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  #21  
Old 12-30-2009
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Diving class is always a good idea, and it's a good idea just because it's a fun thing to do. And can lead to a lifetime of new stuff and enjoyment.

There are at least three companies making small 12 vdc hookahs. Probably more. IF all you really are ever going to do is dive down say six to ten feet and clean a hull, there are two things you need to know about breathing compressed air. Well, really three things. The first of the three things is always:
Don't panic.

But the practical things are to 1.) never hold your breath while underwater. Keep breathing in and out. If you don't hold a breath, you probably won't get in trouble. If you are under and the compressor stops, you start exhaling as you slowly surface. Just don't hold your breath. The reason is that the air you are breathing even at ten feet down is compressed, and takes up less volume than surface air. If you fill your lungs with it, and then hold it and surface, it is going to expand. This can cause problems, even from ten feet, if you have enough air in your lungs to overstretch the tissue.

2.)Second rule is not to ever pass your bubbles going up. Just don't do anything fast, and this ties in with the Don't Panic mode. There are a number of things that can startle you underwater while working along on your hull. Something might bump you. A scary fish might surprise you. A crab might grab you. You might knock your mask off and get water in your eyes and nose. the compressor might stop, etc. DON't panic. Just think to yourself, aw shucks...gotta go up. DON't drop your weights and shoot to the surface like a Polaris missile. You can bump your head. You can get tangled up in a rudder or prop. You can forget the other rule and hold your breath.

Really, the rest of what you learn in a dive class is more important if you are spending time below two atmospheres ( about 33 ft.) and how to treat various things, and how to best use all the equipment that the shop giving you the dive course is going to want to sell you.


It just occurred to me that if you didn't want to take the full certification course, you could probably do just fine by taking one of the short Resort Courses they give you as kind of an introduction to SCUBA. That's really all you need to know if all you want to do is clean your hull.

Oh, you will need some kind of weight belt, by the way, to hold you under. And you will have to find ways to brace yourself so you can get some traction for exerting force to clean the hull.

What I do ( I have a Brownies Third Lung gasoline powered hookah with three hoses) is to anchor the boat in a nice sandy spot in the lee somewhere with no current and minimal waves in about six or seven feet of water. That lets me brace my feet against the bottom and scrub the hull. Water is shallow enough that if you drop a tool or something you can just bend over and get it. And you can't get into any depth related problems.
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Last edited by 2Gringos; 12-30-2009 at 08:53 AM.
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  #22  
Old 12-30-2009
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to all of you darwin award candidates...

yes you can dive using this stuff, and perhaps it will be uneventful for you...but is it really worth dying to save a $100 hull cleaning bill...when you have no clue what you are fixing to do or how to do it?

As to the "spare air" containers...you better learn a bit about them...before you COUNT on them to save your life...you may get 10 breaths out of one, if you are trained, capable and don't panic

Scraping bottoms...are you going to enjoy eating (unless you have a full face mask, or hazmat) now broken barnacles, pollution and such...and are you going to find a decent wet suit or dry suit that will not shred when you "brush" against the barnacles and you will...or sure just slap some weights on...without regard to buoyancy or what happens if you have strapped on too much and can't get off the bottom while you regulator is "just a few feet" away..

get certified at least before you tempt these fates...and then you can tell which internet comments are clueless...and can get you hurt


and yes I am PADI AOW certified
dave
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Old 12-30-2009
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yes you can dive using this stuff, and perhaps it will be uneventful for you...but is it really worth dying to save a $100 hull cleaning bill.
Yes, it's worth it to me.

I see the commercial dock divers in our neck of the woods using compressors instead of tanks. I've read on a few other sites plans for the do-it yourselfer to build your own hookah outfits using oiless compressors from home-depot.

So what's the real scoop? Are they good enough or not?
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  #24  
Old 12-30-2009
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Just went to a diving forum and it looks like the little oiless compressors from home depot would work just fine. Anyone know for sure otherwise?
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Old 12-30-2009
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I just don't see how a small oilless compressor, especially a gas driven one is going to give you good air...unattended...I too have seen the local guys use some claptrap, rube goldberg device to dive, but then they all break every common sense dive rule known in doing so...

always dive with a buddy
know your gear
plan your dive, dive your plan
be prepared, crap happens
etc

Never have I seen a "helper/watcher/buddy" on deck to plug the unit back in, or refuel/restart when it runs out. Or prepared to help him out. Add in the pollution, shock hazard, barnacle infections...

Actually one guy near me just lugs all his "dive gear" in a wheelbarrow, bangs out the last day's goop from his regulator, dons his wet suit and plunges in. Then gets out, plugs in the compressor, unkinks the hose, and tries again.

Yes he is still alive,

I have said enough, you guys just do what you want to...

dave
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Old 12-30-2009
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If you're cleaning the bottom you're down less than 10'. If the compressor stops, or it the hose kinks at that depth you just surface slowly breathing out. As long as you have an oil-less compressor and a good reg with some weights and a wet or dry suit I don't see what could be an issue.
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Old 12-30-2009
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here's a useful link: Brownie's Third Lung : Surface Supplied Diving
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I love watching the "Certified Divers" come down here outfitted like the instrument panel of a fighter jet, totally convinced that they need all that stuff.

When I learned to dive it was with a Navy UDT friend of the family's, and we had a Healthways double hose regulator that only worked right if you were in a certain position, and a wrist watch and depth guage. And that was 47 years ago. Nothing about breathing compressed air has changed in all that time. The tables are a little looser than they were, but the physiology is the same.

Hey, I must be dead by now, huh? I just noticed my wristwatch ain't NEARLY big enough to be a diver's...
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Last edited by 2Gringos; 12-30-2009 at 05:44 PM.
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  #29  
Old 12-30-2009
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And that was 47 years ago. Nothing about breathing compressed air has changed in all that time. The tables are a little looser than they were, but the physiology is the same.
Holy Cow!. Do you know Mike Nelson? My son got certified about ten years ago so I had a diving partner there for a while until he went off to college. When I saw his new dive tables, I kept looking for the little decompression stop. They're not on the news ones and it took me a little while to figure out what was going on. I hear what you're saying about all the fancy stuff too. Heck, they have heads up displays now in the masks.
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  #30  
Old 12-30-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zz4gta View Post
Here's a tip from someone who uses an electric hookah every day to earn his living, and has done for fifteen years- any oilless compressor will work. They don't make a small compressor specifically designed for diving applications, every commercially available consumer-level hookah from Brownies on down is repurposing a compressor that was intended to do something else. That being said, while a cheapo, Home Depot special will do the job, there are better alternatives. Yes, they cost more. But they will last longer. But maybe you don't care since you will only be diving on your own boat. Whatever- it's your dime.

Here is the compressor most professional hull cleaners use, if they are using a hookah:



The Thomas 1020 is available at ToolBarn.com and Amazon.com. They generally run about $325. They are lightweight, rugged and durable. I, and all my divers, use them without exception.

Here's another tip- the link above shows some hookahs built around standard, off-the-shelf compressors. My guess is the compressors are cheap Chinese knock-offs. At least one is plumbed with steel reserve tanks. Not only are reserve tanks generally unnecessary, IMHO, but mild steel tanks like these will rust out in short order, leaving you breathing mud. The fact that this web site is selling hookahs based on inferior compressors is a big red flag, IMHO.
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