If you ever dive from a boat, you would have felt that horrible momentary feeling when you look around and for a second it has disappeared behind the waves leaving you thinking, what next?
“Diving in remote locations always reminds me that the boat is our life line,” Vice-President of Bluewater Freedivers of Western Australia (BFWA) Simon McLernon, pictured, said.
“The boat is our only chance to return home safe after a day of fishing.
“As a diver, we trust that our boat will stay put but there is still a chance for something to go wrong and have our only lifeline drift away from us.”
BFWA is a club which places a strong emphasis on safety.
From their experience diving in many offshore and remote locations across WA, divers from the club identified the need for a piece of safety equipment that would allow them to carry key survival gear such as bottled water, an EPIRB and flares with them at all times while in the water.
Enter, the Bluewater Safety Float.
In 2014, the club embarked on a mission to create the Bluewater Safety Float to ensure that diving off WA was as safe as possible.
The club has since designed, built and field tested a dive float that is a must have for not only divers but boaties as well. The Bluewater Safety Float keeps all your safety gear in one spot and is ready when you need it most!
What you need to know:
- It was designed by WA spearos and divers;
- It is a high strength rigid float which has been tested for full submersion;
- This float has 19L of water tight storage volume and 20kg of buoyancy perfect for holding an EPIRP, flares, water and any additional safety gear when out on the water;
- It’s high flotation and shape allows it to be towed along by a diver with ease or support a tired crew member separated from their craft;
- It is constructed using high-quality materials and is UV resistant with a hi-vis colour that will not fade;
- It has 3 high strength swivel attachment points, grab handles, a push in flagpole and dive flag;
- If you’re a diver it will keep your safety gear with you and not in your boat that could be floating away with a snapped anchor rope; and,
If you’re a boatie, it’s the ultimate grab bag for you to store all things safety and will give you added buoyancy when in the water.
How many times have we all had our safety gear checked at the ramp or seen others rummaging under the bow or in various compartments pulling out an EPIRB, flares and life jackets.
It seems crazy that we pack safety gear sporadically, when you need it most you always want it in one easily accessible location.
Simon recently had an experience that highlighted to him the importance of this new innovation.
“I was freediving with friends on a calm day several kilometres from shore when we came across a boat that was drifting through where we were diving,” he said.
“We noticed that there was no one on board and by the looks of the gear on board we figured they must be divers. My mate jumped in and drove the boat around where we could tie it up to ours while we continually scanned the waters for a lost diver.
“After about 20 worrying minutes we spotted a scuba diver surface about 100m away. With all his equipment it took the exhausted diver at least another 10min to swim over to us much slower than the speed that the boat was drifting.
“If we hadn’t been there they would’ve had no chance at chasing down their boat which had all their safety gear on board.”
While the original plan for the club was to develop enough for its members, its identified importance as a piece of safety equipment has meant the club has managed to make them now available for all fishers.
You can purchase your own Bluewater Safety Float from Recfishwest’s Fish and Survive website.
This initiative was sponsored by a Community Grant, was supported by Recfishwest and the Department of Fisheries.
The float is designed by WA fishers for WA conditions. All profits from sales of the Bluewater Safety Float will be invested back into fishing safety so that more initiatives like this can be undertaken to ensure the State’s fishers keep coming home safe.