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Old 02-09-2013, 12:03   #16
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Re: Dive hookahs

Here was my thought process on the selection.

I have a 110V AirLine unit. 60 foot of line. I run it off a transformer, as my boat is 220V. If you get very far away from the battery on the 12V unit the voltage drop will cause it to run at lower RPM and lower CFM. Might be the reason you can breathe down your 12V unit. After about 6 foot of distance you suffer the voltage drop issue. The gas powered one with the float takes up a lot of space.

But I dont go deeper than 8 foot or so. Its a maintenance tool for me. Wish I could have found one of those free ones mentioned above.

Got a friend with a dive compressor and tanks. BC vest. A nice setup. Costly and takes up space. Also need cert to do it legally.

Any way you slice it we are not really supposed to be underwater so it’s going to cost you.

Stay safe!
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:22   #17
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Re: Dive hookahs

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Could you please explain why, when using a hookah, an emergency ascent from 50 feet is fatal while the same process is a standard event in SCUBA training and is not likely to cause "lights out"?
Jim
Jim, a free ascent from 50 feet isn't part of the BSAC training programme, because of the risk of a burst lung. The practice of sharing a regulator was dropped about a decade ago and now training focuses on using your buddies octopus regulator instead. That could be a tad tricky with a hookah.

There are risks of an untrained diver using hookah to scrub his hull. In clear warm water with someone on hand they could be minimised but diving to 50 with hookah is a real worry particularly for someone not fit, up to date with training and in diving practise. Most of the time there won't be a problem, then something minor will happen which quickly tips someone over the edge into the accident pit.

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Old 02-09-2013, 12:35   #18
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Re: Dive hookahs

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Could you please explain why, when using a hookah, an emergency ascent from 50 feet is fatal while the same process is a standard event in SCUBA training and is not likely to cause "lights out"?

Jim
You may be dating yourself here. Most certification agencies discontinued the old "blow and go" training exercises decades ago because they were inherently unsafe, even when supervised by an instructor.

I'm not up on current standards and procedures, having retired as an instructor around 15 years ago, but it may be safe to say that emergency ascents are always life-threatening, whether done on SCUBA or a hookah system.
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:04   #19
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Re: Dive hookahs

I have a PowerDive (www.powerdive.com) Double Deck Snorkle. It's a 2-person 12vt deck (eg the compressor sits on deck with jumper cables to the house bank) hooka.
It's spec says it will go to 40' with one person (20' with 2 people), but I find the practical effective range is about 30'. You have to learn to breath very slowly.
It was the most powerful unit they offered when I bought it, but I see they now have the 'extreme snorkle' which will (the spec is) go to 80' with one person.
The compressor is the size of a small tool box, and the hoses and accumulator tank go in a medium size duffle bag.
I have found the hooka to be very useful. I routinely use it to clean the bottom, change zincs, getting ropes off the prop, and recover tools and eyeglasses. I have used it to change a prop when autoprop recalled my prop. This summer I used it to recover trapped anchors for two other boats - they were both at 30' depth.
It's also been one of the most reliable pieces of gear on the boat. I have basically done nothing at all to it except carefully fresh water rense it afer each dive.
I have/had a PADI certificate 20 years ago, but have done no formal diving in a long long time. My personal feeling is if I limit it to 30' and am careful its pretty low risk. I tried to recover a 3rd anchor this summer but it was caught in a tangled steel fabrication and I was concerned my hoses (or I) might get caught so I went back up and told the owner to just cut the rode (it was a crappy anchor anyway). I would have worked harder at it if I had a buddy diver who could have untangled me, but alone it just was not worth the risk.
I prefer the 12vt deck set-up to the other alternatives - I can hook into my house bank, which will be much better than any smaller/floating battery, and is much simpler than a maintaining another gasoline engine. The deck set-up also keeps the compressor out of the salt water, which has to improve reliability.
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:07   #20
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Re: Dive hookahs

