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self-contained inflating life vest?

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
It can take a long time to get an up-to-date response or contact with relevant users.
donmoore

donmoore

New Member
Aug 19, 2002
958
154
0
62
reply to Roland

Roland,
I like your thoughts and your politeness. You’re a good example of how to communicate and not always agree with without being rude.

I’m thinking of trying to do something with the self-inflating life vest concept this winter when freediving is basically over in my area. By then I will have took my first course and know more about it. I am really just a beginner, although I have been scuba certified for some years.

There are two to choices to make. The first is which aftermarket vest to use and the second is what type of trigger device. I think it would only make sense to use an after market vest since they have been produced and refined for about 10 years now. I found one that sounds like it is built real good and it has a pressure relief valve. It is called SeaMax, but its expensive and not massed produce, and when I called the company the woman who answered said the man responsible for it was no longer there and directed me to someone else who did not seem to have much knowledge about it.

The SOSpenders product has been out for several years and is the number one seller. It does not have a pressure release valve, which will limit its ability to inflate fully at depth, but I would think a CO2 cartridge that fills it at surface would give some lift at any depth a constant ballast free diver can go. And since most SWB happen in shallow water on the ascent it should provide a lot of lift then. It’s real easy to get parts for them. They are sold at two boating stores in my area.

For the trigger device, I am leaning toward a total mechanical one, for two reasons. The sophistication of electronic devices coupled to a mechanical one and making it hold up in the salt water, is beyond my ability. I’m not an electronic engineer. Second, a total mechanical device maybe more fool proof.

The only thing I can think of is a handgernade type devise that would basically be a lever that you held shut and in the case of a SWB your hand would relax causing the lever to open and a spring would pull a cable pulling the lever of the CO2 activator. This of course is not without some negative complication, mainly the loss of use of the hand.

My speargun works best when I can hold the butt with my freehand. I had originally thought of incorporating the lever on my speargun handle, but I have realized that I take my hand of the handle often to and hold it more in the middle of the barrel for efficient on descents. I’m thinking of the one or two finger bicycle brake levers that are designed with cams to greatly multiply the force. This would give me a few free fingers and it is already designed to use with a cable. All the parts are mostly made out of aluminum and stainless. A pin method to hold it shut when not using it would be necessary.

I can think of lots of complication from not having the full use of the free hand. Such as exiting and boarding the boat, removing or putting back the safety on the gun, corralling a struggling fish, etc.. It would be much easier if I was not spearfishing and just freediving like you do.
Don
 
immerlustig

immerlustig

BlueSkunk
Aug 17, 2002
597
90
118
54
another question

i was just thinking of the general design of that vest (not the inflating device). i wonder how bulky that thing would be and how much drag in the water you get. from scubadiving even a good fitting bcd will move around on your body if you go upsidedown or roll and twist.

the feeling when freediving of having nothing on you and the ease of movement i wouldn´t want to lose with a freediving jacket.

i think incorporating an inflation vest into a suit (to get it streamlined) would probably be a difficult task.
i remember though some photos of nolimit divers coming up with exactly that. sort of an inflatable suit.

but i´ve never met anybody or heard anything about how that suit is. it´s probably only manufactured in small numbers for competitors, but then again so much stuff comes from extreme sports.

comments anyone?

roland
 
B

Bond

Active Member
May 5, 2012
3
0
36
Hello Bill!
Thanks for your great review of FRV, I am sure it is a fantastic thing. However price tag is over my budget. Of course you cannot argue that the price is nothing comparing to the fact that we "only have one life to give"... and I have no arguments against it.
But I am thinking about some kind of compromise, I had exactly same idea as donmoore, quote from his post: "simple idea, wear an inflatable life preserver, like the marine suspender ones, with CO2 cartridges or other air cylinders and inflate if you are feeling iffy on your assent."

And I am curious if any one have tried it? Pros and cons?


Thanks,
Alex

P.S. Bill, I hope you will dive at least until 102! :)
 
S

stingaree

Member
Sep 6, 2009
52
3
23
It would be great to see this device hitting the mainstream market for at least half of its current price ...
 
