The only way to be seen on the surface
If there is something really important in your diving gear for safety, that is your surface marker buoy. This is simply because you use it to mark your position on the surface. You can do it while making a safety stop five meters down, if you are preparing to ascend to the surface, or you are already at the surface and you need to make your position visible to the boat, to help them locate you and come get you. It’s that simple. Before buying any other diving gear, think about a buoy, you’ll be grateful.
What models and types of buoys are available?
There are many models in terms of size, material, color or their inflation system, each for a certain type of diving. They usually come with a small carrying pouch.
Starting with the size, a good buoy must be at least one meter long to be visible. Obviously, the longer the buoy the better. Here, size does matter. 🙂
The material is also important, and it will be directly proportional to its cost. There are plastic buoys and fabric buoys. The former have a shorter useful life than those made of fabric, although they are quite valid if you aren’t diving every month of the year.
However, if you are an everyday diver, fabric is the answer. It ensures good duration and resistance.
Colors vary widely from one maker to another, but they must be bright, like florescent colors. An endemic problem of all diving buoys is that the passage of time and the impact of the sun will make them fade and render them less effective.
An inflated buoy must never be tied or fastened to diving gear, as it might take you to the surface to quickly and cause bodily problems. A diver may also be dragged along by strong currents and lose control of his body and his safety in the dive.
How do diving buoys work?
The inflation system may involve direct sending of air from a second stage (regulator) through the upper part of the buoy (some have two magnets to create a hermetic seal) or a second system of blowing through an built-in anti-return valve. For teaching, direct inflation buoys are recommended, where the latter ones, with an anti-return valve, are recommended for personal use, though a diver must choose a buoy that is the easiest to use and most comfortable for him.
What are diving reels?
A buoy without a reel is like a diver without fins. A reel is a tool used to throw the buoy. It may be a simple rope fastened to the buoy when we buy it, but this are hard to use because it will usually get tangled. If this a problem for you, buy an independent buoy.
Buoys have different rope lengths: from 10 meters up to as much as you might need. And they have to have a clip or clamp for fastening to the diving gear and to each other when we use them.
Some are simple, and others have an automatic locking system, though these are a bit more pricey. A diving reel can also be used for different purposes under water, such as for marking off areas for more advanced forms of technical diving.
Take precautions before using a reel and be aware of your own limitations and level as a diver.
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