Failure Points

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Posted by JIm Hoffmann on December 06, 2000 at 12:40:06:

One of the safety issues that many divers fail to recognize is the potential of Failure Points in their life support equipment.
When buying Diving Equipment, divers seem to be looking more at the features, price, and color then anything else. Instead, maybe they should be looking at the design and the practically of the product.
After diving for over 30 years and taking care of Scuba Toys rental department for the last 26 years I have seen lots of equipment failure points. With todays post I'm just going to write about the potential failure points with BC Systems.
The BC's have the potential for the lots of failure points.
The Rapid dump valves on the elbow joint of the oral inflation hose has a high potential for failure. I have seen many of the "RE" values fail (when they fail you can't get any air in the BC) this is a high maintenance accessory that you don't need.
The Overpressure Relief Valve, also has a high potential for failure. Most have failed because of poor maintenance. You need a relief valve on your BC, but you don't need 3 of them like some of the new BC's have (the less holes in the bladder of your BC the better off you are).
Power Inflators have always been one the weakest points in our life support equipment. They have a high failure rate and need lots of maintenance. Most cannot be fixed, when they start leaking or self-inflating, you need to buy a new one.
Poorly designed integrated weight release systems. These seem to fall into two catagories either the weights fall-out to easily or you can't get them out at all. This is something that the diver needs to try out before they buy the product.
Quick release buckles on your shoulder harness. I have seen many plastic buckles stepped on and broken. Most of todays BC have Quick release buckles, the only way to eliminate this potential failure point is to go to a back-plate with nylon webbing.
There are potential Failure Points in all of our gear, but what we need to do is to recognize that they are there and eliminate them.
The color, features, and price makes little difference when a piece of Life Support Equipment fails on a dive.

Jim Hoffmann
Scuba Toys
Cypress, Ca.

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