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Thread: SMB question...

  1. #1

    SMB question...

    I was looking at (and just ordered one from ST) SMB's and noticed that most of them are multi colored. One side orange/red the other yellow. I had just assumed that was just a way to make them more noticeable from a distance and eye catching with different colors flashing. Now that I have done a tiny bit of reading about them I see that a orange/red color is supposed to be a marker, IE.. diver about to surface, getting a boats attention. Yellow is to indicate; help or distress.
    Are the color markings still a standard that is adhered to? On the two sided SMB's are you to make your best effort to keep which ever side is applicable faced towards your boat? Is that even really possible since its a 360 degree environment wouldn't you be giving false signals to anyone else that happened to be around?

  2. #2
    Shark
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    I would guess you could tell the captian of the dive boat about the colors...
    ... for a lot of other other boaters out there, I don't care what color it is, it will say "Hey come over here real close and ask silly questions!"

  3. #3
    Grouper
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    I like solid Orange. But certain conditions will make the Neon Yellow more visible. I would't worry about it too much. Get the same color as everyone else you dive with has. A solid color allows the people looking for you to know what they are looking for.

  4. #4
    Guppy
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    Can anyone tell me what an SMB is?

  5. #5
    Barracuda
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    A SMB is a surface marker buoy. IE, safety sausage.

    Also lumped in there are DSMB or delayed surface marker buoys. Thes are usually deployed at depth and are used to mark your location as you ascend. These include lift bags and sausages.

    Personally, I don't make the distinction between SMB or DSMB. They all mark you location on the surface and most can be used as an ascent line if needed.

    As for colors - there isn't a global standard. Some boats or areas may use on scheme but its not universal.

  6. #6
    Barracuda
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    Quote Originally Posted by scubastud View Post
    I don't care what color it is, it will say "Hey come over here real close and ask silly questions!"
    so true!!!

    But at least you know they get people's attention which is exactly what you want! Specially, you want the attention of those who don't know what it is so they don't run you over. At least in theory

    Wiz
    3/4 of the Earth are covered by water and 1/4 by land. Clearly God intended us to spend 3 times as much time fishing and diving than mowing the lawn. - Wiz

  7. #7
    Moderator ST-Forum Mod WV Diver's Avatar
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    Scuba Diving Magazine's Oct 2007 issue was specially devoted to survival and loaded with information concerning SMB's and signaling devices.

    They did a lot of field testing and according to them color does matter. Not as far as a specific distress/marker signal for the boat but rather how far they could be seen on a given day.

    According to them a fluorescent yellow marker can be seen much better than an orange marker in overcast conditions while an orange marker is better seen in bright sunlight.

    Lettering is not helpful and the black webbing tape that trims the edge of most tubes only lessens the potential visibility at greater distances.

    Additionally, I carry a flashing strobe that can be attached to the top of the SMB and a chemical light stick for back up. I carry the XS version SMB. It is orange and has reflective tape on it also and my dive buddy carries a yellow marker. Whereas mine can be shot from depth my buddy's is a large oral inflate.
    Last edited by WV Diver; 11-24-2008 at 08:20.


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  8. #8
    Grouper
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    The color thing is only important to technical divers. On tech trips the sausage color makes a difference because there may be problems while divers are on lengthy deco stops. On the yellow markers it's standard procedure to tie a slate with a message explaining the issue and asking for specific help. For tech divers, the two-tone marker is confusing.

    For recreational divers it doesn't matter what color you use--as others have said, it's just a marker to show where you are, and different colors show up better under different conditions.

    Here where I work, we use any color we like (I once had a neon green one, but my current marker is orange); we deploy them for two main purposes:
    1) while we are on our safety stops, to let local boat traffic know that there are divers about to ascend (so stay clear)
    2) once we have ascended, to allow the boat captain to know where to look for a bobbing head in the water (not easy to spot otherwise).
    All of our diving is drift diving, so we don't navigate out and back, nor do we ascend in some specific place where the boat will wait. We come up where we come up, and the boats drive up to collect us.
    DIVE with me in THAILAND!
    Gekko Scuba Divers, Phuket

  9. #9
    THE Supreme Master Spammer Founding Member
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    Phuket? Is that near Jupiter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quero View Post
    The color thing is only important to technical divers. On tech trips the sausage color makes a difference because there may be problems while divers are on lengthy deco stops. On the yellow markers it's standard procedure to tie a slate with a message explaining the issue and asking for specific help. For tech divers, the two-tone marker is confusing.

    For recreational divers it doesn't matter what color you use--as others have said, it's just a marker to show where you are, and different colors show up better under different conditions.


    Here where I work, we use any color we like (I once had a neon green one, but my current marker is orange); we deploy them for two main purposes:
    1) while we are on our safety stops, to let local boat traffic know that there are divers about to ascend (so stay clear)

    2) once we have ascended, to allow the boat captain to know where to look for a bobbing head in the water (not easy to spot otherwise).
    All of our diving is drift diving, so we don't navigate out and back, nor do we ascend in some specific place where the boat will wait. We come up where we come up, and the boats drive up to collect us.
    Tim "The Star and Crescent shall not be worn by every man, but only by him who is worthy to wear it. He must be a gentleman... a man of honor and courage... a man of zeal, yet humble... an intelligent man...a man of truth... one who tempers action with wisdom and, above all else, one who walks in the light of God."

  10. #10
    Grouper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Splitlip View Post
    Phuket? Is that near Jupiter.
    Nah, it's closer to Venus. Jupiter is out there between Mars and Saturn, IIRC
    DIVE with me in THAILAND!
    Gekko Scuba Divers, Phuket

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