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02
Mar

What Goes Down Must Come Up

 

Los Angeles, CA – March 2, 2015 - Since its’ beginning, SCUBA technology has evolved ever-more effective tools for divers to gauge the duration of bottom time and the rate of ascent. The history of these devices can be traced from the earliest analogue dive computers, or decompression meters, manufactured in Italy in the late 1950’s, through the most advanced digital dive computers of the current age: Air-integrated dive computers.

Carter Crary, aka Ernesto Barracuda, is an owner, CEO, and master instructor at Malibu Divers. He’s been diving since 1966, and having had the opportunity to experiment with and rely on all kinds of dive tech over the years, he now prefers an air-integrated dive computer for teaching, hunting, and recreational diving. He suggests, with a new breed of integrated computer fresh on the market, if you’re still using an independent computer, now is the time to upgrade for a safer diving experience.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors, or PADI, defines a safety stop as: “3 minutes at 5 meters/15 feet” and recommends it be taken, “At the end of all dives whenever possible, regardless of depth or duration.” They also recommend surfacing with at least 500 PSI still in your tank. Air-integrated computers were designed with these goals in mind. In addition to giving you remaining no decompression time, direction, depth, bottom time, and water temperature, they are tune-able to your particular gas mix and communicate with your tank via a small transmitter that mounts to the first stage of the regulator.

Barracuda espouses the many advantages to these dive computers; the primary one being their ability to calculate not just the amount of air left in your tank, but your rate of air consumption. This eliminates the need to carry and repeatedly check an analogue submersible pressure gauge then guess at how long your air will last. Integrated computers can tell you how much time you have left on your dive and allow you to set alarms for yourself; at 700 psi remaining for instance, to make sure you get a warning that it's time to start heading up to that 3-minute/15-foot safety stop.

Barracuda currently employs two different integrated dive computers; one for local diving and the other for travel. He spends so much time hunting lobster, when diving around the Southern California Coast, he prefers a non-wrist-mounted, hosed computer. For this he uses the Atomic Aquatics manufactured Cobalt 2. The Cobalt 2 boasts a very large easy-to-read display on a color LED screen, it’s fully programmable for tracking multiple dives, and it’s price is in the median range for integrated computers at $1295. He has used this computer regularly for over a year now with zero complaints.

Tourist Barracuda opts for the Liquivision Lynx, $999 plus a $400 transmitter. Unlike the Cobalt 2, the Lynx is wireless and is worn on the wrist. This eliminates Liquidvision Lynxone of your hoses, making your gear much less cumbersome. It also frees up your hands to hold a camera rig; tourist Barracuda likes to take pictures. If you’re a parent who frequently dives with their kids, or an instructor who wishes to keep a closer tab on students, there is another feature that makes The Lynx very attractive as your upgrade of choice. The Lynx can monitor the location and air of up to ten divers within 330 feet. This feature is available through the Lynx Omniscient Dive Master’s Kit.

If you’re a budget conscious diver, and have been holding off on purchasing a new computer; which is to say if you’re still clinging to that analogue SPG you purchased after seeing The Abyss in 1989, which is to say you've been subtracting rental price from the total you paid after every dive, and have somehow ended up in negative numbers, you might consider the Suunto Cobra. This is the computer local Barracuda used prior to the Cobalt 2, and he has nothing but good things to say about it. Like the Cobalt 2 it’s a hosed computer. It’s programmable, though with slightly fewer options and without the full-color LED display. The Cobra can be had for a very reasonable $699. With some independent computers still priced well over the thousand-dollar mark, the Cobra stands as a very big bang-for-your-buck.

If, on the other hand, you can’t help but have the hottest new toy on the block first, you should check out the brand new Suunto Eon Steel. This is the most advanced wrist-mounted wireless computer on the market. It’ll run you $1440 plus another $440 for the transmitter. The Eon Steel boasts an extremely durable stainless steel frame, a large, bright, full-color LED display, and is fully customizable allowing you to plan multiple dives down to the last detail, in advance, through its user updatable software. Like the Lynx, the Eon Steel can monitor other divers with the purchase of additional transmitters.

Air-integrated computers are not just a step sideways from independent ones, they are the next step forward in dive computer technology, and no small step at that. For more information about air-integrated dive computers or for a chance to meet the infamous Barracuda in the flesh, drop by Malibu Divers.


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