Modern Warfare Week

Archive for the ‘Maritime’ Category

Land Forces 22 – Tulmar Safety Systems

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Exhibiting in the Danger Solutions booth, Tulmar Safety Systems is showcasing their Next Generation Tactical Life Preserver.


• Streamlined low profile shooter’s cut allows unimpeded weapons handling, climbing, rappelling, fast roping, and confined space movement. 

• Lightweight and highly compact, yet durable; built to withstand the rigors of tactical training and operational environment use. 

• Provides 40+ lbs of self-righting buoyancy. 

• Easily attaches and integrates with most MOLLE/PALS tactical armor systems.

• Re-arm and re-pack in less than 5 minutes under operational conditions with no tools required.

SCUABPRO Sunday – Common Dive Skills

Sunday, October 2nd, 2022

Training like you fight doesn’t just mean having your body armor on when you are on the range, and you should always practice basic skills whenever you get in the water. The best way to become a better diver is to practice and improve on the basic skills constantly. Here are some basic skills you should practice every time you get in the water.


This is one of the most critical skills for every diver to master. Mastering buoyancy is not necessarily a difficult task, but it requires a calm, focused mind, and practice. You will consume less air when your buoyancy is on point, and you will not risk shooting to the surface and giving yourself away or, worse, getting injured. To practice your buoyancy, try and be a couple of feet off the bottom of the pool using a body positions simulation to sky diving. Try maintaining the same distance from the bottom and now just using your fins spin to your left, then spin to your right, again holding your positions. Now once you have that, try, and move backward, besides just using your fins. This will help you with moving in confined spaces and around piers.


The descent should always be performed slowly and controlled. You will need to equalize the pressure in your ears as you descend constantly; that can mean every 12-18 inches 30-40cm for some divers. Descending too quickly can cause your eardrums to rupture, which can lead to more severe complications. A slow descent will also prevent silting on the bottom, which will decrease visibility. Also, practice your emergency descents. It will be the same as before but faster.

Clearing Your Mask

At some point, you will get water in your mask. So, it is better to practice in a controlled environment than to have not done it a long time and try and remembered when it is the middle of the night in someplace where you don’t want the water touching your face. If you have water in your mask, follow the clearing techniques you learned in your training. If you need to stop momentarily, alert your buddy so you do not get separated. You should be able to master this essential skill without having to stop. It would help if you also did this, allowing as a minimal number of bubbles as possible. Make sure you practice this when you are learning to use any diver propulsion vehicle.

Emergency Ascent

It is no different than practicing a down man drill.  Well, other than the fact that you are in the water. Your emergency ascent may require that you share air with your buddy, swim in a controlled manner to the surface, you might have to drop your or their weights. I have had to do this when my dive buddy passed out, and I was so freaked out I didn’t have to drop anything to get him to the surface. It was also my first dive in the teams, and I thought he was dead Practice all types of emergency ascent techniques whenever possible to not panic when a real emergency occurs.

Hand Signals

Once you start diving with someone, you might come up with some hand signals of your own, like you have your head up, you’re a$$. But the essential hand signals will be used by everyone worldwide. You never know when you will be diving with someone from a partner nation, and that is all you have to go by. So, knowing the basics will help.

Going Up or Down

Use a thumbs-up signal to indicate that you are going up or a thumbs down to indicate the opposite.

I’m OK

Place your thumb and forefinger together, forming a circle, and leave the other three fingers extended upright. This is the same as you would say, OK, as you would above water.


Signal your dive buddy to stop by holding up one hand, the same as you would in any other instance. You can also use a closed fist like being on patrol.

Changing Direction

Just like with up and down, point your thumb (or your index finger) to indicate which direction you’re heading. You can tell again like on land.

Turn Around

To let everyone know it’s time to turn around, put your index finger up and rotate in a circle. Similar to rally-up.

Slow Down

Place your hand in front of you with your palm facing down. Wave your hand up and down to indicate that you need everyone to slow down a bit.

Level Off

To indicate that you want to level off once you’ve reached a certain depth, put your hand out in front of you, palm down, and wave it back and forth.

Something’s Wrong

Place your hand out in front of you, fingers spread and palm down. Wave your hand back and forth in a rocking motion. It is similar to the hand signal, maybe.


