By Donny McFadden – Technical Diving Division Consultant
Technical Diving requires a substantial amount of equipment. With it all laid out in front of you it may look like a lot. However with the right equipment selection and smart placement – divers can enjoy a clean, practical and safe Technical Dive Rig.
This blog is part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 1’s focus is Hose Routing
Hose routing is one of the most important considerations of a clean rig. Clean hose routing is a tell-tale sign of a diver that pays attention to detail. Messy hose routing is not only unsightly but can also be dangerous with the potential for snags, tangles and kinks. Whether it’s stage/deco cylinders, sidemount cylinders, backgas hoses, rebreather bailout or canister lights – clean hose routing is important to help maintain a systematic approach to diving equipment. There are many effective options for routing your hoses, however the important things to remember are – the routing should be setup to enable access to the full length of the hose, there needs to be no chance of snags, tangles or kinks and you should set it up the same way every dive as a systematic habit.
Sidemount long hose storage (pre-dive) – The long hose can come directly down from the regulator to make a double loop through two rubber bands before stowing the mouthpiece under the hose.
This allows the regulator to be deployed easily at the start of a dive by pulling out just one loop. Use your right hand to push the remaining loop together and check for kinks.
This hose routing keeps the remaining stowed section of the long hose closer to the back, away from snags and ready for easy deployment in an Out of Gas (OOG) situation.
Stage/Deco cylinders 0.9m-1.0m is a common length for the stage/deco hose, with some as short as 0.7m. Routing the hose directly down from the regulator, then looped to the left through the two rubber bands allows the mouth piece to be placed under the hose which keeps the second stage secure.
Ideally the hose should run directly down from the first stage.
A swivel turret on your first stage allows you to adjust the hose to point down, however if your first stage is without one then simply ensure the LP hose is in a downward facing port in the first stage. Keep the looped hose pushed close to itself to tidy things up.
Notice the bolt snaps are directly in line with the center of the valve in the center. When the cylinder is clipped off on the left side of the body the second stage will sit on top of the cylinder and slightly to the side – which keeps the second stage protected and easy to deploy.
The backmounted long hose can either come down from the valve under your right arm, under the canister light battery pack, then around the left side of the neck and into the mouth.
Alternatively, if you are not using a canister light you can tuck the excess hose into the waist belt of the harness.
Either way you must ensure there is nothing that would stop full deployment of the long hose if needed. The canister light power cord, the drysuit inflator hose and the short hose all need to be behind the long hose. At the start of a dive the S-drill will confirm freedom of the long hose, however if in doubt during a dive then take a moment to complete an S-drill.
Rebreather bailout can either be traditionally clipped off or side-mounted with bungee just as you would while sidemount diving. Side-mounting bailout is preferred by some rebreather divers as it allows the cylinder to be placed further down on the body which keeps things less busy up front. On-board SPG’s, Manual Add Valves (MAV), Bailout Valve (BOV) hoses and any other hose should be secured and tidy.
The canister light cord can be tucked into the waist belt on backmount and rebreathers when not in use. When in use make sure it is not interfering with the long hose.
If not handled correctly the canister light cord can cause unnecessary delays during emergency scenarios like Out of Gas. In some scenarios if two hands are needed, it may be suitable to clip off the light head to the right shoulder clip with a double ender and tuck away any excess lead into the waist belt. You must ensure that this does not go over the top or get in the way of the long hose. In other more urgent scenarios you may not have enough time to clip off the light head as quick action is needed. In this case, care should be taken to not tangle the light cord with any other equipment.
In sidemount configuration there are multiple effective ways of mounting and routing the canister light depending on the type of harness you use. Butt mounting and running the hose to the left under the arm is effective and allows the excess hose to be kept neat and tidy and clear of the long hose.
Correct canister light handling during skills is a very important skill that is sometimes overlooked. If you use a canister light my advice is to practice all skills using a canister light regularly – particularly emergency skills. Please look out for a future blog post on this subject.
Lastly the inflator hose can be kept secured on the left shoulder strap with a simple loop of bungee or a large O-ring through the tryglide on the left shoulder D-ring.
Having a clean systematic approach to diving equipment has many benefits. Clean hose routing is just one of the various practices divers are using to keep their Technical Dive Rig clean, practical and safe. Please keep a lookout for part 2 of this blog to be posted in the coming weeks. I strongly advise that you do thorough research as well as check with all manufacturing recommendations before making any changes to your equipment. Please note no amount of reading will substitute for good quality training. This blog is not a substitute for training.