Last Day For Portland Coastguard SAR

Portland search and rescue helicopter, Dorset SAR, Lee On Solent Chopper, Richard Drax, dive safety, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving safety

After more than two decades in service the Portland Coastguard search and rescue helicopter will today - Friday 30th June 2017 - cease operations, despite more than 100,000 people signing a petition to try to keep it open.

The Portland SAR helicopter base has performed rescues across the South West since 1995. The closure has come about because the MCA is being restructured, with a fleet of search and rescue helicopters operating from 10 bases.

The South Dorset MP Richard Drax had also spoken out against the closure of the base, "I watch their departure still very much with regret.”

There is little good news because Heli Operations (a company supplying trained helicopter personnel to companies worldwide) will be taking over the the Portland helicopter base site at Osprey Quay from tomorrow, 1st July 2017. This should mean that the base can provide a refuelling facility for the search and rescue helicopter.

Portland search and rescue helicopter, Dorset SAR, Lee On Solent Chopper, Richard Drax, dive safety, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving safety

The nearest SAR will now be located at the new £20m-helicopter base at Lee-on-Solent in Hampshire. The MCA has reported this is 15 minutes flying time from Portland.

The Portland area will also have back-up from helicopters in Cornwall and South Wales.

 

Rebreather Divers Grateful For Henderson's List

Gordon Henderson, CCR, Inspiration List, Martin Parker, Nicky Finn, AP Diving, Geraint Ffoulkes-Jones, Sally Cartwright, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, closed circuit rebreather safety

At the end of May 2017 AP Diving's Managing Director - Martin Parker - issued a statement on the Inspiration List.

"Gordon Henderson is retiring his Inspiration Users List after 19 years. I don’t think this milestone should pass without acknowledging the role of Gordon’s Inspiration List for CCRs generally: It has been a fundamental part of the way the sport diving world has learned about closed circuit rebreathers, procedures and rebreather safety."

Gordon Henderson was an early adopter of the Inspiration Rebreather and a gifted IT specialist. When he placed an order for the "just launched" Inspo in 1998, Henderson immediately recognised the need for Inspiration owners to be able to communicate freely, and set up the Inspiration List using his Drogon email system. (Social media didn't exist at the time and forums were pretty basic).

The resulting Inspiration List provided certified AP rebreather users with immediate multi-way communication and the ability to discuss issues, and share experiences with other CCR divers because “no knowledge or a little knowledge can kill you”.

"Why we don’t use Lithium Hydroxide, …..the idea for monitoring the thermal process in the scrubber came from list member discussions, ….understanding the effect of depth on the scrubber, …best decompression practices, ….best gas choices are just some of the topics that were put to bed."
Martin Parker

Gordon Henderson, CCR, Inspiration List, Martin Parker, Nicky Finn, AP Diving, Geraint Ffoulkes-Jones, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, closed circuit rebreather safety, Sally Cartwright, SAA Chairman, Bluebird Project
Early Inspiration adopter and wreck explorer Sally Cartwright checks her handsets

"As a new Inspo diver (15 months now), lemme [sic] register my regards and gratitude to Gordon for doing this good work. A list like this is critical to safe, independent customer development and education, and it's good to see that the factory agrees."
Ken Blakely

"This forum has proven to be the single most valuable education tool for the both of us to learn to dive more safely and knowledgeably. Time and again real nuggets of information from many contributors have enable us to learn more about our breathers and diving in general that we would not have otherwise learned."
M
arc & Phyllis Dennis

Martin Parker also stated that if it wasn't for Gordon's involvement, the Inspiration List would have been dropped.

"I realised that quite a few of the subscribers enjoy this form of communication and if there is something important for the factory to say, it’s a good way of reaching people quickly." Martin Parker

The Inspiration List also inspired other divers to set up valuable resources, including Jan Willem Bech's "The Rebreather Site'.

We are pleased to report that Andrew Last has kindly taken up the Inspiration List mantle.

Thank you Gordon for your exceptional service. It has been appreciated by so many CCR divers.

I'll leave the last word to wreck explorer Geraint Ffoulkes-Jones.

"The true legacy of all your excellent work just cannot be measured, because it is the number of lives your valuable Inspo and general CCR information sharing source has saved over countless years, and thankfully we will never know the true extent."

 

 

Aqua Lung Shot FX Fins

Aqua Lung state their Shot FX fins are an innovative design that helps provide a powerful, yet comfortable kick.

There are definite physiological differences between men and women when it comes to key pieces of equipment - suits, BCD's, gloves - but does this also include fins? In writing this piece we have not been able to find any formal research into male and female fins and how each sex kicks during scuba diving. (Perhaps this might make a good PHd research project?).

Aqua Lung, Aqualung, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, XRay Mag, X-Ray Magazine, Shot FX Fins, Twilight, scuba diving fins, female diving equipment, girls scuba kit
The Shot FX fins are part of the new 'Details' collection from Aqua Lung. This equipment range was specifically designed for females by an international team of female divers and water enthusiasts.

What we do know is that women have wider hips and these affect the centre of gravity, it is lower in women. We generally have shorter legs and shorter stride lengths. In the main women enjoy a greater range of joint movement and flexibility than men.

So where does that leave us when it comes to buying fins? We need something that works efficiently, but surely that is the wish of all divers?

Aqua Lung state the Shot FX Fin foot pocket has a customised inner sole designed to anchor the foot, preventing power from the boot moving laterally during the power stroke, resulting in maximum energy transmission.

The blade is shorter and softer when compared with other fins, making it easier to kick. And performance has been enhanced by adding an elastic blade insert. Apparently this creates a “spoon effect” that pushes more water with each down stroke.

Thought has also been given to the straps and Aqua Lung have realised just how popular technical spring straps are proving with the majority of divers. The Shot FX fins are fitted with metal spring straps and a soft heel lug, that help make donning and doffing much easier.

This visually attractive fin is proving to be popular with both sexes, and is available in Twilight and Arctic White.

Link to manufacturer or source: Aqua Lung

First Published: X-Ray MagazineSeptember 2013, Issue 56, Page 58