History of Rebreather Diving
One of the greatest experiences that one can enjoy is being underwater. The world is 70% water yet it remains a mystery. Underwater exploration is only just beginning. Early explorers traversed the land masses for centuries they went to every corner on the planet and then in the last century they started to explore outer space. We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the ocean floor.
Mankind is said to have evolved from the Oceans but very few have ever been able to return. The quest of some adventurous explorers has meant that special equipment has been produced which has allowed man to breathe underwater. The very early pioneers used a hose to deliver air being pumped from the surface.
In 1878 a Patent was received on a device which recirculated pure oxygen and two years later an English diver used this device to walk 330 metres along a flooded tunnel under the river Severn to close some crucial valves. The device was known as the Fleuss Rebreather as it was invented by Henry A Fleuss of Siebe Gorman. This was the first use of a Rebreather.
Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus “SCUBA” was invented by Jacques Yves Cousteau and Emile Gagnan in 1943 and it became the popular way for man to effectively breathe underwater. It does have it’s limitations as you have to carry the air that you intend to breathe.
Rebreathers were continually being developed from the very first Patent, mostly for Military and commercial use but in the mid 90s mass production and sales to recreational divers began. Very quickly it became apparent from the number of reported accidents that training needed to be improved and perhaps made compulsory for anyone wishing to purchase such equipment.
Learning to dive a rebreather is not just learning to pass a test or complete a course, it’s instilling the need to incorporate the skills that you have learned into every dive. We can educate you and teach you the necessary skills but it is YOU who should maintain those skills through regular practice.
Scuba diving has grown in popularity in the last 50 years but the depths of the scuba diver have been limited. In the 1990s technical diving emerged where divers where used different gas mixtures to explore deeper. This was a very hit and miss affair as we knew very little about the dangers of deep diving.
Closed Circuit Rebreathers where used in the 1800s and although of a primitive design worked well, because of the cost of manufacture and the training involved it was the SCUBA (Sub Aquatic Underwater Breathing Apparatus) that became popular and was pioneered by the likes of Jaques Coustau.
CCR has always been used for military purposes and for commercial diving but it was only in the 90s that commercially available rebreathers were mass produced for the recreational technical diver.
If you have experience of diving on SCUBA then you will already have experienced the magic of breathing underwater, however being a spectator of the sea life is totally different to being apart of it. CCR doesn’t have bubbles and is virtually silent. This meant that you become apart of the environment and as you’re not making noise or producing lots of bubbles, the sea life doesn’t swim away.
The other benefits to diving on CCR are optimum gas mix, dive duration and perfect buoyancy.
Optimum gas mix is breathed because the gas is constantly analysed and adjusted producing a breathing mixture that is the best for that depth, therefore reducing the amount of nitrogen being absorbed by our bodies and giving a longer time without the need for decompression or reducing the amount of decompression required.
The lack of bubbles means that no gas is wasted and it is recirculated. This gives the average diver around six hours worth of gas from much smaller cylinders. Because we use much less gas our time underwater is normally limited by other factors.
Perfect buoyancy is achieved because we don’t breathe out into the water making ourselves more negatively buoyant we breathe out into “counter lungs” and neutral buoyancy is maintained.