Wave your entire arm from outstretched by your side to over your head. Repeat the motion as long as you need to.

How much air do you have?

With the forefinger and middle finger hit in the palm of your hand to ask your buddy how much air is left in the tank. The usual response is in numbers.

I’m Low on Air

It takes practice to be able to make your air last. Clench your hand into a fist and pull it in toward your chest. Repeat as much as you need to indicate how urgently you need to resurface. When diving a rebreather, you should point at the pressure gauge. With some of the newer rebreathers, you can pull your gauge out and show it to your dive buddy if needed.  

I’m Out of Air

Suppose something has gone wrong with your equipment, signal quickly and repeatedly. Place your hand, palm down in front of your throat, and move back and forth in a cutting motion.

Apollo Military Offers Maritime Operators Highest Performance UBA with Open Safety Incursion CMR

Friday, September 30th, 2022

OT&E of Incursion CMR SCR with Apollo BioMask FFM and Patriot JetBoots
In use with a number of countries naval Special Forces and undergoing Test & Evaluation globally with Tier 1 units. The Open Safety Incursion CMR is a Compact Military Rebreather (CMR) that exceeds all NATO, CE and NEDU performance benchmarks and enables a wide range of missions with a single unit system: as either an O2 CCR, SCR, O2+SCR Switchable unit, Front or Back mount. Its professionally engineered clean sheet design, offering the lowest documented rebreather Work of Breathing (WOB) and long scrubber duration. This enables operators to do the same work, with less effort expended, and provides substantial OH&S benefits: inclusive mitigation of caustic cocktail risk to operators through use of American manufactured 2.2kg 5” solid state Micropore ExtendAir® CO2 technology. Enabling the unique ability to also recover the loop from flood; whilst submerged. Of course, the Incursion CMR can also be operated with 2.6kg of conventional granular absorbent and achieve the same submerged duration.

Incursion CMR O2/SCR Switch for Combat Swimming, VSW MCM or SDV ops.
Features include:

• State of the art military rebreather supporting O2-CCR and SCR operating modes, both dedicated and underwater switchable. Fail-safe gas switch. Offboard SDV or EBS supplied gas whip OSEL lockable Quick-Connect compatible.

• Front or back-mount, with the same unit; compatible with diveable armour vests incorporating front, back and side plates.

• CE, NORSOK and NEDU standards compliant & certified.

• Functional Safety audited and certified to EN61508 SIL 3: with full disclosure of safety case, all test data, FMECA, HAZOPs etc.

• Rugged with exceptional availability, backed by lifetime warranty on design, parts, materials and safety – significantly reducing whole of life cycle costs to operate.

-Low maintenance, with all servicing and repairs able to be performed in-country: technician courses available.

-Includes a unique whole of life safety warranty where if the Functional Safety performance of the Incursion CMR is found to be lacking or can be improved upon; Open Safety will re-engineer the required component and supply it at their cost.

• Light: 10.3kg to 17.4kg depending on configuration, ready to dive including trim weights, scrubber and gas.

• Compact semi-rigid satchel style (35 x 41 x 16cm) including integral oxygen cylinder

-Non-mag 2L 300bar 904L SS carbon wrapped cylinders; avionic (vacuum) tested for HALO use

• Internal protected counterlungs for HALO deployment or high waterflow DPV use

• Flood tolerant and uniquely flood recoverable whilst dived

• 4+ hour scrubber duration, >6 hour gas duration (CCR/SCR modes)

• Rated for use from 0m through to 100m

• Lowest Work of Breathing in industry at

-0.35 J/L at 10m on Oxygen, 62.5 lpm RMV,

-0.6 J/L at 40m on Air, 40 lpm RMV,

-1.44 J/L at 40msw on Air, 75lpm RMV,

-0.9 J/L at 100msw on Heliox, 75lpm RMV

• Low-Mag as standard and Non-Mag options (to NATO STANAG 2897 Class A, static and dynamic tests)

• Low acoustic signature to NATO STANAG 1158

• FFM compatible

• UW comms compatible (DSV adapter)

• Integrated Bail Out Valve for immediate Open Circuit bailout an option; Open Safety ALVBOV replaces DSV

• Proven with Naval and Special Forces around the world from arctic to tropics

• Manufactured in Scotland, United Kingdom and deliberately NOT BERRY compliant.