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Originally Posted by SailorTrish View Post
We are looking to purchase a hookah dive system for checking the anchor, cleaning the bottom and recreational diving. We would like to have the capability of two divers to a depth of 50 feet. We would also like to avoid carrying gasoline. We do not have room for tanks aboard our 36 foot boat. Does anyone have recommendations/reviews of what they have used. At this point in my research, it appears that the Brownie Third Lung is the best, though most expensive, choice.
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The brownie 12 V electrics are clearly more capable than the Airline, though having used the airline gas model with an accumulator tank, I definitely see the value in the accumulator tank and the individual down hoses. What capacity do you have for charging the batteries of the Brownie unit? It looks like the supplied charge requires 110V. Using a dumb charger on starved electrolyte batteries will not produce along life or a full charge. I don't like carrying extra gasoline either, but I already have to carry it for the dinghy. Also don't underestimate the storage space required for these units. By the time you include the hoses they easily take up more room than 2 scuba tanks.
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:24   #21
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Re: Dive hookahs

Here are the thoughts of somebody who has used hookah to earn his living every day for 19 years:

1.- There is no better commercially available, recreational-level hookah gear than that sold by Air Line. IMHO.

2.- When using a hookah you are breathing compressed air underwater. The same dangers exist with hookah as with SCUBA. It is a very good idea to become SCUBA certified if you are not already.

3.- If you are not going to become SCUBA certified, remember two important tips:
A.- Never hold your breath while ascending. From any depth.
B.- Never dive deeper than you can ascend from on a breath or two.

4.- If you build your own, stay away from the cheap, Chinese-made Home Depot compressors. There are plenty of hookah sellers on eBay using these and marketing them as high-end equipment. They are not.

5.- Never, ever use any air hose that was not specifically designed to provide clean breathing air.
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:39   #22
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Re: Dive hookahs

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Originally Posted by Pete7 View Post
Posted by Jim Cate
Could you please explain why, when using a hookah, an emergency ascent from 50 feet is fatal while the same process is a standard event in SCUBA training and is not likely to cause "lights out"?

Jim, a free ascent from 50 feet isn't part of the BSAC training programme, because of the risk of a burst lung. The practice of sharing a regulator was dropped about a decade ago and now training focuses on using your buddies octopus regulator instead. That could be a tad tricky with a hookah.

There are risks of an untrained diver using hookah to scrub his hull. In clear warm water with someone on hand they could be minimised but diving to 50 with hookah is a real worry particularly for someone not fit, up to date with training and in diving practise. Most of the time there won't be a problem, then something minor will happen which quickly tips someone over the edge into the accident pit.

Pete
Thanks Pete for answering the question originally directed to me. If I'm not mistaken, when I took my Padi course, emergency accent I was required to complete was from 30 ft depth which was quite difficult to time... and I always had the instructor right in my face with a spare regulator if I needed one. I'm actually very fit for someone 56yrs, but it took me three tries to pass.

The OP wants to dive down to 50 ft with a dive partner. At that depth with a power failure at the surface cutting off air to both divers at the same moment... who's got the spare air and regulator? If the OP spends any time down at 50ft with a dive partner and there's a failure.... how do they take a required rest stop on the way up in order to prevent decompression complications? With a scuba equipped buddy, no problem, but with hookah... both divers loose air. Then what do they do assuming they make the surface without burst lungs? Begin immediate repairs on the broken hookah in the hopes of diving again?

I'm no expert... but the whole idea of two people diving to 50 ft via hookah, just sounds like a tragedy waiting for a place to happen. IMHO

ken
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:44   #23
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Re: Dive hookahs

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I'm no expert... but the whole idea of two people diving to 50 ft via hookah, just sounds like a tragedy waiting for a place to happen. IMHO
You would be hard pressed to find any recreational-level hookah rig that will support two divers to 50'. Certainly no 12-volt unit is going to do it. But assuming one could make it happen, carrying a bailout bottle would be a good idea.

