Dräger put it best when they coined the term dive silently in their advertising for the Dolphin semi-closed rebreather system. Technology has advanced significantly since recreational divers were introduced to rebreather diving by Dräger. However, the joy of hearing the sounds of the underwater world and getting up close and personal with the fish has not changed. The rebreathers currently available to divers make diving silently more fun and safer.
What is rebreather diving?
To put it simply, a rebreather is like having your own personal gas blender on your back. Closed circuit rebreathers allow you to have the ideal Nitrox or Trimix gas mixture at every depth. The basic principle is simple, when you breath in, you only consume about 4% of the available oxygen; you exhale the rest with carbon dioxide mixed in. The rebreather, removes the carbon dioxide and adds back the small amount of oxygen you metabolized and then give it back to you for your next breath.
Why should I use a rebreather?
Rebreathers allow divers to stay down longer, reduce or optimize decompression obligations and get closer to the reef and the creatures. They do this by prneuding the optimal gas mixture and eliminating the exhaust bubbles which scare away fish and other creatures. They are also the great equalizer. They allow heavy gas breathers to stay down with their more efficient dive partners.
Photographers love rebreathers because they can get close, stay there a long time and keep breathing while remaining neutral. “It was so cool to watch the squid mating right in front of me” noted one rebreather diver while another commented, “I just floated there watching the grouper getting cleaned.” Photography using a rebreather is fun!
Technical divers have been using rebreathers for a long time because of the decompression benefits. They allow you to optimize the decompression curve during your dive which in essence means you can stay on the bottom longer while keeping the same total run time as an open circuit diver. On the other hand, they also give you the opportunity to simply stay down longer than an open circuit diver can because of the gas usage efficiency.
What rebreather unit should I buy?
Search for rebreathers on the website and you will be overwhelmed by information and choices. There are many rebreathers on the market with all sorts of features and benefits. But which one is the best one? That is difficult to answer and it depends on what you plan on using the unit to do. Do you want to take photographs in shallow water where the lighting is best or do you see yourself exploring wrecks in 300 feet of water? The answer to these questions may give you a different answer for equipment choices. No rebreather is the “perfect rebreather.” There are trade-offs and differences in each model. Some are smaller and lighter while others are larger. Some allow you to stay longer while others are designed for shorter adventures. The unit you select involves your goals for your diving both now and in the future.
The best thing is to sit down with a rebreather instructor, like those on staff at Oceanic Ventures, and discuss where you want to go with your diving. Someone knowledgeable about the type of diving you see yourself doing and the different rebreather models can help you refine your plans and assist you in acquiring the best rebreather for you.
What should I look for in an instructor?
Rebreather diving is a lifestyle and involves some risk. You should select an instructor who is an experienced rebreather diver as well as an instructor. There are a lot of little things that make rebreather diving different from open circuit diving and hiring an experienced rebreather diver will let you learn the little things that make diving rebreathers fun and satisfying.
The instructors at Oceanic Ventures are the most experienced divers and instructors in the area. You will find that we love this style of diving and want to pass that love on. We have instructors on every major rebreather system on the market so you will find someone who can help you make the right decisions for you.
How can I try rebreather diving?
Oceanic Ventures hosts rebreather demonstrations throughout the year. These demonstrations are done in a pool and let you discover a little about several different rebreather systems. Additionally, you can hire an Instructor to take you on a rebreather experience in a local lake or to a more tropical location. Contact Ann or Eric to find out more about trying a rebreather.
How can I get started?
Contact on of the professionals at Oceanic Ventures and tell them you want to start diving silently!