Open Safety Incursion CMR O2 CCR shown with PPO2 Monitoring through Open Safety HUD offering full dive data display inclusive depth, dive time, compass, decompression and PPO2.
Developed out of the British and Norwegian rebreather safety initiative for commercial North Sea divers, a 200 man-year project, the Incursion UBA systems are believed to be the safest and highest performance military rebreather that can be engineered today.  The Open Safety Incursion CMR is supplied with Functional Safety certification – to the Gold Standard – IEC EN 61508, and at the most onerous level (SIL3) including all mechanics, electronics and software options.

Evaluating new rebreathers can be time consuming, expensive and labour intensive. To minimise that overhead, the Incursion rebreather has been the subject of one the most stringent testing regimes ever.  The Open Safety Incursion system are the only military rebreather on the market whose full test results, failure analysis, performance measurements and compliance matrices are audited and published for critique by prospective purchasers to validate their procurement requirements.

The Incursion CMR is distributed throughout South East Asia and Oceania by Apollo Military, whom are also a very successful sales agent, for a number of disparate and supporting, maritime tactical products. Apollo Military are an ISO Certified company whom have been in the industry since 1988 and are now one of the premier and most respected maritime tactical operations equipment suppliers in the South East Asian region.

Apollo Military in addition to supplying the best maritime tactical equipment that we can source for our clients; also inhouse design, test and have manufactured to our specification Australian manufactured Titanium COBRA boarding ladders and JEYCO manufactured Fast Ropes; both in service with numerous Tier 1 units globally.

Apollo Military supplied Australian manufactured JEYCO Fast Rope and Titanium COBRA boarding ladder

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Wetsuit Care

Sunday, September 25th, 2022

Your wetsuit is an essential part of your dive gear, as it protects your body from heat loss, abrasions, and wildlife injuries on a dive. Without proper care, neoprene can be damaged easily when you’re not even diving. Although they are designed to last a long time, certain elements will destroy it, if you don’t take care of it. Here are a few things that will damage neoprene. This stuff will also damage your H-gear/ Armor carrier and other nylon equipment.


Sunlight is one of the worst things for any nylon product. You never want to leave your wetsuit hanging in direct sunlight to dry. Neoprene takes a beating from UV radiation, and it will begin to break it down quickly. Paired with heat, it can break a new wetsuit down in a matter of months.


Even in the absence of sunlight, heat is not good for neoprene. Under no circumstances should you ever put neoprene in the dryer. Even leaving it in a hot car can begin the process of deterioration. The best way to dry your wetsuit (after a fresh water rinse, of course!) is to hang it in the open air, in the shade. So, try not to store your wetsuit in a Conex box.

Salt and Minerals

If you’ve been diving in the ocean, you’ll need to rinse your wetsuit immediately with fresh water so that the salt, minerals, and bacteria accumulated during the dive will not remain to crystallize and produce odors. Soaking it in a tub is the best way to do this. Do more than just rinse it with a hose and hang it up to dry. Even if you haven’t exposed your wetsuit to any of the other damaging elements in this post, a stinky, bacteria-laden wetsuit is just as ruined if you never rinse it. Occasional soakings with a product like Sink the Stink are a great way to refresh your wetsuit every few weeks or months, depending on how often you dive. Also don’t think “oh I just used it in a pool it will be fine” chlorine is bad for your wetsuit. Look at all the people that use the same T-shirt in the pool and never wash it, it is a different color because of the chlorine. I have also just discovered something called Saltaway- this is great stuff to use to clean your suits and gear after a week or so of diving. I am not saying to use it if you have only used your suit for one dive, but you don’t need to use it every time you dive. It will help get all the salt off of your gear.

Improper Storage

As well as suffering heat damage, leaving your wetsuit wadded up in your gear bag, trunk, or garage will cause rapid deterioration, as it compromises the structure of neoprene. Hanging your wetsuit on a proper wetsuit hanger is the ideal storage, but if you’re limited on space, you can store it folded in half in a dry container once it is fully dry.