Bill McIntyre

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
3,511
1,237
368
83
It would be great to see this device hitting the mainstream market for at least half of its current price ...

It would, but I doubt it will happen. I think he is barely covering his cost of production as it is.
 
A

Antoine

New Member
May 9, 2012
99
10
0
I agree with Roland.

I scuba dive but the reason I am currently getting into freediving is to avoid the endless gear which comes with scuba diving.
As soon as large amounts of gear or complex systems become involved in a certain sport, the logistics, costs and preparation times invariably increase.
In my view, the beauty which attracted me to freediving is its inherant simplicity - something which doesn't exist in any of the other sports I partake in. Therefore, the lifejacket you mention appears to me to be simply another peice of equipment which has the potential to fail, must be maintained and detracts from the simplicity of freediving. :)

However, I am always interested in cool new ideas! I think somebody mentioned the drag it would create if used.
I use these types of life jackets when I windsurf. To avoid it from flying around and potentially getting tangled up in something, I tuck it inside the top part of my two-peice wetsuit. The CO2 canister presses against my chest but it is not that uncomfortable. I have tested it to ensure that it inflates properly even under the wetsuit without any issues. The main problem I find is that it really stretches my suit and I feel as though Im being compressed quite hard. So for me in windsurfing, this system is only really a "last-resort".
If used in freediving under the wetsuit to minimise drag, several new problems arise. My windsurfing suit is far less tight or thick that my diving suit and therefore the jacket may have trouble inflating. Also this would cause the canister to press hard against the chest which would probably be quite uncomfortable.

Very interesting anyway! :)
 
B

Bond

Active Member
May 5, 2012
3
0
36
Thank you Antoine!
Yes, this fantastic feeling of freedom...
:)

Coming back to the subject, actually I never thought about wearing it under the wet suit, it is already too tight :) But what do you think, will it inflate under the water?
 
growingupninja

growingupninja

Lance (@socalspearit)
Mar 20, 2011
712
162
83
It would be great to see this device hitting the mainstream market for at least half of its current price ...

I got to meet Terry Maas and hear him speak recently. He is developing a new version of the FRV for the US Navy Seals but said it would be at least a few years minimum before the civilian version is on the market. It less computer dependent, more streamlined, and cheaper to manufacture. I think he said they were planning to give it some crossover functions for surfers and kayakers, and it would be sigficantly cheaper than the current model, which is very expensive to manufacture.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Antoine
A

Antoine

New Member
May 9, 2012
99
10
0
Thank you Antoine!
Yes, this fantastic feeling of freedom...
:)

Coming back to the subject, actually I never thought about wearing it under the wet suit, it is already too tight :) But what do you think, will it inflate under the water?

I didn't think about whether it would inflate underwater with both the pressure of the wetsuit and the water. I do think it would though. However, I am pretty convinced that inflating one under a wetsuit would be VERY uncomfortable!:)
 
azapa

azapa

51% freediver 49% spearo
Jan 31, 2007
2,623
473
123
55
i have had the frv for a year now and use it most times on the ocean when I am unsure of my buddies capacity (most times, unfortunately). From the second or third use it faded away into the background. I only really notice it when I am putting it on or taking it off, never in the water. I am very happy with the second chance it offers.
 
Apneaddict

Apneaddict

Well-Known Member
Sep 2, 2010
1,339
370
123
Roland,
I like your thoughts and your politeness. You’re a good example of how to communicate and not always agree with without being rude.

I’m thinking of trying to do something with the self-inflating life vest concept this winter when freediving is basically over in my area. By then I will have took my first course and know more about it. I am really just a beginner, although I have been scuba certified for some years.

There are two to choices to make. The first is which aftermarket vest to use and the second is what type of trigger device. I think it would only make sense to use an after market vest since they have been produced and refined for about 10 years now. I found one that sounds like it is built real good and it has a pressure relief valve. It is called SeaMax, but its expensive and not massed produce, and when I called the company the woman who answered said the man responsible for it was no longer there and directed me to someone else who did not seem to have much knowledge about it.

