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Research on Beginner Spearfishers

mrodr1020

New Member
Feb 12, 2019
5
2
3
21
Miami, FL
Hello everyone!

My name is Michael Rodriguez and I am studying Computer Engineering with a concentration on Engineering Entrepreneurship. I am doing some research on spear fishers and was wondering if you guys could answer these questions for me. I would greatly appreciate if you could answer most, if not all of the questions I ask and if you do not agree with the questions let me know your feedback on why not.

  1. Do you consider yourself a beginner spear fisher?
  2. Why do you consider yourself one?
  3. Do you face any problems when you go fishing?
  4. Have you ever been fined for catching an illegal fish?
  5. Are you aware of all the regulations when spearfishing?
  6. Would you be for or against a device that tells spear-fisherman whether they can shoot a fish or not?
  7. What is your idea of how that device would look like?
  8. What else would you want that device to do?
  9. If you are a frequent spear fisher, what do you think would be good features on a device like this and how can it be improved?
Again, thank you to all who respond and help me out in my research!!!
 

Kodama

Active Member
Jun 20, 2016
280
93
43
Belgium - California
www.eastwind.be
I am not a beginner freediver and I am certainly not in favor of such a device for beginner spearfisherman.
My reasoning is simple. Especially in this age where people rely on technological devices it is ever more important that you learn to identify species by your own judgment!! To become a n aware spearo that is in tune with his environment recognizing fish species is a very critical skill.

Here is my advice for any beginner or aspiring spearo.

FOCUS ON SKILLS NOT ON GEAR!
There is much more to say about it but that is basically the essence.
 
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mrodr1020

New Member
Feb 12, 2019
5
2
3
21
Miami, FL
Thank you so much for your feedback!! I have received from other interviews a mix of responses and usually the more experienced people suggest the same thing. I understand your point of view and can understand what you are trying to say.
 
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Kodama

Active Member
Jun 20, 2016
280
93
43
Belgium - California
www.eastwind.be
Thank you so much for your feedback!! I have received from other interviews a mix of responses and usually the more experienced people suggest the same thing. I understand your point of view and can understand what you are trying to say.
Good to hear you understand my point of view.

Nonetheless I wish you the best with your project.
I can imagine some other technological innovations that spearos may have a need for.
For example a social network that is easy to use and where you can select on location to find like minded spearos or freedivers. Either for training or spearfishing. Combined with a function to find instructors or courses.

Good quality education is what makes the difference in the end.
 
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Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
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San Clemente, CA
  1. I’m not a beginner.
  2. N/A
  3. Of course. Some days the ocean is rough. Some days the visibility is poor. Every day I’m 80 years old.
  4. No
  5. Regulations in California are too numerous to know, but I try to be aware of all that pertain to the species I hunt in the area where I dive.
  6. Perhaps I lack imaginitation and am a technical Luddite but I can’t imagine how such a device would be possible. I’ll use California White Sea bass as an example. Minimum side is 28 inches. Could a device measure a fish at different distances. In very poor visibility it can be hard to differentiate a large White Sea bass from a small Black Sea bass and it’s illegal to shoot Black Sea bass. I’ve come very close to pulling the trigger on a blacks a few times. Could a device handle that decision. The take limit on whites is three fish except that from March 15 through June 15 it’s one fish. I suppose a device could have a built in calendar but could it know I already shot one fish that day and tell me not to shoot another one. There are numerous Marine Protected Areas in Southern California. It’s legal to shoot White Sea bass in some but illegal in others. Will the device know when I swim into one of the areas and what the rules are in that area.
And all that is just for one species. In some states they have slot limits for particular fish. It has to be over a minimum size but under a maximum size. And numerous other regulation that I’m not even thinking of.

I’d advise picking another project.
 
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mrodr1020

New Member
Feb 12, 2019
5
2
3
21
Miami, FL
You've opened up an idea for me to talk to my team about.
Thank you for your POV and constructive criticism you have been a great help Kodama.
Best regards!
 
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mrodr1020

New Member
Feb 12, 2019
5
2
3
21
Miami, FL
Thank you for the insight Bill, I will take your response to my team to talk to them about your feedback. It was greatly appreciated! Both you and Kodama gave me some really good insight.
 

Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
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Sunny Britain
I generally suggest that spearos keep things simple. Simplicity offers many benefits.