If you rinse your wetsuit with fresh water after every use, it should stay clean in most cases. However, you sometimes might find that your wetsuit gets a little funky. If you pee in it, it will get funky. Make sure that you always use a cleaner that is designed for wetsuits. The wrong type of cleaning product on your wetsuit can be the thing that damages neoprene. Some people say you have to get a new wetsuit every 3 to 5 years. The truth is it depends on how much you use it and how deep you go. Every time you dive deep it will compress the wetsuit and push some of the bubbles that are in the neoprene out. So there is no real time line on how long a suit will last. But like most things the better you treat it the longer it will last and more importantly the better it will treat you when you need it the most.


Sunday, September 18th, 2022

Buoyancy is key to a lot of things when diving. It helps make the dive easier in a lot of ways. When using a closed-circuit rig (CCR), it keeps you from rocketing to the surface, and it prevents you from dropping to the bottom when you stop to fix your gear or “Dräger” talk/ yelling at your dive buddy.

The keys to buoyancy are balance and breathing.

The two significant factors in achieving neutral buoyancy.

Wear the right amount of weight for the dive. This will differ depending on the thickness of your wetsuit/ drysuit and gear you are wearing, also water type fresh or salt.

Breathing slowly and evenly, so you do not have too much air in your breathing bag. If diving a CCR

Steps to help maintain buoyancy.

Pre-dive preparation.

Buoyancy control begins with pre-dive preparation as you pick what to wear for a dive. Double-check to make sure nothing has changed that could affect buoyancy. A new wetsuit is more buoyant than an older one and will need more weight. A new suit has more inherent buoyancy at first because diving, especially deep diving, bursts the tiny bubbles in the suit over time. Make sure you look at any new gear compared to the old version. Equipment is constantly evolving and updated with new buckles or martial, so when you switch from old to new, make sure you know the buoyancy with the new stuff. Check the weights on a scale; often, there is variation between claimed and actual weight. If diving open circuit, remember cylinders are negatively buoyant when full and less negative when empty.

Do a buoyancy check.

Here is the best way to do a proper buoyancy check. With your lungs half-full, you should float at eye level with no air in your BCD. If you are diving open circuit, remember the average cylinder loses about 5 pounds as it empties. So, you might have to add about 5 pounds to your weight if you have done your buoyancy check with a full tank.

Keep a log

Keep a log of what gear you have worn, the temperature, and the type of water (salt/fresh /brackish). What equipment you used, how much lead you carried, your body weight, and whether you seemed too heavy or light. Knowing the weight of the gear that you used on the dive will help. Make sure you understand that if you are going to remove something during the dive, you need to account for that on the return trip home. If you plan by recording in training what you used, it will help when you have to do it the next time.  

Saltwater VS Freshwater.

If most of your driving is done in the ocean, ballast calculations should be done for saltwater. Jumping in the pool to check your ballast will get you close, but it won’t be 100% correct. If you switch back and forth, you’ll need to adjust your ballast. Be prepared to add weight if needed sometimes, it’s nice to have a weight belt with extra pouches just in case, or maybe just an empty pouch on a gear belt will help. But still, try and keep the weight evenly distributed.

Buoyancy, Trim, Position, and Breathing

The secret to buoyancy control begins with fine-tuning your weighting. How much lead do you put into your pouches or have on your weight belt? If you carry just the right amount of weight, you will only have to put a little air in your BCD. That means less drag and more efficient finning. Less BC inflation also means minor buoyancy shift with depth, so you’ll have to make fewer adjustments. There are many tricks, but buoyancy control is a fundamental skill. Precise control of your buoyancy is what enables you to hover motionless and fin through the water at any depth. It would be best not to use your hands and not stir up mud or silt from the bottom by always moving your feet. In addition to using the right amount of weight, make sure you are correctly balanced to optimize your position underwater.

Keeping a more horizontal position makes you more hydrodynamic. Distribute the weight as uniformly as possible from side to side; you should never notice that you put more weight on one side while driving. It would help if you also considered the weight of your dive gear and any other additional gear you might be wearing. I.e., gun belt or special equipment. Make sure it is balanced on your body, and it doesn’t shift when you are diving. The lower you wear your dive rig can cause a tendency to push the diver forward (upside down) in the water, so the placement of weight towards the back can help reverse this position, especially on the surface. Make sure any dive weight you put on can be easily removed in an emergency.

