New Diving Offer a Deathtrap in the Making!

A new way for potential divers to die horribly is selling fast on Kickstarter!

Earlier today I saw the offer for Scorkl. If you’ve ever seen ‘Spare Air’s’ patented product then you know what it looks like. It’s exactly that, but with different branding, plus extra dangers.

You may remember that in the past we warned you about the artificial gills offer.

This isn’t the dangerous product, it is the product they ripped off.

I feel this article is necessary, as on the surface their offer seems excellent. A way for potential divers to start diving for very little money. That means it will tempt a lot of people that can’t afford training or equipment.

It’s a clone product but without warnings!

Spare Air is a small 3000psi canister with a regulator on top. The purpose of this device is that if you run out of air while diving, or encounter equipment malfunction, you stick Spare Air in your mouth and you have 5 minutes roughly to get back to the surface. That product is targeted at divers, and I’ve not got any problem with it.

Scorkl’s offer is a clone product, as far as I can see. It has the same capacity, regulator, psi, but with a deadly twist!

The Scorkl isn’t being marketed as a way for trained divers to get to the surface in an emergency. Instead, it is being pitched at non-divers with zero training. They present it as a way to start diving, instantly and without training.

This is how they’ll die!

This means completely untrained people will buy their product and follow their advice on diving to 20m. I know this for a fact, as in the comments page on Kickstarter, there are non-divers stating that this is their intention.

Only when they run out of air will they know it’s time to surface, as they have no dive computer.  They know nothing of safety stops, they’ll just suddenly run out of air.  When they do they’ll hold their breath and try to panic-surface from 20m. Pulmonary barotrauma here we come!

If you aren’t a diver you may not realize the problem. Air expands as you reduce pressure. So if you hold your breath while surfacing from 20m (as you’ve run out of air) then there is a good chance you will die.

They say you shouldn’t dive beyond 20m using Scorkl but here’s another problem; an untrained diver without equipment doesn’t have the necessary equipment to know how deep they are. This means people without training will be diving to an unknown depth, with an unknown quantity of air, often unsupervised. And often entirely alone!

The next problem is that Scorkl supposedly provides you with 10 minutes of air. However, we already know that the Spare Air product has the same capacity and pressure, and only provides air in most cases for between 3-5 minutes. Unless the laws of physics are a bit flexible around the Scorkl, it’s a safe bet that it will really only provide the same time as Free Air’s product.

IT ACTUALLY GET’S WORSE!

You probably think you’ve heard the worst of it. Nope, they went the extra mile.

If you’re a scuba diver you already know that your tanks need to be inspected every 2 years, and can only be filled with air by a certified shop. This is because contaminates in the air supply stop being an inconvenience under pressure, and become lethal. Special filters, equipment, and training is required so as to avoid killing divers.

Comments on the pageTheir method of filling the tank….is a foot pump. An actual foot pump, much like you’d use to inflate a football. They have a little filter device on the end of the pump, that isn’t certified, but there is at least that. Just to clarify, having done the math I believe you would need to pump for many hours to get even 3 minutes of air into their tank using the supplied foot pump. And I strongly suspect their optimistically designed filter isn’t going to compare to the legally required alternative.

I’m not a fan of slamming someone’s business. However, in my opinion (as everything in this article is my personal opinion) it is important that we warn potential divers when things will endanger them.

I cannot warn you strongly enough that if you are an untrained person, this device is as likely to kill you as let you have 3 minutes of entertainment after you’ve spent 3 hours pumping air into the tank.

The comments section of their campaign is also some essential reading. Many divers have donated $1 so they could warn others that this is essentially a form of suicide.

I’m not linking to the campaign, even though it would help this article, as I don’t want anyone to be tempted by the price. I want everyone to dive, I really do, but if you can’t do it safely then please stick with snorkeling.

UPDATE!

The product creator has contacted us to tell us what we got wrong.  We have responded with a follow on article covering this response, and that can be found here.

About the Author ColinP

Colin is an inventor, author, guitar player, amateur scientist and steampunk enthusiast. During his years as a ships navigator his luck was so consistently bad that he was briefly known as 'Jonah', presumed cursed, and subsequently barred from setting foot on any boat docked in Ireland. Due to his misadventures he spent more time underwater than most divers will achieve in a lifetime. Not deliberately, but he was still down there!

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8 comments
jim arneson says June 10, 2017

Thanks for the info..this is truly a dangerous product. .every non diver should be put on notice of the risk associated with the Spare Air

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TERENCE GOH says June 11, 2017

They got rich with $1 comments instead of launching their products, that was strategy all along.. Well played

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Dougall Meloney says June 12, 2017

I was an instructor for ten years, and a commercial diver for twenty. This sort of irresponsible crap makes me furious. It’s also a huge detriment to the sport. Imagine, a few years out, this product is on the market (I really hope not), and two or three young people go fooling around with it in a quarry and die unpleasant deaths. 1. obvious wrongful death lawsuit 2. tragedy of course 3. morally indefensible on the part of the manufacturer 4. a big black eye for the sport of diving, and a source for ‘We need more regulation of divers!’. I have seen this product posted about on Face Book, and I always make a comment about the potential danger.

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    Johnathan Kazmierczak says June 15, 2017

    PADI Divemaster, NAUI Advanced Diver

    Agreed. 100%

    Reply
Robert "Pancho" Thiry says June 13, 2017

I would like to state that this product, *when used as intended* will likely cause injury or death.

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Dangerous Scuba Product Creator Responds! - We Dive Too says June 14, 2017

[…] The original article can be found here: Here […]

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Johnathan Kazmierczak says June 15, 2017

As a PADI Dive Master and NAUI Advanced diver I can say this… The way this is filled with a hand pump, and marketed to individuals “in the party” mode, shown diving alone (of course they are not, they had a camera person there, but the image of the individual without a visible buddy was portrayed several times), no gauge, no low pressure warning, no training…. is a disaster waiting to happen. Further suggesting to uninformed public that proper training is a hassle and proper equipment is unnecessary is beyond contempt. One comment I read was inquiring on how to tell if they were low on air in a cave, I almost had a heart attack (then realized it was most likely a trolling attempt). However the genuine interest generated shown by the public eager to bypass all safety concerns posted by divers and physicians is truly terrifying.

As a dive community, both free divers and scuba, let us make the concerted effort to educate the public and make it easy for them to actually do it the right way. In short, all instructors and dive masters please be open to more discover scuba classes. All certified divers, please if you hear someone talk about this, educate them and offer to help them learn the proper and safe way to dive. Free divers, please educate on the fact that “freediving” means no regulator in your mouth, warn them about blackouts and the training for proper breathing, then offer to help them learn the safe and proper way to free dive. If a free diver takes a spare air with him, they should have a scuba certificate so they know how to safely use it.
Finally….

Where do I start the class action law suit for the soon to be deceased’s family members to sign up, or at the very least… a “GoFundMe” page for the victims of deliberate marketing improper use of life support equipment?

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Public Health Warning says June 23, 2017

[…] surface. Please don't use them. DIVERS CONDEMN COMPRESSED AIR KITS AS DEATHTRAPS – DIVE Magazine New Diving Offer a Deathtrap in the Making! – We Dive Too If you see anyone using them, either advise them about how dangerous they are or walk away. I […]

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