After giving our impressions of the Scorkl, which was to avoid it, the Scorkl team contacted us. Did you guess they were sending love? If you did, you were wrong.
They have attempted to tell us what we got wrong in the last article. Well…
They started out as they meant to go on. They started by accusing us of ‘slander’. Slander is of course ‘spoken’, not written. It also doesn’t apply to this situation. In many ways that set the tone.
If it helps…I never read my articles aloud?
Aside from that, we have the right and responsibility to warn people of a product we believe will put them in danger.
The original article can be found here: Here
It’s worth noting that at the time the article was posted, their campaign FAQ was empty. Everything they have tried to use as a defense is in the now-added FAQ. I don’t believe people should need to hunt through the fine print about issues that make a product useless for the assumed purpose, or unsafe for it.
They say that nowhere on the page does it state they advise diving to 20m.
They then included an excerpt from the FAQ (that they’ve now added) as proof. That starts off with the words…and I’m not even joking, I’ll include the image…”The Scorkl can operate to 20m.”
It goes on to say they suggest staying above 10m. However, if you tell non-divers it will work to 20m, they will dive to 20m. At least that is my opinion on human nature. This is especially true as the FAQ wasn’t even posted at the time that many backed their campaign. It seems a fairly large detail to hide in the fine print in any case.
If you hunt in the FAQs, (which previous backers couldn’t do, as they hadn’t added it yet,) it says non-scuba trained users should stay above 3m.
The problem there is that this is hidden unless you hunt through the FAQ – reading the fine print.
I would suggest the reason for this choice is as follows: If they had been clear in the video that non divers can only go 3m then a lot of backers wouldn’t have backed them. I could be wrong but that’s my guess.
The whole pitch of the product in my opinion is that you can use it to dive as if you had scuba gear, but for less time and cost. Watch any of their videos or read their Facebook page and you tell me if it seems obvious that a buyer should stay above 3m unless certified and trained?
Read the FAQ they’ve now added and see for yourself. If you’re happy that this is all that is needed then you’re more generous than myself, and that’s your right.
Next they say, “Although we make the claim Scorkl can provide “up to 10 minutes” underwater, we certainly do not assert all customers will experience this as you allege.”
They did say “up to 10 minutes.” I assumed that meant using it for 10 minutes was possible. It seems it is. However, it’s worth noting that to achieve that “up to 10 minutes” you need to…I’ll just post their suggestion as it seems ridiculous to me.
So as they state, it is one breath every 10 seconds if you want to be able to use it for the 10 minutes.
The reason that isn’t safe (in our opinion) is that it would expose novices to more problems than normal scuba diving. Holding your breath repeatedly for small amounts of time isn’t good for you. You not only have the problems caused by prolonged low oxygen levels, you could also get carbon dioxide toxicity, leading to respiratory acidosis. Also you’re not off gassing nitrogen properly. We certainly don’t feel 10 minutes is an appropriate time to breath like this.
You may disagree. If so, you could always try taking one breath every 10 seconds while sitting in your chair, waving your arms about. See if you make the full 10 minutes. (Don’t actually try that, it’s not safe, I’m being sarcastic.)
Anyone that dives should know that holding your breath doesn’t decrease the need for oxygen, all it does is increase the your CO2 related issues, so doesn’t work as a solution to stretching an available air source.
This is quite well known. Here are 2 articles explaining the process.
‘Thoughts’ gives a great layman’s explanation that is very easy to digest. Also it notably starts with this paragraph. “If you remember one rule of scuba diving, make it this: Breathe continuously and never hold your breath.
During open water certification, a scuba diver is taught that the most important rule in scuba diving is to breathe continuously and to avoid holding his breath underwater.”
The GUE goes into depth with the science behind it.
And one more for luck. Here Wiki explain Hypercapnia, and if you scroll down to the section on diving, you’ll see there is very little doubt about the dangers.
As for the air lasting 1hr+ if you’re freediving…well, yeah! Obviously. It would last even longer than that if you were playing golf or riding a horse.
I think it’s fair when talking to the public to be clear. If you say you could use a product for a given amount of time, they are going to assume it’s actually in use during all of that time.
For instance, if you aren’t breathing through the product because you are free diving (and are merely holding it,) you may as well be sat at home “using it” by watching TV while holding it.
One of us is wrong about whether or not the definition of using a product implies the words “Safely,” and “Actually using it and not just carrying it about.”
That would be from the FAQ they’ve now added. They go on to say the air quality out of their foot pump is great, in a long winded way.
Maybe it is, maybe you don’t need to get canisters checked each year. Maybe getting certification to fill tanks is pointless. And maybe all safety regulations are pointless. Le sigh!
As for the time that it takes to pump up the canister – I said 3 hours as I think it would take me 3 hours. I’m pretty sure it would take a lot of people 3 hours, but that’s not universal by any means.
They pointed me to their FAQ which says…
If you think the average person can work that overheating foot pump, under pressure, at 50 strokes per minutes, for 12 minutes, good luck to you.
I’m guessing the average person would require a lot of rest stops, and would be pumping at a considerably slower speed. They mention it would require rest stops due to overheating. I’m not even going to get into my opinions on overheating foot pumps and your air supply.
He has said to us that he will be information kit that explains the dangers and safe use of the kit. This could certainly be good news for anyone who might receive this concept as an actual product in the future. Since we have no idea what it will contain, we cannot say for sure.
I still don’t think it’s a safe. I’ve not seen anything to convince me that this is being marketed honestly, or will be released without potentially leading to deaths.
In case the definition of honest marketing seems complex, that means being up front about who the product is for, and what it will do for them.
Bonus hint: vital information that could lead to death if used incorrectly doesn’t get hidden in a FAQ. Especially one that you only add when criticized.
While we strongly support innovation and would-be small businesses, we must weigh that against our concern for the public’s safety. In this case, potential injury and even death weigh heavier than the potential product’s benefits.
Due to the comments of people like ourselves and other divers, we are already seeing some positive changes in their Kickstarter campaign. The FAQ is one such example. Hopefully they will eventually make their product completely transparent.
So in conclusion, I still don’t advise backing this campaign.
On the bright side, he doesn’t need to create any kits to make money. With so many divers donating $1 to comment on the dangers of his kit he is already making money.
As with our original article, this is our opinion. While it is shared by many, it is by no means universal, and we advise you to do your own research.
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!