2012 is 'The Year Of The Rebreather'

Christian Heylen, General Manager of PURE Red Sea (Professional Underwater Rebreather Explorers) will be exhibiting at Rebreather Forum 3.  We asked him why he’s taking part in this event.

Christian Heylen, PURE Rebreather College, Rebreather Forum 3, RF3, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Rosemary E Lunn, RF3 Exhibitor, Red Sea rebreathers, rebreather friendly resort, Poseidon, Poseidon rebreather, DAN, Thermal physiology, US Coastguard, CCR fatalities, Divers Alert Network, PADI, AAUS, PADI Rebreather courses“2012 is definitely the year of the rebreather revolution and RF3 is the rebreather event to be at in 2012.  There’s no way I’m missing this!  Divers are coming to the Orlando conference from every corner of the world, to listen to the latest developments and most up to date information on rebreather diving.  As the specialized rebreather operator in the Red Sea, there is no better opportunity for us to present our services to those divers looking for dedicated and exclusive rebreather diving in one of the best diving spots of the world.

Why do I consider 2012 to be ‘the year of the rebreather’?  Until recently rebreathers were considered a piece of technical equipment for experienced divers.  Today rebreather technology has developed to a level where new divers can now dive safely on a rebreather, ie the Poseidon Discovery MK-VI.

Before manufactures were trying to make their units as advanced as possible for deep trimix and cave diving.  Now they are looking to make their units as simple, foolproof and safe as possible.  This will mean there will be big changes in the rebreather world and this is probably the reason that 2012 is the year of RF3 too!  We are in for a very exciting time.

I’m looking forward to the networking, seeing good friends and making new business contacts.  However being a passionate rebreather diver I’m also hoping to find new opportunities to explore new places around the world with my rebreather.

Christian Heylen, PURE Rebreather College, PURE diving, Tek Diving, rebreather friendly resort, sorb, The Underwater Marketing Company, Rosemary E Lunn, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, Rebreather Forum 3, RF3, rebreather conference, PADI, DAN, AAUS, Thermal physiology, Peter Denoble, Richard D Vann, Dick Vann, Dr Richard Vann, Neal PollockI also want to know everything the manufactures are planning and the new stuff coming out.  That promises to be very exciting.  And personally as a rebreather diver I want to learn about all the latest upgrades I can put onto my rebreather for my own deep diving and expeditions.  RF3 is going to be an excellent place to source new places, centres, boats and destinations to dive.

With rebreather diving becomes more mainstream, more dive centres, instructors and professionals are going to be involved with this aspect of diving.  It will all make it far easier to take your breather on holiday with you.  The logistics will be sorted and there will be breather friendly facilities in far-flung places with sorb, cylinders and oxygen fills etc. 

With so many topics being presented by many renowned experts in their fields I know this is going to be something special.  There are going to be great presentations by DAN, (Thermal Physiology, OC and CCR Fatalities, and Coastguard Investigations).  And I’m also looking forward to the Rebreathing Testing, Scrubber Technology and CO2 monitoring talks.”

If you want to join Christian Heylen at Rebreather Forum 3, it’s time to book your ticket for Rebreather Forum 3.  Log onto www.rf30.org for full details.

What's Rebreather Forum 3 all about? Neal W Pollock explains

“The main aim of RF3 is to evaluate the state of the art”, stated Dr Neal W Pollock, DAN’s Research Director and one of the organisers behind RF3.  “In a nutshell the theme of RF3 is to improve understanding, which we hope will translate to improved safety across the board.  We can always do things better.  So it is a rationality check to see if we can make things safer.