Besides ballast weight, the factors that affect your buoyancy are BC inflation, your trim, exposure suit, depth, and breathing control. Your ballast weight and your trim are the only two factors that, once you’ve selected them, stay put. Ballast is the amount of weight it takes to keep you neutral in the water. Trim is about the position of your body weight relative to the position of your weight. Sometimes when diving a rebreather, you can tape lead washers on it to help with your trip.

There is one more thing to understand that will help with your buoyancy. It is controlling your breathing. Make sure you maintain proper breathing. Take relaxed breaths. This allows you to maintain control over your buoyancy.

To determine the amount of weight you need, you can take your body weight, the diving suit you will use, the weight of your equipment, and the environment you are diving in salt or freshwater. If you use about 10 percent of your body weight, that is a good starting point for a full 5 mm or more and for a 3 mm suit, use 5 percent of your body weight.

Drysuits and thick neoprene suits require more ballast to counteract the increased buoyancy of those suits compared to the thinnest. Body composition (the muscular density, for example) will also influence the necessary weight. Remember, fat floats, muscle sinks.

Remember to calculate everything you will use and wear on your dive if you are doing a long drive and plan to leave or remove something halfway thru your dive. Say conducting a ship attack, and you are taking limpets off. Plan for the whole dive, not just the start when you will be at your heaviest; plan if you are carrying something that you plan to leave behind, how will that affect your extraction. To check your buoyancy, get into the water deep enough to stay in an upright position without treading and releasing all air from the vest. Inhale, normally, the surface of the water must be at the level of your eyes. When you exhale, you should sink until the water covers your head and inhale again. You should emerge once again until the level of the eyes. Adjust your weight in small increments, about 1 pound at a time. You can use a weight with a snap link or just some weight with some 550 cord on it. Make sure you don’t just put all the weight you are adding to one side. Try and use this time to even yourself out and set your trim also. I have also seen people tap lead washers to the front of their rebreather to help even them out. The rule of thumb is never add more than 10Lbs. that can’t be released.

Once you get your ballast weight and trim dialed in, you will be ahead of about 75% of all divers toward perfect buoyancy control. Now you can fine-tune your BC inflation to compensate for the very predictable changes due to breathing down your tank and changing depth.

Lastly, there are advanced classes that you can take that focus on advanced skills like this. This may seem like a lot of work, but it will help make diving a lot better and make you more efficient at your job.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Combined Operations Assault Pilotage Parties

Sunday, September 4th, 2022

As I am sure you can tell, I love history. I find it amazing that even today, you can read something about WW2 that you never knew about. There were so many specialty units that sometimes it was hard to say, “Oh, this group gets its roots from…” Combined Operations is one of those groups, and they had so many smaller Units / Parties (I think I might have liked being part of “Parties” more than a Team. So, it would be “I am a party guy” and not “I am a Team guy”) that we are just now finding out about that they might not have been the father of some groups today. Still, they might have been the mother or the ugly step-sister.

While serving in the Second World War, Nigel Clogstoun-Willmott established the Combined Operations Assault Pilotage Parties (COPP), which were responsible for covert beach reconnaissance. This proved to be critical in the success of the Allied seaborne invasion campaign. Amphibious force attacks on land and sea are among the most dangerous of all military operations. Apart from the fact that they necessitate the precise coordination of armed forces on the ground, air, and sea, they might also be subjected to various issues associated with landing on foreign enemy beaches.

Among these are tidal roughness, inadequate sand and shingle texture, steep beach gradients, and restricted beach exits, for example. Various enemy defenses, including mines, beach obstructions, pill boxes, and gun emplacements, can make natural disasters more dangerous and challenging to overcome. Nigel Clogstoun-Willmott, an accomplished navigator in the Royal Navy, was one of the few who truly understood the gravity of the risks involved. He recognized that amphibious troops must be carefully directed into coastal waters by men who had been deployed to the coast ahead of the fleet.

