In the last five years diver training agencies across the globe have paid more attention to the use of surface markers as an important skill for all divers to have, even those at entry level. Here we take a look at the options available through PADI.
The Open Water Diver Course has been revamped to include underwater delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) deployment skills and “an inflatable signal tube” is now listed within the necessary training equipment for students within the PADI instructor manual. During the Open Water dives of this beginner course, the student must deploy an inflatable tube at the surface and a DSMB from underwater. Typically an instructor will demonstrate beforehand then have students perform the skill at the end of the dive. Both inflation underwater and at the surface are important skills for new divers to master, rather than solely relying upon an instructor or guide to deploy the DSMB and will aid new divers in building confidence for times when things can get difficult.
The PADI Advanced Open Course saw Surface Marker skills use in the Drift Diver elective dive however it now includes the option for an elective “Delayed Surface Marker Buoy” adventure dive as one of the 5 skills dives needed to obtain the Advanced certification. During this dive students learn how to check, attach and stow a DSMB prior to the dive. During the dive each student must successfully deploy the surface marker from a stationary position then tow underwater for 10 minutes demonstrating line adjustment techniques whilst maintaining neutral buoyancy. This builds upon the skills that are now being taught during the Open Water course.
With all PADI adventure dives there is the option to continue on to the speciality diver rating, adding additional dives and skills to those already mastered during prior courses. Additional training has student divers deploying DSMBs from midwater, followed by towing underwater and maintaining neutral buoyancy. This more advanced skills training takes into account what the majority of more experienced divers do on each dive, but gives those with less experience the option to learn in a controlled environment, with instructor supervision.
Students of these courses are also expected to learn about different reels, spools and lines, and varying attachment methods as well as looking more closely at inflation options offered by the latest Surface Markers. Instructors and dive centres should have a range of DSMBs and accessories for student divers to test out. Why not try them on the Webbing Deployment System and see how easy they find it?
At Surface Marker we have made a number of videos, uploaded to our YouTube channel, to assist instructors and students alike. Please feel free to use in your classes!