Spare Air - the smallest redundant SCUBA system available with enough air to get you to the surface in an out-of-air emergency.
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:46   #24
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Re: Dive hookahs

One more thought and concern:

During my scuba training on the second day, I had an experience where the regulator filled with salt water and I was unable to clear it, so in a panic I held my breath and began to surface from only about 15 ft down. My instructor immediately grabbed me and shoved his regulator into my mouth in order to force me to breath and probably saved my life.

Now here on this thread, we have people, some or many with no formal training looking to buy or make their own hookah system. There are no shortcuts to scuba diving.... only consider a hookah system if you've already completed a scuba course.
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:59   #25
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Re: Dive hookahs

I used one for years for hull cleaning and underwater repairs. Mine worked great. I paid about $400 on Ebay but next time I'll just order the regulator and hose and make my own. Mine was a 120v electric system that I ran off my batteries via a 2000 watt inverter. I ran the main engine up to about 1500rpm while diving though just to keep the batteries up.

One time in Georgetown, Exuma we anchored in front of town went shopping and when we returned we had no engine power. That is no thrust, the engine ran fine. A qyuck look over the side confirmed that we had lost our $2000 feathering prop prop. Since the prop got us there, I assumed that we lost it backing down on the anchor. I got the hookah going and swan ever increasing circles around the boat and sure enough I found it. Forunately, I also found the nut parts but we had lost the shaft key. A friend had a spare shaft key and thanks to the hookah I was able to replace the prop and get it properly tight.

I loved mine but I never went deeper than maybe 5ft under the keel. In the Bahamas it's illegal to get lobster with diving gear anyway so I always free dove for the critters. However, I do know to exhale on ascent.
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Old 02-09-2013, 14:53   #26
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Re: Dive hookahs

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You may be dating yourself here. Most certification agencies discontinued the old "blow and go" training exercises decades ago because they were inherently unsafe, even when supervised by an instructor.

I'm not up on current standards and procedures, having retired as an instructor around 15 years ago, but it may be safe to say that emergency ascents are always life-threatening, whether done on SCUBA or a hookah system.
I don't mind dating myself at all, but I consider this a major inadequacy in modern scuba training resulting in dead divers. I was certified 45 years ago and the primary focus of training was what to do when your equipment failed, not if. In those days there were no such things as octopus regulators, (many were two hosed). We were required to make free ascents in the pool from the deep end under supervision may times each session. The idea was to make an equipment failure nothing to panic about. In 45 years of diving I have had a couple of free ascents (one from 120 feet) and a couple of buddy breathing ascents, though admittedly none since the early 80s as equipment has become much more dependable. One can never count on ones buddy to be in the right place at the right time in case of an equipment failure. In all both occasions where I did the free ascent my buddy was in a position that they were unavailable to me. This can happen easier than you think. If you don't know how to extricate yourself you're likely to become just another diving statistic. I, on occasion, make a free ascent when leaving the bottom just to make sure I still can. I have a dive buddy who was certified with me and has a gas airline hookah with an accumulator tank. We tested it and found that we had more than two minutes of air before we noticed it getting harder to breathe just sitting on the bottom at 20 feet after the engine was turned off. While ascending the reduced pressure actually made it easier until we got to the surface. Of course I knew what a regulator running out of air felt like as I was trained so long ago. Someone trained in the last 25 years might not even recognize the problem. When my kids got their training in the 90's I was amazed at how dumbed down the training had become since I was trained. One was YMCA and the other was PADI. The Y training was poor enough, but I considered my daughter's PADI open water certification just a lesson on how to kill yourself underwater. It seemed to me simply a marketing gimmick by dive store owners designed to get people in the water as fast as they could so they could sell them equipment. At least the YMCA had no commercial interest in promoting diving to the masses. Too bad they have gotten out of the business. I think that untrained divers should take a basic scuba course just to familiarize themselves with the physics and basic techniques like clearing your mask. It will do nothing to save them in case of a hookah equipment failure. There are no octopus regulators, No fancy buoyancy compensators (your buoyancy doesn't change with depth or how much air you have in your tank). Your buddies' air supply is the same as yours so if yours fails so does his. If your regulator fails and his is working you need to buddy breathe or make a free ascent. Oops they don't teach that in scuba training any more. Why? They store owner sponsoring the training will sell you any number of expensive pieces of equipment that you can use in place of competent training. Want to learn to use them, take another $300 course(ops that was the 90s maybe $600 now?). Of course the answer to all of this is to take the scuba course, buy all of the equipment and wear it as a backup to your hookah. You won't be able to swim with everything on mind you, but you are properly equipped.