Furthermore, he recognized that the only way to resolve these issues truly was to conduct a thorough reconnaissance of the proposed beach landing sites, work that would require men skilled in navigation, hydrography (marine surveying), and engineering to land covertly on the beaches at night.

Of all special forces operations, beach reconnaissance was one of the most clandestine and risky. The men engaged were forced to conduct their operations right under the noses of the enemy, knowing that if they were arrested and interrogated, their intelligence might jeopardize the entire operation and their lives.

In 1910, Clogstoun-Willmott was born in the Indian city of Shimla. A senior engineer, his father worked on significant infrastructure projects throughout northern India, including the construction of roads and bridges.

He was transported to England for his education, attending Lambroke School and Marlborough College until he was eight. He joined the Royal Navy when he was 17 years old, specializing in navigation and quickly earning a reputation as a creative problem solver and unique thinker.

The fact that he was aware of the dangers of landing on enemy shores came to him early in life. Gallipoli was the first sizeable amphibious operation of modern times, and his uncle ‘Cloggy’ had been severely wounded during the battle in 1915.

As a Beach Master for the landings at Narvik in the far north of the country, Clogstoun-Willmott received first-hand knowledge of these perils during the unsuccessful Norwegian campaign of 1940.

He was charming, courteous, and good-natured, but he was also a military professional who took his duties seriously. He spent a long time reflecting on the lessons learned from this campaign and how amphibious operations should be conducted going forward. In 1941, Clogstoun-Willmott was stationed in the Mediterranean with ‘Layforce,’ a commando group that had been dispatched to the Middle East. With the challenge of attacking the Italian-controlled island of Rhodes, Layforce got his first chance to put his theories into action.

As a result of his collaboration with Captain Roger Courtney, a canoeist who had recently created the Special Boat Section, which was primarily intended for marine reconnaissance operations, he could complete this task. Courtney and Clogstoun-Willmott worked together to conduct the world’s first in-depth military beach reconnaissance mission.

A wide variety of equipment was available, from flimsy cold-water suits made of heavily greased long johns and jumpers to the newest infrared signaling technology and the humble chinagraph pencil for taking notes in dripping wet conditions.

The mission was a resounding triumph. Both soldiers were honored, with Clogstoun-Willmott getting the Distinguished Service Order and Clogstoun receiving the Distinguished Service Medal. However, the valuable information gathered as a result of this work was never put to good use.

As a result of the British being lured into a futile attempt to resist the German invasion of Greece, the mission was called off entirely. Clougstoun-Wilmott was again called upon to serve as a Beach Master, coordinating British forces’ evacuation. His narrow escape from capture came after he commandeered a Greek caique and sailed it to Egypt, where he was one of the last to leave. Not until August 1942, following the failure of a massive raid on the French port of Dieppe, was it realized how essential Clogstoun-theories like Willmott’s were.

Admiral Louis Mountbatten, Director of Combined Operations, approached him and requested him to assemble a team – dubbed ‘Party Inhuman’ – to assist with Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa. He agreed and formed the team. When this endeavor proved successful, it resulted in the formation of the COPP in early 1943. The first order of business for the COPP was to conduct reconnaissance in preparation for the upcoming invasion of Sicily. However, due to insufficient training and equipment, achievement came at a high price this time. Only four of the sixteen guys who were assigned to the mission returned.

Later, Clougtoun-Wilmot, who is by nature a martinet and a training fanatic, collaborated with Mountbatten to guarantee that the COPP had access to the resources it needed to prepare for the invasion. The COPP teams were re-energized and contributed significantly to the Allied landings in Italy after re-energizing. During the D-Day landings, the COPP faced its most difficult challenge. COPP troops were now armed with tiny submarines known as X-craft, as well as specialty landing boats and diving gear, in preparation for the invasion of France.

They carried out a thorough study of the potential beaches and returned samples for analysis to establish that big trucks would be able to pass through them without being damaged. On D-Day itself, COPP personnel were dispatched ahead of the massive invasion fleet to ensure that it arrived safely. This scientific approach to warfare played an essential role in preparing for what was considered the most complex military operation in history.

