Inflating Safety Sausage

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Coldwater_Canuck

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I'm just wondering what do people do to inflate their safety sausage? I just got one for Christmas and it has an inflater that I "think" is only for oral inflation (maybe it attaches to a LP inflater hose or something: but I'm guessing not). Do you inflate it while still under water or on the surface? If it's underwater do you just take your reg out of your mouth and blow it up? Do you do it deep so that you only need to blow it up partially and the decreasing pressure inflates it for you? Do you always deploy it or only if you've drifted far? These are the sorts of questions I'm wondering. Thanks.
 

beanojones

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The answer to the above is yes. There are also SMBs that have Co2 cartridge inflation.

Some SMB/Safety sausages are really designed to be deployed at the surface and only have a old school oral inflator hose (basically a short black plastic straw that you pull the end back on, and blow into.) Others have an attachment for your BC inflator hose. These just snap on your BC, and don't have a reel or line.

Most of the rest use a reel with a line snapped to the SMB.

Other ones are designed to use the BC inflator hose, but the hose does not snap on. If you are underwater you don't wan't to be firmly snapped to a balloon.

Other can be inflated with exhaled bubbles or with an underwater air gun.

The styles (surface only inflation, oral inflation) reflect a range of thoughts on what the things are for, and when you should deploy them. If you are doing regularly diving from an anchored/moored boat, your ascent line is the anchor line/mooring line. The only reason to deploy one of these things in that situation is if you are in trouble, and need the boat to come get you.

If you are doing drift diving from a live (also drifting) boat, the SMB is going to be shot a time determined before the dive. Assuming the surface current and the bottom current are running the same rough direction, and there is no wind on the surface, the captain might want you to shoot the SMB when you start your descent.

If there are a number of separate groups you may only shoot it when you hit your safety stop or maybe only when you have 3 minutes left on your safety stop. If you are shooting it in those circumstances, you just won't get a whole lot of air in it. That's when the blow into the bottom of the bag inflation type can be good because you can usually hit the bag with your bubbles from the safety stop to get some more air into it.

Or you might only deploy if the boat is not right there, and they do not seem to see you.

If the underwater current, and surface current don't match, or there is a prevailing wind blowing against the current, you may shoot the buoy once you hit start ascent, hit max depth, etc. etc. You have to know what the captain wants, and know what the captain is taking a shot buoy to mean.

When I was leading divers, the captains I dove with knew that if I shot the buoy at the beginning of the dive, I was letting him know that there were strong currents, and the dive had just become a drift dive. Of course this was something that the captain of the boat and I would have discussed beforehand.

Summing up, there is no set way to inflate an SMB. There is no set time to deploy an SMB. There is also no way to know what the appearance of the buoy at the surface means to the captain. Local conditions, and local standards, determine everything. ANd then the captain makes the final determination.
 

TSandM

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Beanojones pretty much covered the different times when you might want to inflate the bag. I'll just add that, if you are going to inflate it at depth and send it up, this is a skill that's well worth practicing in shallow water to begin with, because there are many ways to get tripped up in it. You have to learn how to keep the bag and the line away from your body, so you don't get tangled in it, and how to inflate the bag (using whichever technique you elect to use) without losing buoyancy control. It's not actually difficult, but most of us have found that our first efforts were something less than graceful.
 

Coldwater_Canuck

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The answer to the above is yes. There are also SMBs that have Co2 cartridge inflation.

Some SMB/Safety sausages are really designed to be deployed at the surface and only have a old school oral inflator hose (basically a short black plastic straw that you pull the end back on, and blow into.) Others have an attachment for your BC inflator hose. These just snap on your BC, and don't have a reel or line.
Mine definitely doesn't have a line or reel. I know it can be inflated orally, but it has some rivets that make me think a inflator hose may hook on here (I don't own a hose yet: that will be part of next month's purchases: lot of work putting together your first scuba set).


Other ones are designed to use the BC inflator hose, but the hose does not snap on. If you are underwater you don't wan't to be firmly snapped to a balloon.
Thats good to know, because it look about the size of an inflator hose, but I was wondering if it would be able to hook on. So if it's not supposed to, then this might work.

But this does leave me wondering, how does a LP inflator hose work? Is it spitting out air by default and the BCD blocks it when the button isn't pressed, or is it blocked by default and the BCD hits a pin inside or something to let air out?

The styles (surface only inflation, oral inflation) reflect a range of thoughts on what the things are for, and when you should deploy them. If you are doing regularly diving from an anchored/moored boat, your ascent line is the anchor line/mooring line. The only reason to deploy one of these things in that situation is if you are in trouble, and need the boat to come get you.

If you are doing drift diving from a live (also drifting) boat, the SMB is going to be shot a time determined before the dive. Assuming the surface current and the bottom current are running the same rough direction, and there is no wind on the surface, the captain might want you to shoot the SMB when you start your descent.

If there are a number of separate groups you may only shoot it when you hit your safety stop or maybe only when you have 3 minutes left on your safety stop. If you are shooting it in those circumstances, you just won't get a whole lot of air in it. That's when the blow into the bottom of the bag inflation type can be good because you can usually hit the bag with your bubbles from the safety stop to get some more air into it.

Or you might only deploy if the boat is not right there, and they do not seem to see you.

If the underwater current, and surface current don't match, or there is a prevailing wind blowing against the current, you may shoot the buoy once you hit start ascent, hit max depth, etc. etc. You have to know what the captain wants, and know what the captain is taking a shot buoy to mean.

