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Quetzal
11-26-2007, 23:00
I'm looking at ordering one for my emergency kit. I dive mainly NC coast 40 miles out. Anyone have experience with them or suggestions

paintsnow
11-27-2007, 01:18
with a 9'7" SMB people will probably see your from shore

you might want to carry a smaller one ( a lot smaller)
for when there isnt an emergency, your drifting and the boat is following, or you need to do emergency deco or something, point is
a 9'7" smb is going to be a pain to fold up and store after you deploy it.

also if your trying to signal aircrafts with it it would be best to position it flat on the sea rather then wave it pointing vertical.

peteg
11-27-2007, 10:39
The recent roundup in Scuba Diving Magazine about the effectiveness of various SMBs was pretty sobering. I would rather have something that is a pain to fold up than get stranded out there. Here's the link:

Lost (And Found) At Sea - Scuba Diving Magazine (http://www.scubadiving.com/gear/accessories/lost_and_found_at_sea)

BouzoukiJoe A.K.A. wrecker130 AKA Chuck Norris AKA joeforbroke (banned)
11-27-2007, 12:13
For diving offshore NC I think you need at least 6 ft. Conditions can be volatile. Some very experienced divers have been lost at sea around here. If you come up well off the wreck in 6 ft seas bigger is better. You might also consider a signal mirror, strobe and scubalert. Carrying a hat can be good, too.

Best plan is to respect the ocean and try not to come up off the wreck.

fireflock
11-27-2007, 13:53
I carry one of these off NC:
XS Scuba Safety Marker Buoy - Safety Market Buoy - SMB (http://www.divesports.com/mall/xsscuba_acc_AC070SMB.asp)
(I could not find them on the ST site, but I bet they have them. The xsscuba website seems to be down right now for some reason).

For everything there is a tradeoff. The size is hard to beat on the surface for signaling. That's the main reason I carry it. The length makes it a pain to deploy from depth and the shape adds drag if you're towing it or floating under it for ascent. Overall, I think it's a good compromise, since signaling is my main concern. If I know I'm going to be lifting something or shooting from depth I bring along a standard left bag.

It fits nicely at the bottom of my plate - I don't even know it's there.

Rich

CaribbeanDiver
11-27-2007, 14:35
I have a couple XS Scuba SMBs. I used one in Roatan and it was worthless. It did not stand up by itself despite being clipped on one of my lower D-Rings.
I also have a Halcyon Large SMB and I can tell you that it will be the only one I carry from now on. It is over 6 feet long and has 52 lbs of lift which means deploying it underwater may be difficult but I have no doubt it will be seen and will stand up by itself. Not to mention it has a reflector strip near the top and a slot for a glow stick at the top.
Of course, the price is significantly different but you get what you pay for and when I am bobbing in a big swell and hoping the boat can see me, I promise the last thing I am thinking of is how much the SMB cost.

fireflock
11-27-2007, 15:04
I think any of the long bags have trouble standing up on the surface unless they are totally full of air and you have something (weight) pulling down on them. It's very hard (almost impossible) to get them to stand straight up from depth.

I find the long bags more difficult to deploy at depth because of all the extra fabric flopping around before you get air into it.

The XS SMB has both the reflective strip and glowstick/slate loop too.

Rich

Airborne!
11-27-2007, 15:40
In my experience most large SMBís of any manufacture will not stand up continually on the surface from depth. When you consider many of those bags have say 40-50lbs of lift then how are you supposed to keep them up when you are supposed to be fairly neutral? Then add the fact that you might have wave action and then wind and itís not reasonable to expect them to stand continually. Once you are on the surface then you have a little more control and can use it better for signaling if needed.
I personally have two bags. One small 3í bag for just hey I am here under the water on a stop, and one large that doubles as a lift bag and an oh crap somebody please see me out here.

Puffer Fish
11-27-2007, 16:32
I think any of the long bags have trouble standing up on the surface unless they are totally full of air and you have something (weight) pulling down on them. It's very hard (almost impossible) to get them to stand straight up from depth.

I find the long bags more difficult to deploy at depth because of all the extra fabric flopping around before you get air into it.

The XS SMB has both the reflective strip and glowstick/slate loop too.

Rich
It is an art... first you have to send it up from as deep as possible.(expansion is your friend), second, you have to get a lot of air in it before it goes..

The basic method is to:

1. Unroll the smb at or above your head level.

2. Attach line.

3. Make sure you are neutral...

4. Note: holding the spool, and doing all of this can be tricky, and getting it caught is not pretty.

5. Take octo (I use my reg, but most seem more comfortable with using their octo).

6. Stick in the bottom, and hold the fabric around the reg, so it will not leak.

7. Exhale, while pulling down on the end of the bag, while pushing the purge (tricky to do actually).

8. Hold for two seconds while inflating...as in count.

9. Let go and keep clear of line.

You will have an smb that is hard as a rock on the surface.

I don't know if that would work on a 22 inch diameter monster, but it works on a 6ft, large one.

The trick is one of timing, in that you are sinking while it is pulling.. done correctly you don't move more than a foot in the water column.

fireflock
11-27-2007, 16:49
You will have an smb that is hard as a rock on the surface.



Good description of how to launch.

I can get it full of air, but to make it stand straight up you have to pull down with quite a force, especially in any wind. I find a nice salvaged anchor (w/SS chain if you can find it) does the trick, but I can't always find one when I need it. :)

Rich

Splitlip
11-27-2007, 17:09
I think any of the long bags have trouble standing up on the surface unless they are totally full of air and you have something (weight) pulling down on them. It's very hard (almost impossible) to get them to stand straight up from depth.

I find the long bags more difficult to deploy at depth because of all the extra fabric flopping around before you get air into it.

The XS SMB has both the reflective strip and glowstick/slate loop too.

Rich
It is an art... first you have to send it up from as deep as possible.(expansion is your friend), second, you have to get a lot of air in it before it goes..

The basic method is to:

1. Unroll the smb at or above your head level.

2. Attach line.

3. Make sure you are neutral...

4. Note: holding the spool, and doing all of this can be tricky, and getting it caught is not pretty.

5. Take octo (I use my reg, but most seem more comfortable with using their octo).

6. Stick in the bottom, and hold the fabric around the reg, so it will not leak.

7. Exhale, while pulling down on the end of the bag, while pushing the purge (tricky to do actually).

8. Hold for two seconds while inflating...as in count.

9. Let go and keep clear of line.

You will have an smb that is hard as a rock on the surface.

I don't know if that would work on a 22 inch diameter monster, but it works on a 6ft, large one.

The trick is one of timing, in that you are sinking while it is pulling.. done correctly you don't move more than a foot in the water column.

What depth you typically shoot from?