While D-Day was the apex of the COPP’s operations, the unit also saw significant action in the Far East and the Mediterranean during its tenure. In 1945, it made it easier for people to cross the Rhine into the heart of Germany. Following World War II, the mission of the COPP was absorbed into what is now known as the contemporary Special Boat Service (SBS). They were beneficial during the amphibious operations during the Falklands War in 1982 due to their knowledge and expertise.

Later in life, Clogstoun-Willmott worked for the Navy in several positions and the intelligence agency MI5. At age 81, he passed away in Cyprus in 1992, after continuing to live an active life as a sailor until a few years before his death.

The COPP’s work was so closely guarded that it was not made public until after the Second World War had concluded. In the eyes of the public, Clogstoun-Willmott and his troops of the COPP continue to be unsung heroes of the Special Forces.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Low Volume Masks

Sunday, August 28th, 2022

Why is low-volume important to Combat divers? For anyone who needs to preserve their air while diving or wants a straightforward mask to clear, low-volume masks are the perfect option. These benefits are also great for freedivers and spearfishers. Low-volume masks are necessary for apneic (breath-hold) sports because relatively little air is required to equalize them at deep. The main reason is the air inside the mask will condense as pressure rises with depth.

This means there is less air wasted in the mask. There is also less of a chance of a mask squeeze. The mask is closer to the diver’s face, possibly helping you see better; the diver must equalize the air in the mask to make up for the volume lost if they want to avoid this. They accomplish this by slightly exhaling through their nostrils. Since there is less airspace in a low-volume dive mask, the diver doesn’t have to use as much of their precious breath on it.

Apnea masks are less noticeable and more streamlined than conventional masks due to their low-volume construction. They offer good fields of vision despite their size (sometimes even better than large-window masks!) and are lighter, and it is less weight and room needed to carry two.

Many divers hate mask clearing, and a low-volume mask uses less air to clear. When clearing, you are wasting less air and less chance of losing control of their buoyancy. Inverted teardrop-shaped lenses are standard in low-volume masks, allowing you to view down your body without moving your neck. This is a benefit for some divers because it makes it simpler to check their pressure gauge by simply looking down to see your attack board.

Low-volume masks are an excellent option for backups and spares due to their compact, lightweight design. They fit great into an M16 pouch.

Reducing the size of the glass lenses is one method of creating a low-volume mask. This doesn’t limit your vision as much as you think because the lenses are so close to your face. However, frameless masks are an excellent alternative for anyone who feels uncomfortable or claustrophobic wearing standard low-volume designs. Some apnea masks will say not for diving, those usually have two lenses like the SCUBAPRO Steel Pro Comp, and there is only a piece of rubber between the two. If you dive deep with it, there is a chance that the lens can push in on your face. Therefore they say not for SCUBA diving but for combat diver operations that work well.

The low profile is also suitable for those who want to wear corrective lenses, which function best when placed near your eyes (much like glasses). The SCUBAPRO Zoom and D-mask are an excellent choice for this. All these masks work with the SCUBAPRO comfort stapes that are great for all divers, especially combat divers, as there is a lot less chance of them breaking, and they also work with the SCUBAPRO Odin helmet mask strap. This allows you to attach these masks to Ops-Core, Team Wendy, and Galvion helmet rails.

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Cramps When Diving

Sunday, August 21st, 2022

We’ve always been told that dehydration and accumulation of lactic acid were the driving causes of cramps. Sports drinks have made a ton of money selling us on that, but there is little scientific evidence to support these connections. For dehydration to be a driving factor, you’d probably be displaying clinical signs of dehydration; dizziness, tiredness, dry mouth, lips, and eyes. Instead, the cause of cramps may lie in the reflex nerves that control the muscle. Two sensory receptors are involved: muscle spindles and the Golgi tendon organ (GTO). The GTO senses changes in muscle tension. It lies in the tendonous area at the end of the muscle fiber. If the GTO is stimulated, it sends a reflex signal via the spine and causes the muscle to relax. The muscle spindle is embedded in the muscle itself. The reverse situation occurs if the muscle spindle is stimulated, and a muscle contraction occurs.