The SOSpenders product has been out for several years and is the number one seller. It does not have a pressure release valve, which will limit its ability to inflate fully at depth, but I would think a CO2 cartridge that fills it at surface would give some lift at any depth a constant ballast free diver can go. And since most SWB happen in shallow water on the ascent it should provide a lot of lift then. It’s real easy to get parts for them. They are sold at two boating stores in my area.

For the trigger device, I am leaning toward a total mechanical one, for two reasons. The sophistication of electronic devices coupled to a mechanical one and making it hold up in the salt water, is beyond my ability. I’m not an electronic engineer. Second, a total mechanical device maybe more fool proof.

The only thing I can think of is a handgernade type devise that would basically be a lever that you held shut and in the case of a SWB your hand would relax causing the lever to open and a spring would pull a cable pulling the lever of the CO2 activator. This of course is not without some negative complication, mainly the loss of use of the hand.

My speargun works best when I can hold the butt with my freehand. I had originally thought of incorporating the lever on my speargun handle, but I have realized that I take my hand of the handle often to and hold it more in the middle of the barrel for efficient on descents. I’m thinking of the one or two finger bicycle brake levers that are designed with cams to greatly multiply the force. This would give me a few free fingers and it is already designed to use with a cable. All the parts are mostly made out of aluminum and stainless. A pin method to hold it shut when not using it would be necessary.

I can think of lots of complication from not having the full use of the free hand. Such as exiting and boarding the boat, removing or putting back the safety on the gun, corralling a struggling fish, etc.. It would be much easier if I was not spearfishing and just freediving like you do.
Don

Careful of the manual release upon blackout idea....

I've heard a story about a solo Freediver at the bottom of a pool doing statics with a small balloon on a string, held between his thumb and forefinger.

The idea was that if the lifeguard saw the balloon surface without the diver, to jump in and save him.

Apparently He died at the bottom of the pool, blacked out, with the balloon still in his grasp. It was 5+ minutes later that he was found at the bottom - long gone.
 
Azrael3000

Azrael3000

Man with a custom title
Nov 5, 2011
315
56
68
Good point mate. You definitely need something that works completely independently of all user input. So some sort of computer is unavoidable imho. It needs to keep track of time/depth to decide when it needs to inflate.

Great news ninja that there will be a new version soon(ish) which will be more affordable.
 
Jouskari

Jouskari

Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2006
233
17
58
40
I´ve posted this in other threads also. But it would be great if someone had the possibility to try the spare air xtreme out.

Spare Air Xtreme Watersport Package

Ofcourse you'd have the risk of air embolism etc. and proper use would require training. But it still think the consept is pretty interesting.
 
growingupninja

growingupninja

Lance (@socalspearit)
Mar 20, 2011
712
162
83
Good point mate. You definitely need something that works completely independently of all user input. So some sort of computer is unavoidable imho. It needs to keep track of time/depth to decide when it needs to inflate.

The current vest as I understand it works more or less without any user input, however, if memory serves, the new model Terry described required you to do a simple check in with the vest as part of your surface protocol. I don't remember the exact specifics and it is still in design phases anyway. He said a big part of the challenge of the FRV was creating a mechanism that 'understands' the difference between swimming and diving and acts accordingly.
 
Bill McIntyre

Bill McIntyre

San Clemente, CA
Staff member
Forum Mentor
Jan 27, 2005
3,511
1,237
368
83
The current vest as I understand it works more or less without any user input, however, if memory serves, the new model Terry described required you to do a simple check in with the vest as part of your surface protocol. I don't remember the exact specifics and it is still in design phases anyway. He said a big part of the challenge of the FRV was creating a mechanism that 'understands' the difference between swimming and diving and acts accordingly.

The current vest does require user input of trigger depth and time.
 
azapa

azapa

51% freediver 49% spearo
Jan 31, 2007
2,623
473
123
55
i have a general setting set to my general ability level. Most dive days I won't have to touch these, but If i am tired I will reduce. On the otherhand, if I am feeling good I can adjust for longer/deeper dives, this is done from the wrist unit in the water (before the dive, of course).
 
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