CMAS Compressor Operator certification card

Compressor operator course

Tony, Kate and I recently completed the theory portion of the CMAS (here’s the South African branch) compressor operator course at False Bay Underwater Club (FBUC). The theory component involved a 2 and a half hour lecture delivered by a CMAS instructor, and a written (no multiple choice!) exam. The manual was written by Peter Southwood, the local wikitravel guru.

Operating a compressor is reasonably simple: there’s a well-defined sequence of actions that need to be performed on start up and shut down, as well as constant monitoring of the compressor during the filling process. Some compressors require bleeding off of accumulated moisture and residual oil throughout the filling process. As long as one is circumspect regarding which cylinders one agrees to fill, it is a safe activity.

Turns out in South Africa (and elsewhere) compressor operation and standards are heavily regulated. Given that compressed air cylinders are used in a range of life-critical applications such as fire fighting and scuba diving, this makes good sense.

The practical portion of the course requires us each to perform 20 cylinder fills, including a number of compressor start ups and shut downs. This must be completed within a year of doing the theory component, and signed off. I expect that getting my hands on a compressor and actually doing the fills myself will clarify a lot of the questions I had, and bring those schematic diagrams in the notes to life!

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Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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