Cramp occurs when the reflex’s central nervous system (CNS) control is lost. The GTO becomes inhibited, and the muscle spindles become hyperactive. This leads to sustained activation of the muscle. If we follow this theory, then a muscle’s hyperexcitability is the basis of cramping; therefore, stretching should counteract the cramp. And guess what? We’ve known that for years. Stretches must be held for 15-30 seconds or until the muscles relax. After the cramp has gone, avoiding exercise for the next hour and applying heat will help. This allows the muscle and the CNS to recover.

So how do you avoid leg cramps in the first place?

Usually, you are told to maintain hydration and salt. But with some of the newer studies, that might not help as much as you think, at least for diving. It’s hard to do a controlled trial on yourself; hydrating one leg and not the other is impossible. Instead, we need to think about maintaining healthy reflex arcs. Poor flexibility caused by prolonged sitting, poor posture, or inefficient biomechanics will make it more likely that the reflex malfunctions.

Age is also a factor, and divers who haven’t ever experienced cramps may do so as you get older. Both aspects are increased body weight and eccentric muscle contraction (where the muscle lengthens as the load is greater than the force the muscle can produce). Many publications suggest that the diver’s choice of fins may be the biggest driver of cramps. Weak leg muscles need a smaller, thinner, flexible fin; athletic legs can drive wider, longer, stiffer blades. Fin manufacturers add several features to improve performance, ribs, channels, vents, and the material of the blade. I do believe that they help a lot also. I get a lot less cramps now that I use the SCUBAPRO Seawing Nova, Go Sports, and the New Seawing Supernovas. The SeaWing’s have rips in the fins to help not push on your feet as much when you kick. There are two types of Seawing Nova.

The Seawing Nova and the Seawing Nova Gorillas and there is now the new Seawing Supernovas. The Gorillas are a stiffer fin, and they are great for a working diver or someone in good shape. So, pick the right one for the job you are doing and the environment you will be in. I have been using the Supernovas and I love them, and I have not had any cramps. I am not saying it won’t happen but 6 months in and I am very happy with them.

Your footwear should not be too tight as this will restrict circulation and bone movement in your foot. With the new Supernovas you can adjust the tension on the heel strap. IT has three positions you can set it for. If you are diving in the winter and you add a dive sock to your booties to keep you warm, what you are doing is restricting your circulation, and that will make you cold and cause cramps. If you want to add layers have different sizes booties. The strap should not bite into the back of your heels too tightly, pushing on your Achilles tendon. This can happen if your footwear is too big and you are shoving your foot in and barely getting your strap around you heal or you are afraid you will lose your fin, so you pull the strap tight. Something that could help with this is a self- adjusting fin, like a bungee strap or a steel spring. This will help keep the right pressure on your heel.

However, it’s more likely that repetitive finning motions are driving CNS fatigue and loss of control of the reflex. If you feel cramps starting, change your position, change your fin stroke, and maybe try to float for a bit and allow the CNS to reset. I have used one leg to fin while stretching the other out and trying to keep up with my swim buddy more than once. The other thing that can help is wearing compression clothing. I have been using compression socks for long flights, long dives, workouts, and recovery for a while, making a huge difference. I did a 3-mile ocean swim a couple of months back and didn’t use the sock I usually wear, and I cramped up a lot. I am a massive fan of DFND USA clothing.

Cramping generally affects people that have taken a long break from finning. I say finning and not diving because you don’t have to dive to fin. So, like all your other skills, shooting, moving, and communicating. You need to practice finning, so you stay in finning shape. You should try and swim a couple of times a week. When you are in the pool, swimming with fins on will help strengthen all the smaller muscles. When you are at the gym, don’t just do arms. Do functional workouts that include a lot of exercises for your calves and strengthening the specific muscle groups that cramp when diving. Also try and include foot flexing exercises, as one of the other reasons for cramping is your feet are not used to being pointed for long periods of time,

They include toe raises, one-leg drop squats, and calf raises. Lastly stretch a lot. I am bad at doing it until my knees and body hurts and they I am like “why do I hurt? Oh, Yaa I need to stretch” I am a fan of Active Isolation Stretching (AIS). I carry 1in tubular nylon with me everywhere I travel, it lives in my bags. You can google it and you will find out how to do it. I have used it since BUDS to help with knee pain and it always does.