A device that would be useful already exists and I believe Bill was a pioneer in this area: an emergency floatation device for spearos and freedivers. I believe Bill's was manual but Spearing pioneer Terry Maas has developed a clever automatic flotation vest, which I believe Bill uses. However it is expensive, about $1000, I think. Hard for many to afford/justify (but how much is your life worth?)
If you could come up with a cheaper solution - perhaps a cheaper way to implement the electronics or make it simpler or smaller - that could be a real "game changer". More divers would buy it and lives would be saved - very worthwhile. The cheaper it can be sold, the more divers will buy it. Under £200 could make it mainstream, basic equipment used by most spearos.

Perhaps you could partner with Terry Maas's company to develop and produce it? I am sure they have accumulated a wealth of expertise in this area. I expect they have ideas on potential improvements too, which they may not have time/resources to pursue. They might welcome some "young blood" with new ideas and new skills.

Alternatively add value to the existing flotation device. E.g. display and log depth/ down time. I.e dive computer functionality.
 

Kodama

Active Member
Jun 20, 2016
280
93
43
Belgium - California
www.eastwind.be
I am reading a lot of good suggestions.

Fish recognition is very important part of spearfishing skills I just don’t believe we should rely on a device to do the identification for us. However You could come up with a learning tool than would teach spearos to recognize fish by their outline and behavior. Maybe in the form of a game of some sort? Just trowing out some ideas that come to my mind.
 
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mrodr1020

New Member
Feb 12, 2019
5
2
3
21
Miami, FL
I had mainly received feedback from beginners before posting on this forum, and now that I have this new insight from more experienced spearos I must say I can see my team pivoting from using a device to catch fish into something else. Such as a networking device to get in touch with other spearos or a learning tool instead for beginners, maybe even an easier cheaper alternative to the flotation device.
 

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
3,093
885
218
80
San Clemente, CA
I don’t think it will be easy to develop a cheaper device with the cabilities of the Freedive Recovery Vest. There are years of research and development behind it. It started at $1500 many years ago and is down to $995 in the latest version, probably because a version has been adopted by the US military special ops which finally permits volume sales. Check out the details yourself but it has sophisticated electronics that cause it to inflate if you exceed your user selected depth or time, or if you sink right after surfacing. But if you dropped a gun or had a boat trying to run you down you can over ride that by pressing a button etc etc. I won’t dive without it. The price is definitely an obstacle but then many people who say that own multiple big spearguns that cost more than the vest. If you can make something that is cheaper and that works as well more power too you, but it won’t be easy.
 
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Mr. X

Forum Mentor
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jul 14, 2005
7,026
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Sunny Britain
It's ok Bill, we get it :) I thought "auto-correct" as I read it.

I suppose mass production could be risky for such a specialised market. But I am optimistic. Electronics & sensors become cheaper & better over time. Materials are getting cheaper/stronger/lighter. Components can now be laser cut/3-D printed/hydro-formed/moulded/grown/etc.
Perhaps repurposing some existing off- the-shelf components could help reduce costs.

Also, there maybe opportunity for simplification. For example, only triggering on down-time and not depth for the low cost version. Non MIL-spec materials/construction, dare I suggest manufacture in a lower-cost country for the low cost, mass market version? (Not a fan of transferring jobs abroad unnecessarily but it has become a common option). Perhaps regional manufacture, as shipping costs & duty charges have become significant and often excessive.

Perhaps it could do "double duty" by, for example, incorporating it into a camo weight vest or by incorporating dive computer functionality, as already suggested. If built into a weight vest, then perhaps some weights could be released, reducing the amount of lift required.

I'm getting quite enthused by the possibility!
 
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Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
3,093
885
218
80
San Clemente, CA
Funny that you mention dive computer functionality since the original version had it. It was refilled from a 3000 psi scuba bottle. A wire ran down your left arm, covered by a nylon sleeve, to a wrist computer that told you tank pressure along with every function that I’ve ever seen on a dive computer and then some. I can’t even recall what was available but I think you could see a graph of your previous dive. But that made it more cumbersome to put on and take off and of course you had to be on a boat with a scuba bottle if you wanted a refill. Subsequent versions use CO2 cylinders and are much lighter and more streamlined but you have to bring your own computer:

I was fortunate to go out on Terry Maas’s boat and try that original version before he started marketing it. I tried all four ways to cause inflation and he had to fill it from a scuba bottle each time.

I know that he started marketing a version for big wave surfers who get held down, and think I read something about offering just the mechanism to companies that wanted to incorporate it inside a wetsuit for surfers.
 
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