A new safety device for freedivers is on the way, according to “Freedive!” author Terry Maas.
It will be a safety vest that the diver would set before leaving the surface, Maas said yesterday during a “Future of Freediving” panel discussion at the DEMA Show.
“Something happens in the psychology in the last 30 seconds of a dive,” where if a freediver runs into trouble he or she might not want to release the weight belt to be able to get back to the surface, he said.
“Until just April we had no answers to that. Training is the answer, and working with a buddy is the answer, but I guarantee you that even with training with a buddy, we’re still going to lose people,” Maas said.
The safety vest under development has $100,000 in grant money and a patent pending, according to Maas. “If you say, ‘I need to be on the surface in a minute,’ you set it in the watch, and this vest will fire after a minute if you haven????????t reached the surface and disarmed it. You say you don’t want to be deeper than 60 feet . . . in case you pass out at 30 feet and pass 60, this thing’s going to fire.”
The vest will be built to aircraft standards with redundancy on every level, with a small inflation tank that can be recharged after use, and “very streamlined . . . with material that competitive deep divers use to make themselves slick,” he said.
“So we’re very excited about this, it’ll be a device that you’ll be able to sell, we have good insurance, and we hope it????????s going to revolutionize this sport.”