reels,spools,lift bags,spare mask and other assorted junk in pockets I use double enders.

Basically if it is O.K. for the snap to stay on the object tie a single ended one onto it. If not then use a double ender.

cgvmer
03-03-2008, 21:59
Thanks for that info.

captain
03-22-2008, 16:43
For those that think the bolt snaps you're buying at the hardware store are stainless steel, check them because I bet they're not. I know at my Lowes, Home Depot, Sutherlands, Westlakes, and Orschelns the bolt snaps are NOT stainless. They are PLATED and will rust. I can't say all those stores everywhere carry plated only, but I would be willing to bet that they all buy from the same places and it's likely none of them are stainless.

Most of the time they're plated and in a few dozen dives they'll start getting sticky. Mine did until I spent the money and got the real deal. There's a reason they're cheaper at the local hardware store.

Bring a magnet with you. If it's good stainless (304 or 316L) the magnet won't stick at all.

fkostyun
03-23-2008, 04:13
I just picked up 4 snaps at lowes this week - they are "stamped" on the bin that there in as marine grade (and they charge as so!)

I also tried to get a magnet to stick to the clip - and it would not.

cummings66
03-23-2008, 08:37
Where do you live?

fkostyun
03-23-2008, 15:59
I'm in Phoenix AZ - they have 4 stainless clips, and about 6 brass clips that they have stated as marine grade in my local lowes.

terrillja
03-23-2008, 16:03
I have a couple of "suicide clips" which I bought from Lowe's in MA which have held up well. They are however specifically marked (and priced) as being for marine use.

I use them for my jon line/ lifting straps, and have never had any problems with them. I keep them inside a pocket though, so they don't catch anything.

rawalker
03-23-2008, 17:48
Ace Hardware has a section of clips and have brass, plated and Stainless Steel all separated accordingly and properly marked. Yes SS is more expensive.

CompuDude
03-23-2008, 22:31
Ace Hardware has a section of clips and have brass, plated and Stainless Steel all separated accordingly and properly marked. Yes SS is more expensive.

A frequent problem with "Stainless Steel" bolt snaps is not that the snap is not SS, but rather, that the spring inside ends up not being SS, and rusts out quickly.

Feel free to experiment, but otherwise, skip the guesswork and get them from known good sources.

robjoubert
03-24-2008, 00:13
Actually, there's a reason. Brass is a relatively soft metal, and with use, the edges of the gate get VERY sharp. Sharp enough to slice your thumb wide open. I've never seen it first hand, but have read many reports.



Thanks for the explanation - I was wondering why SS was preferred over brass by so many people.

texdiveguy
03-24-2008, 00:19
I use both SS and marine quality brass fasteners with good results in both. I prefer a quality SS unit, but if properly cared for both will preform well under lots of use. I don't use "suicide clips" under any condition.

cmburch
03-24-2008, 00:31
I have purchased brass boat clips and snap clips from Orchard Supply and Home Depot. I have been using over 10 years, so the springs and pins must be rust resistant. I have also recently used SS quick links from Home Depot.