Tony, Cecil and SMB on the surface after the North Paw dive

Skills: Deploying an SMB

Carrying an SMB (surface marker buoy) and knowing how to inflate it are vital skills for any diver, and particularly for divers who dive in demanding conditions that may include cold water, currents, and sites that are either far offshore or in areas where there may be a lot of boat traffic. Does that sound like Cape Town? Good, I mean it to.

We’ve posted before about how to inflate an SMB, and videos are ten a penny on youtube, but here’s one filmed in fairly common Cape Town conditions. It’s of Tony inflating an SMB that is so large he calls it his sea anchor, in murky green visibility in the Atlantic ocean. This particular SMB is also slightly negatively buoyant, which is slightly annoying as it droops downwards when you unroll it. It does the job, though, and when fully inflated can probably be seen from the moon.


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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.