Rebreather Forum 3, RF3, Rubicon Foundation, DAN, Divers Alert Network, Research Director, Neal W Pollock, Neal Pollock, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, AAUS, PADI, Rebreather safety, Simon Mitchell, Jill Heinerth, APD, Ambient Pressure Diving, Martin Parker, Cognitas, Incident reporting, diving safety, BSAC Incident ReportWe’re therefore going to assess the current situation re manufacturing, testing, training and diving protocols to check that we are doing this as safely as we can, and highlight areas that need improving so that we can move forward.  Hence we’ve convened this Conference to put a lot of opinions into the room, rather than relying on a set of interpretations from one particular organization or company.  Doing it this way allows us to pull together all the different views and we then analyse the results through one lens.

The training agencies all say we are doing it right, so therefore why do we still have a number of fatalities every year?  At RF3 we intend to be as honest as we can about issues and address every one of them.  This may sound to some divers that we are suggesting current standards are dangerous.  We are not.  Our ethos is more along the lines of ‘how can we do it better and safer’?

So why will RF3 be useful to the Industry?  When you understand where something is failing; be it manufacturing, training or diving protocols, then everyone benefits from knowing how failures can occur.  Then we can see and evaluate how to successfully improve performance.”

You can be part of this important peer review, just log onto www.rf30.org, check out the agenda and book your tickets to the most significant rebreather conference this decade; Rebreather Forum 3.  You’ll kick yourself if you miss it!

Join an Innovative and Exciting Team @ Fourth Element

Fourth Element are on the look out for new talent and they currently have two vacancies;

Junior Designer for Web

Salary: 16 - 20k (Depending on Experience)

Fourth Element, Jim Standing, Thermal Underwear, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, thermal stress, lightweight luggage, Halo 3D, Xerotherm, Arctic, wetsuitWe are currently looking for a graphic designer with web experience to join the team at Fourth Element. The role involves a wide variety of tasks covering everything from advertising, marketing, print graphics, design for web and social media. The successful candidate would ideally have a basic knowledge of design for web. This represents a fantastic opportunity for someone with limited knowledge to get hands on experience and training in website design, coding, marketing and management. Training and mentoring will be available through the UCP programme to help develop knowledge and skills in key areas for the successful candidate.

For more information and to apply, visit the UCP website here: Unlocking Cornish Potential

UK Sales Manager

Salary: 20 - 25k, OTE 35K plus Company Car or Car allowance

Location: Head Office: Mullion and UK Regional Sales

Fourth Element, post dive wear, diving clothing, Jim Standing, Rosemary Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, diving threads, diving tshirt, Fantastic opportunity to join a dynamic company that is showing significant expansion in the UK and overseas. Fourth Element has established itself as the worldwide market leader in Scuba Diving thermal protection and clothing, producing a range of high performance thermal solutions for recreational and professional scuba divers throughout the world, including neoprene wetsuits, drysuit underwear and a casual clothing range.

The successful candidate will visit dive stores throughout the UK and Ireland, to show new products and to encourage sales. This will require on average approx 10 days every month to be on the road and the remaining time working from the head office located at Higher Bochym, Nr Mullion. The successful applicant will inherit an active customer list, but will be expected to open and develop new business throughout the UK.

The position would suit a qualified and active Scuba Diver although this is not essential. Sales promotional activities such as attending dive shows and 'demo' days over a small number of weekends throughout the year will form a critical part of the job role.

Please apply in writing to : Jim Standing, Fourth Element Ltd, Higher Bochym, Helston, TR12 7AZ.

Going underground at TEKCamp 2012

With preparations for TEKCamp 2012 moving ahead at full speed, details are leaking out about what promises to be a bigger and better event than ever before!

Kicking off on the 9th July, TEKCamp 2012 will see attendees getting involved in a range of exciting activities and talks. The highlight of the event promises to be an exclusive ‘out of hours’ field trip to the amazing show caves at Wookey Hole with CDG cave diver, Dr Duncan Price. Duncan will be taking TEKCamp attendees on a fascinating history of cave diving in Wookey as they explore these world-class show caves for themselves. Prepare to be gob-smacked by the breath-taking beauty of these amazing caves - but watch out for the Wookey witch!

