Diving in Bali – SMB an Essential Kit

September 19, 2021

There is one dive accessory that is essential to have when we go scuba diving in Bali which is the surface marker buoy (SMB) or delay surface marker buoy (DSMB). For some entry level courses, the training in their use has become one of the essential training standards.

Many divers when they are on a diving trip only rely on their instructor or dive guide to have the surface marker buoy. Whilst some divers do learn how to use it, some believe that the surface marker buoy is just a device that they use whenever they reach the end of a dive. What happens if they are separated from their dive guide or instructor? Is it safe to end the dive and to surface without deploying the surface marker buoy in an area of heavy boat traffic?

Figure 1 Diver waiting near the DSMB

Nowadays, many divers don’t fully understand the importance of using a surface marker buoy. Divers must always have access to either a SMB or DSMB on every dive!

A Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) or Delay Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) are the one dive accessory that every diver should have. It is not only for the dive guide in the group to bring this equipment it is a device that every diver should have attached to their BCD.

Unfortunately, some divers don’t understand how to use this device as it is critical to have the surface marker buoy available in the event that an emergency may occur. This device can be life-saving in an emergency especially in an area of heavy boat traffic.

There are six reason why we should have the surface marker buoy when we go scuba diving in Bali:

1. It can save your life.

The worst case that might happen to us while diving in a big group and in heavy boat traffic, is to become separated from the group. This is the time when we need to use this safety device to tell the boat captain that you are ready to surface. This device can alert the boat captain and can mark your position in the water. It makes it safe and easy for the boat captain to spot your position as well before ending your dive.

Figure 2 SMB deployed before ending the dive

2. It not expensive.

This safety accessory is not expensive. It is easy to get in different sizes and colours. The most important thing is it should be bright in colour and easy to spot when in the sea.

3. It is not always easy to rent.

Believe it or not when we go travelling with our own gear, it is very seldom that the dive centre will rent the delay surface marker buoy to their customers. It is because this device is cheap to get, and they think their customer might lose it or steal it from them.

4. We can use it as our extra floatation device.

In the events that one of the valves on your BCD fails, you can use the surface marker buoy as your support to help you float on the surface.

5. You cannot expect that the boat driver will be aware of your bubbles.

One thing to bear in mind is never expect that boat driver will be aware of your bubbles. In a heavy boat traffic area, this device is important to have and to deploy before you end your dive. It will tell the boat driver that divers are ready to end their dive and they will be surfacing in that area. Your boat driver can easily find you with your SMB or DSMB in operation.

Figure 3 Diver waving the SMB to attract attention

6. You can use surface marker buoy to attract attention.

Whenever you are surfacing quite far from the boat, you can always wave your surface marker buoy to attract attention. Its bright in colour will make it easy to see and easy for your boat driver to mark your position before they pick you up.

So, these are the six reasons why we should always carry a Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) or Delay Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) when we go diving in Bali especially in a heavy boat traffic area. This is the device that is a MUST HAVE for every diver when they go diving because this simple device can save your life!!


Jefry Isahak #PADI MSDT-433360

Alpha World Diving


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