When Should I Use My SMB?
Has a delayed surface marker buoy (DSMB) become part of your regular dive kit yet? If not you should think about making this item an essential piece of gear for every dive. Here’s why…
At the Start of a Dive
Many dive sites have increasing amounts of boat traffic, whether from dive operators or from other water sports enthusiasts. In areas of heavy traffic it is advisable to use a Surface Marker throughout your dive to indicate to boat drivers where a diver is in the water and that they should steer clear of the area. Boats are advised to stay 100m distant from a dive flag whilst divers should be within 45m of the marker. It is simple to deploy your marker then attach to a wreck, for example, in order to keep your hands free for lights and photography. Ascending as close to your marker as possible ensures that the area directly above you is clear so you remain safe from boat propellers.
During a Dive
If you find yourself caught in a current, during any dive, deploying your Surface Marker immediately will ensure the surface support, dive boat or rescue search coordinators are aware there is a problem and be able to find you quickly. Even if you are still drifting whilst making your safety or deco stops, having a visible marker will help the support teams to follow your progress and be ready to pick you up when you surface.
There are times during dives when we may become separated from our buddies, whether due to current, low visibility or just not paying enough attention! The standard rule is to search for 1 minute then surface to reunite. By deploying your DSMB you give your buddy a clear reference for where you are so that you can reunite quickly, whilst ensuring any surface support becomes aware that you are ascending and to be ready to assist you.
At the End of a Dive
Your dive has gone to plan and it is time to ascend. As you make your way to your safety stop depth, you should prepare to deploy your Surface Marker. The use of a DSMB at the end of every dive not only indicates to boat support that you are ascending, but gives you something to hold on to whilst adjusting your buoyancy and provides a safe way to practice for times when you need to deploy during an emergency.
Deploying your Surface Marker at the end of each dive ensures your skills remain sharp and you avoid entanglement issues. Our Webbing Deployment System is ideal for shallow water deployment and an excellent tool for assisting beginners get to grips with Surface Marker use.