When I was leading divers, the captains I dove with knew that if I shot the buoy at the beginning of the dive, I was letting him know that there were strong currents, and the dive had just become a drift dive. Of course this was something that the captain of the boat and I would have discussed beforehand.

Summing up, there is no set way to inflate an SMB. There is no set time to deploy an SMB. There is also no way to know what the appearance of the buoy at the surface means to the captain. Local conditions, and local standards, determine everything. ANd then the captain makes the final determination.
Scuba can never be simple, can it? :D

So basically: decide ahead of time! :)

Thanks for your detailed response.

Beanojones pretty much covered the different times when you might want to inflate the bag. I'll just add that, if you are going to inflate it at depth and send it up, this is a skill that's well worth practicing in shallow water to begin with, because there are many ways to get tripped up in it. You have to learn how to keep the bag and the line away from your body, so you don't get tangled in it, and how to inflate the bag (using whichever technique you elect to use) without losing buoyancy control. It's not actually difficult, but most of us have found that our first efforts were something less than graceful.
Okay I'll test it out. Since I haven't dove in over 4 months, will have all new equipment and want to take my advanced shortly, I'm planning to do a dive or two where I just practice all my OW skills to make sure I'm ready for AOW. During these dives I'll test ascending with this thing from shallow water.
 

beanojones

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But this does leave me wondering, how does a LP inflator hose work? Is it spitting out air by default and the BCD blocks it when the button isn't pressed, or is it blocked by default and the BCD hits a pin inside or something to let air out?

The inflator hose has a tire valve inside of the end that only lets air through when it is hooked up so no worries there.
 

Doubler

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I adapted mine to be inflated using my Octopus. I took an old, solid rubber Octopus holder and using a Forstner drill bit, drilled it to fit the SMB inflator hose and glued it in place. I have it attached to 30 feet of cave diving line and a stainless steel bolt. I placed a swivel at the 15 foot mark. To inflate I just drop the nut letting the line deploy, place the adapter in my Octopus mouth piece and push the purge button and let it go. Place the okay signal around the line and follow it up. Stop at the swivel for my safety stop. Retrieve the line on board the boat, rewind and put it back in my BC pocket.
 

muddiver

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If this is your first SMB than it is a surface oral inflate unit only!

All the diatribe about shooting SMB is advanced diving skills that require practice and I would not reccomend doing unless you have had some training on blue water (that is mid water way above the bottom, but not on the surface) safety/decompression stop diving.

Shooting an SMB requires knowledge of how much added bouyancy you will get adding air to your SMB, the knowledge of why you don't clip it to your BC when doing so and how to control it using a cave diving reel/thimble.

I also cation aginst using the BC auto inflator hose without a spring loaded valve like the one on the BC inflator hose. The hard rubber hose with the quick connect is an "all open" or "all closed" connector. The valve that controls the air flow is the button you push on the bigger corrigated hose attached to the BC. If you depress the plug in the quick connect on your tank it will be very difficult to control the amount of air cominf out of it.

Stick to blowing your safety sossage up manually and you'll be safer.

By the way, does it have a little red plastic valve on it for inflation (i.e. Akona brand SMB)?
 

Coldwater_Canuck

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The inflator hose has a tire valve inside of the end that only lets air through when it is hooked up so no worries there.
That's what I figured, thanks.

I adapted mine to be inflated using my Octopus. I took an old, solid rubber Octopus holder and using a Forstner drill bit, drilled it to fit the SMB inflator hose and glued it in place. I have it attached to 30 feet of cave diving line and a stainless steel bolt. I placed a swivel at the 15 foot mark. To inflate I just drop the nut letting the line deploy, place the adapter in my Octopus mouth piece and push the purge button and let it go. Place the okay signal around the line and follow it up. Stop at the swivel for my safety stop. Retrieve the line on board the boat, rewind and put it back in my BC pocket.
haha nice. I won't be doing that though :)

If this is your first SMB than it is a surface oral inflate unit only!

All the diatribe about shooting SMB is advanced diving skills that require practice and I would not reccomend doing unless you have had some training on blue water (that is mid water way above the bottom, but not on the surface) safety/decompression stop diving.

Shooting an SMB requires knowledge of how much added bouyancy you will get adding air to your SMB, the knowledge of why you don't clip it to your BC when doing so and how to control it using a cave diving reel/thimble.

I also cation aginst using the BC auto inflator hose without a spring loaded valve like the one on the BC inflator hose. The hard rubber hose with the quick connect is an "all open" or "all closed" connector. The valve that controls the air flow is the button you push on the bigger corrigated hose attached to the BC. If you depress the plug in the quick connect on your tank it will be very difficult to control the amount of air cominf out of it.

Stick to blowing your safety sossage up manually and you'll be safer.

By the way, does it have a little red plastic valve on it for inflation (i.e. Akona brand SMB)?
Ya I'll take it slowly at first with the thing. And no, it's a black valve and it's a Trident brand.
 

C8X

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What are some recommended brands for just a surface oral inflation type, and any online store recommendations? I had a look online at leisure pro and they only seem to have giant 5' markers that aren't small enough to fit in a bc pocket, and are really meant for more advanced divers (they double as lift bags, overpressure valves for deploying from depth).

What should I look for when I just want an emergency marker for recreational diving?
 

C8X

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Just found the DAN surface signal kit -- this is what I'm after, unfortunately DAN's own online store is out of stock.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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