TEKCamp, Rich Walker, Vobster Quay, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Mark Powell, Paul Toomer, Martin Robson, Phil Short, Duncan Price, Wookey Hole, skills, buoyancy control, D-SMB, British diving, UK Diving, diving skills, Kevin Gurr, rebreathersTEKCamp 2012 is a unique opportunity to 'speed date' ten of the UK's foremost technical diving instructors at Vobster Quay in Somerset. Over five solid days, attendees will participate in a series of in-water skills development and coaching sessions, lectures and talks - all designed to give divers a unique opportunity to develop and improve their diving skills and knowledge under the guidance and coaching of some of the UK's foremost technical instructors. Some of the biggest names in technical diving will be giving attendees the benefit of their considerable knowledge - names already committed to the event include Martin Robson, Phil Short, Paul Toomer, Rich Walker and Mark Powell.

For recreational and budding technical divers alike, TEKCamp 2012 offers a unique opportunity to improve your skills and increase your diving confidence under the direct guidance of some of the UK's foremost technical instructors. Buoyancy control need work? Finning technique less than efficient? Wish you could pop up a DSMB mid-water without losing control? TEKCamp 2012 will fine tune these skills and more...

Attendees can look forward to a packed schedule of talks throughout the week covering a broad range of diving subjects. The talks schedule is still being finalised but attendees can already look forward to...

• MONDAY 9TH - Acclaimed cave diver John Volanthen will be presenting a fascinating talk on the expedition to dive the cave system at Pozo Azul in Spain. John and other team members managed to set a new record for the worlds longest cave diving penetration, covering a distance of over 9 km!

• TUESDAY 10TH - Ever-popular rebreather cave expert Phil Short will be headlining Tuesday evening. Phil will be giving a talk entitled '20 Years in Diving: The good, the bad and the ugly'. If Phil's previous talks are anything to go by, this one is sure to be packed with seat-of-your-pants anecdotes and humour!

• WEDNESDAY 11TH - Fancy a field trip? On Wednesday night, TEKCamp attendees will be heading down to Wookey Hole for a guided tour of the stunning show caves lead by none other than CDG explorer, Dr Duncan Price. This promises to be the highlight of the week so don't miss out!

TEKCamp, Vobster Quay, Duncan Price, Wookey Hole, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, Phil Short, Kevin Gurr, Rich Walker, Mark Powell, Martin Robson, diving skills, twinset course, stage handling, DSMB deployment, line laying, tech rescue

• THURSDAY 12TH - Pioneering technical diver and rebreather guru Kevin Gurr will be returning to TEKCamp 2012 to give another fabulous talk. Marking the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Kevin will be taking attendees on a journey to the world’s most famous wreck. Recounting his own dive to the RMS Titanic onboard the MIR submersible, wreck dives don’t get much bigger than this!

• FRIDAY 13TH - Friday night is party night at TEKCamp 2012 will a celebratory hog roast to mark the end of another very successful event. The instructing team will be in attendance, giving attendees the opportunity to rub shoulders and chat with some of the biggest names in diving. We'll also be running our raffle with prizes galore up for grabs!

Tickets for TEKCamp 2012 are selling fast with over 80% already snapped up but there's still time to get yours. Two ticket options are available offering either five or nine training sessions over the course of five days. For more information on booking options, visit www.tekcamp.co.uk

Are we there yet? Rebreather technology for recreational divers by Dr Petar Denoble

RF3, Rebreather Forum 3, Karl Shreeves, Richard Pyle, TUMC, The  Underwater Marketing Company, Roz Lunn, Rosemary E Lunn, Neal Pollock, Drew Richardson, Kevin Gurr, Phil Short, Jill Heinerth, Martin Parker, APD, Petar Denoble, Richard Vann, Rebreather Forum 2, Michael Menduno, Yochanan I. Daskalovic, DAN, PADI, AAUS, Douglas Ebersole,

"In the future, you'll simply jump into your car, turn on the Internet, turn on a movie and sit back and relax and turn on the automatic pilot, and the car will drive itself," says Michiko Kaku in his book Physics of the Future. "Unlike a human driver, it doesn't get drunk, it doesn't get distracted and certainly does not have road rage."