It really is too bad there isn't a good hookah course available, but hookah users are likely to be diving from their own boats without the supervision and payment of someone involved in the dive industry. No dive boat operator, no dive master, no dive resort, only an occasional visit to a dive shop for the occasional replacement of a mask fins and snorkel and perhaps a wet suit. Why would the dive industry develop such a course? They would not of course.

Rant over.
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Old 02-09-2013, 14:57   #27
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Re: Dive hookahs

Based on the dangers of blue water sailing in general...it's pretty hard to get excited about the dangers of using a hooka.

Most of the things a cruising boater does has some inherent danger and making sure you are well educated on it makes the difference.

I also recommend a basic scuba course but in reality...panic will kill even well trained, experienced divers. So if you are prone to panic and aren't willing to hooka or SCUBA gradually getting comfort and experience...then you are a danger to yourself.

If you are an experienced diver and don't dive regularly, feel extremely comfortable, and ensure your equipment is properly maintained... then you too are probably a danger to yourself.

Hookas like a lot of man made things aren't dangerous by themselves (unless made improperly) they are just a danger in the hands of fools.
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Old 02-09-2013, 14:58   #28
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Re: Dive hookahs

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Originally Posted by Bash View Post
You may be dating yourself here. Most certification agencies discontinued the old "blow and go" training exercises decades ago because they were inherently unsafe, even when supervised by an instructor.

I'm not up on current standards and procedures, having retired as an instructor around 15 years ago, but it may be safe to say that emergency ascents are always life-threatening, whether done on SCUBA or a hookah system.
Yeah, my years are showing (again!). I was trained under NASDI back in the early 70's and emergency ascents were SOP training then. Long before the octopus regs, or even BCs became standard equipment. To this day by preference I dive with only a backpack... but it is pretty benign diving in good conditions.

We still carry tanks on board (Ann is a diver too) but without a compressor they are generally reserved for emergencies. We were loaned a hookah a few years ago and I now use it for utility work on the boat and find it a most useful bit of kit for that. It will never replace a tank for pleasure diving for me, though. The combination of the drag from the hose and the ~30 foot depth limit are pretty limiting for me.

And for those who posted about any emergency ascent being a life threatening event... it may not be popular now, but thousands of divers were required to do them and few of them died from it so the threat may not be a severe one! I was glad that I'd had the training once when I foolishly ran out of air at about 75 feet whilst trying to retrieve my buddy's fin after he dropped it reentering the dive boat. No ill effects, but I will admit to some fearful thoughts during the ascent period (which seemed to last hours).

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 02-09-2013, 15:06   #29
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Re: Dive hookahs

I carried a Brownie Third Lung for years. It had a Honda engine that ran and started great. I am sure it paid for itself just in bottom and prop cleaning. As for anchor checking and recreational diving , forget it. To big a pain to drag it out and set it up. Practice free diving instead.
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Old 02-09-2013, 16:30   #30
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Re: Dive hookahs

Just had a HookaMax delivered to Australia & that was a good service by the supplier. Yes I could have made one better & cheaper but ran out of time. The only problem was an old weight belt I had keeped slipping down due to lack of body contour at the same point where the belt was meant to fit!! I think I need braces. The total cost was less than the cost of a diving course just to get bottles filled. The unit is running at 60psi & the second stage is adjustable. They supply 50 & 100' hoses. On a small boat if the battery supply is limited then you can run the main engine for the dive period. Any house battery will do the job. Any one who has used snorkel would have no trouble using a hookah for boat work.

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