5 Alternate Uses for Your DSMB
A DSMB is primarily used by divers to signal to the surface support where they are, especially useful in locations of heavy boat traffic or remote areas where strong currents can be expected. However there are several other ways to utilise this essential piece of diving equipment. Susie and Thomas Erbe share some of their thoughts and insights….
- Marking The Location of a Dive Site
It is common for dive sites to have permanent mooring buoys or location markers, however when these do not exist or have been removed, finding the spot to start your dive can be a challenge. Dragging a heavy rope or anchor line is not always practical so use your DSMB and reel instead.
“When wreck diving at the Rosalie Moller site in the Red Sea, the permanent mooring buoys were often removed making the wreckage very difficult to locate even with an handheld GPS. As dive guides we would need to descend to a depth of 30m, locate the wreckage then attach a line. Dragging a mooring rope was both tiring and cumbersome when you factor in low vis and current, so we would simply go down and when we found the wreck, attach a reel line to it and send up the DSMB. This provided both the site location for the boat crew and a guide line for our guest divers to follow. The divers could then enjoy their tour of this fabulous wreck whilst the crew anchored the vessel.”
- As a Aid to Buoyancy During a Safety Stop
“Many times I have heard from fellow divers that they struggle to maintain neutral buoyancy during a safety stop. I have often advised using their Surface Marker to help overcome this challenge”, says Susie.
When there is no anchor or mooring line to hold onto, using a DSMB with webbing system or reel can be a valuable way to help inexperienced divers maintain the necessary depth for safe off-gassing. Once your DSMB is deployed, encourage fellow divers to hold the line, with slightly negative buoyancy. When the stop is completed they can also use the line to maintain a gradual ascent to the surface. The WDS System from Surface Marker is ideal for this as the line is wide making it comfortable to hold.
- Sending a Message to the Surface Support
Tec divers sometimes take a specifically coloured DSMB to which they attach a slate with a messages for the surface support. This method can help the support diver bring the correct equipment or gases to the tec-diver or just as a method of communication that all is ok and deco has begun.
“When making a search and recovery tec dive in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, our boat team were given a thorough dive plan, however only a short time into the dive we realised the location was wrong and sent up a marker to let the team know we were making our ascent already. Attaching the slate was a great way to keep them informed”, says Thomas
- As an Alternative to a Lift Bag
“On several dives in remote locations of Indonesia we came across ghost nets draping over the reefs. Though we attempted to remove them from the corals, the weight of the net and debris it had collected was too much to bring up by hand. We had not planned a reef clean up, so with no lift bag to hand it was impossible to bring up the netting. Having a strong DSMB with lift would have been a great solution – particularly for the marine life!”
The X-Marker Pro is extremely durable and offers 19kg of lift, making it an ideal alternative to a lift bag.
- Adding Fun to a Boring Day at the Office
We’ve all experienced a slow work day. So why not inflate your Surface Markers and go to battle? Have fun!