A surface marker buoy allows you to indicate that you or your dive buddy are in distress and gives a clear reference point of your location with bright colourations and the ability to stand 1m upright in the water. In this video, Adreno’s Zoe Pocklington shows how to use a couple of different types of surface marker buoys (SMBs).
1.2m SMB The 1.2m safety sausage is intended to be inflated at the surface, fitted with just a mouth inflation valve. But not to worry, only a couple of deep breaths are needed to fully inflate this SMB. Just push on the valve and blow. Once inflated, it should stand around 1m tall above the water. The convenience in this smaller design is that it can clip to your BCD and is small enough that it can fit into most BCD pockets.
1.8m SMB The 1.8m safety sausage SMB can be inflated using your octopus regulator and BCD inflator, which gives you the ability to inflate the SMB underwater. If you are mid dive and the current picks up dramatically, you can inflate the SMB to indicate to your boat where you are if you can’t get to the surface where you said you would.
For the octopus inflation method, just place the reg in the large opening of the SMB, and allow air to fill the device in short bursts so you don’t inflate it to quickly and lose your grip. Similar to the octopus method, inflating the SMB using your BCD inflator should be done in small bursts as it will fill the device quite quickly.
One key thing to remember is to have a reel with you if you are inflating the device underwater. Before inflating the device, using the clip attached to the SMB secure your reel line at the loop. Once you’ve inflated the SMB, allow it to float to the surface and lock the line off once you see that the reel has stopped turning and the SMB has reached the surface to keep the float upright and clearly indicating. As you make your way to the surface, reel your line in to maintain tension and prevent yourself from making a dangerous mess of entangled line.
Take a look at some of the available SMB devices and reels available online at http://www.scubadiving.com.au/ and in our Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne stores.