Within the IUSRU our members are trained to a minimum standard of PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) Advanced Open Water Qualification (Or Equivalent) which is a recreational diving qualification that ensures our divers enter the organisation with a minimum basic diving qualification. However a lot of our members are much more highly qualified right up to Commercial Diving Qualifications (HSE Surface Supplied).
The specific pieces of diving equipment that we use and how it is configured has been carefully thought out by our members to ensure that we use the most suitable layout for the conditions we dive in. Our current dive equipment configuration is laid out below
BCD (Buoyancy Compensation Device)
We use the “Buddy TekWing” BCD, which is made by AP Valves and has stood the test of time as being a resilient and reliable BCD which is well suited to the conditions we regularly dive in. This wing has a maximum buoyancy lift of over 27KG’s and weighs a little under 5KGs without cylinder etc., it is fully customizable with a clear chest area and has a lot of room for adjustment to suit all divers, with all this in mind it has allowed us to fully customise our setup and given us a lot of room for change when the needs arise.
Generally we dive with 15L air cylinders and a 3L bailout, we have inverted our cylinders to ensure our divers are streamlined in the water to avoid any snags with hoses extending above the divers head, this layout has allowed the majority of hoses to be secured around the divers waist and all valves are in reaching distance for the diver. Our pony cylinder is hosed through the commercial grade, “Kirby Morgan 300-145 EXO Manifold Block” which is optimised for SCUBA, this valve allows for fast access to air from the bail-out cylinder, this assembly also has a safety feature of a non-return valve located on the input hose from the first stage to ensure against any back pressure to the main cylinder, isolating the pony cylinder in the event of an accident or failure to the main air source.
The IUSRU exclusively uses the Divator Full Face Mask (Also known as the AGA Mask) manufactured by Interspiro, which is specifically designed to be used in extreme conditions and still supply the diver with optimum air flow with minimal breathing resistance while at all times protecting the diver from the hazardous conditions he/she may be submerged in, it does this through a double seal on the exhalation valve and a flexible face seal which will conform to the majority of faces. It’s rated to work in temperatures between - 30 to + 70 degrees celcius and operates at an optimum air pressure range of 5 – 11 bar. The AGA Mask is world renowned amongst commercial divers using a SCUBA setup and specifically famous amongst search and recovery divers, it was an obvious choice for the IUSRU when deciding which mask to use.
The IUSRU uses the “Buddy Phone D2” as our diver to diver and diver to surface communications system, manufactured by Ocean technology Systems (OTS), it is the latest in a trusted line of products from this manufacturer. It allows for digitally clear voice transmissions between up to 2 divers in the water and a surface unit at any one time, this is regarded as an essential safety feature for the divers of the IUSRU as constant contact with each other and the surface ensures that if any issues arise that they can be acted upon immediately.
Due to the temperature of the water in Ireland all our divers wear dry suits for thermal protection. This also protects the diver from any harmful substances that may be in the water and allows for an additional layer between the diver and any objects that may injure a diver in a subsea environment. Drysuits must be specifically fitted to a diver and therefore all IUSRU divers must have their own personal drysuit that they use during IUSRU operations. Maintenance and repair of drysuits is up to the individual diver who has full responsibility for the operation of this piece of equipment. There is not one specific brand that our divers use as it comes down to fit and personal preference, however many of the recreational drysuit brands would not be suitable for the high amount of wear and tear that comes as part of the environments we dive in.
There are many other pieces of ancillary equipment that our divers require to carry out their task, including fins, torches, computers, depth gauges etc., however these are pieces of equipment that change with the environments we dive in and is therefore left to a decision between the diver and the supervisor as to what piece of equipment is most suitable to the task.