Much copied but never bettered – The BUDDY SMBC (SMB closed) was developed by the same UK design team at A.P.Valves that produced the world beating Commando bcd.
A real gem of a product, the 1.4m x 20cm wide orange sausage shaped SMBC was developed in the early 1990s and quickly became a standard part of most divers’ kit.
The SMBC is simply inflated by purging a regulator or air gun in the open end. The really clever bit is in the mouth, where a unique self-sealing baffle – or duckbill valve – is forced shut forming an airtight seal on inflation and preventing the buoy from accidentally deflating on the surface.
The SMBC also features a stream-lining flap which closes over the mouth when used in a current to prevent any sea-anchor effect. It also has an over-pressure/dump valve which prevents the buoy from bursting and allows deflation after use. Because the SMBC stays inflated it is easy for the surface crew to track or for the diver to hold aloft and wave if separated from the boat.
Simply attach a line or reel and you have a superb delayed action decompression marker buoy or alternatively it can be inflated at the start of a dive and towed as a standard surface marker. The SMBC is pulled upright by tension on the line and clearly marks the diver’s position.
All BUDDY SMBs now come in high visibility contrasting Red and Yellow or all-Yellow versions – which are ideal for use as Signal Buoys – for example as an emergency signal to warn the surface support of an impending “out-of-gas” situation (or any other pre-arranged communication). A message slate, strobe or identification marker can also be attached to a top eyelet.