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S.O.S. Seaquest system tests PDF Print E-mail
Accessory S.O.S. for SeaQuest A year ago, a dive buddy, told me an anecdote about an end of a dive in Tenerife, where a surface current had literally sucked down his « Tech » surface marker buoy completely inflated, and his reel…

 

 

 

This experience made me smile at first, then made me think: "and if it happens the same thing to my surface marker buoy?". It is on the Net that I found the S.O.S. system developed for Seaquest and distributed by Aqualung. A surface marker buoy attached to the jacket.

Link to Aqualung UK Web

The advertising which one can find on internet about the product, did not really convince me (Ha, these Americans…):

 

 

However, it pinched my curiosity, so I customized my vest (Wave) with the device!
Duration of the S.O.S. system test: twelve months and a hundred dives.
Condition of use: instructor purpose (all king of diving programs).

 
System S.O.S. folded up, minimal dimensions
 
The S.O.S. replaces the rear valve and finds its place easily on the Wave (I do not know if it works with other brands than Seaquest).
The system is assembled on the BCD without tool, but requires a small handling at the level of the cylinder strap to make way for the binding rubber band.
Once the surface marker buoy is fully inflated, a bungee strap on the right shoulder is used to keep the verticality of the sausage.
 
The clip does not bring any annoyance in diving
 
The fabric is made out of polyurethane, similar to the fabric used for the “tech” surface marker buoy (with purge). After eleven months of use, some clear spots appeared. When the sausage is enfolded, a very small surface of the fabric is not protected from the sun light.
 
System fully deployed
 
The opening requires three steps: pull down a ring to release the surface marker buoy, inflate completely the buoyancy control device and clip the bungee strap of the sausage on the right shoulder. When the rear valve is over pressured, it lets go the air inside the surface marker buoy. It is possible to deflate the jacket (lucky us!) once the sausage is completely inflated, a one way valve keeps the air in it.
 
Acceptable visual performances
 
Remained to check the visibility… On the left side of the picture, the S.O.S. surface marker buoy, on the right side a normal surface marker buoy with purge. Their heights are equal at the water surface (1 metre). The diameter of the S.O.S (23cm) is smaller than the surface marker buoy “Tech” one from Aqualung (diameter 30cm).

Once the system is used, it is enfolded and preferably out of water… Inside rinsing of the SMB (surface marker buoy) is done through the rear valve.

Pros:
- Utility of the device if necessary
- Compactness

Cons:
- One must be use to the bungee strap catch (behind the shoulder)
- The fold back is done out of water.


From a user point of view, the system appears to be of good manufacture. It does not replace a surface marker buoy for deco, but will always be there if needed, not to mention an emergency. Item to be recommended especially for drift diving, diving area with current, live aboard holidays…
I needed to operated it only once beside the trials, where I used it at the same time as my deco surface marker buoy. The sea turned rough during a drift dive, and I wanted to be sure that the boat finds us. I will leave the device on my current BCD and, for sure on the next one…

And to recommend it for the use describes in the video, unfortunately we do not own a camera of that size!