Even though driverless cars are not yet commercially available, driving a car is a simple process with all of the complex technology hidden from the user. Today's rebreather technology is a few steps behind, but it may be catching up.

Sixteen years ago diving scientists, manufacturers, divers, training agencies and regulators met for three days at Rebreather Forum 2.0 (RF2.0), in Redondo Beach, Calif., to discuss the future of "sport rebreather diving." At the time, at least one dozen rebreather models had appeared on the market, some of which were there to stay. The market was minuscule, and training opportunities were practically nonexistent. The consumer base consisted of about 100 brave, knowledgeable divers who recognized they could achieve more in their respective fields using rebreathers but at the cost of more work, money and risk than average divers were ready to commit.

RF2.0 reviewed the physiology of rebreather diving and the enabling technology, including the risks and needed enhancements if sport rebreather diving became popular. The findings and recommendations of RF2.0 emphasized the complexity of closed-circuit rebreathers (CCR), a need for technical support and better control of insidious risks including hypoxia, hyperoxia and hypercapnia. Additional safety issues were also noted such as a "caustic cocktail," an unanticipated variation in the partial pressure of nitrogen, thermal considerations and mechanical or electronic failures. Some technological advances were explicitly required, like full-face masks to prevent drowning in case of unconsciousness and an on-board carbon dioxide monitor to prevent carbon dioxide poisoning. Third party pre-marketing testing was advised, but standards were not proposed.

When compared to open-circuit scuba, rebreathers required significant ongoing maintenance and support to function properly; the consensus among the forum attendees was that rebreathers were suited for the technically savvy rather than the average diver. Military divers have successfully managed the risks of using rebreathers with resources not available in sport diving, including the use of a large supporting infrastructure, a high degree of discipline and extensive formal training.

Changing Tides: RF2.0 to RF3

Dr. Richard Pyle describes the experience of a self-taught rebreather diver best: "After my first 10 hours on a rebreather, I was a real expert. Another 40 hours of dive time later, I considered myself a novice. When I had completed about 100 hours of rebreather diving, I realized I was only just a beginner."

He did, however, provide a few survival tips for new rebreather divers:

    1. Know your partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) at all times; do not trust "fail-safe electronics."
    2. Learn, in depth, diving physics and physiology.
    3. Training should emphasize failure detection, manual control and bailout procedures.
    4. Cover your ass (have a back-up).

The experiences and tips of Dr. Pyle and his peers became the basis for development of formal training for technical rebreather divers.

But there were additional challenges for the trainers. According to Karl Shreeves, technical development executive for PADI worldwide, before the training agency could consider the instructional system, it was necessary to determine who the customers would be and how they would use rebreathers. PADI considered rebreather diving a niche not of interest to mainstream recreational divers at the time, but recognized the trend could change at any point. Indeed, a lot has changed; rebreather technology has improved, some training agencies have started offering instruction and the number of users has increased from hundreds to tens of thousands.

The fatalities have also risen accordingly to more than 20 per year, or more than 190 in the sixteen years since RF2.0. Not all of these fatalities were rebreather-specific, but all analyses indicate operator-machine interaction played a major role in it. It's an interaction that must be acknowledged, understood and made as safe as possible. Dietmar Luchtenberg of Europe's Rebreather Advisory Board said, "We can't get rid of safety issues in rebreather diving by [only] increasing technology standards." He emphasized the need and challenge of eliminating the factor of human error to enhance diver safety. After RF2.0, there was also a consensus about the significance of the human factor in the safety of rebreathers; the suggested approach seemed to be to develop a reasonably safe device and shift the residual risk to the users.

The full article is available here at AlertDiverOnline, the magazine for Divers Alert Network