"Why the heck didn't I buy a safety sausage?" This is what you will be thinking (besides a few choice words, of course) if you surface a distance away from the dive boat and the boat doesn't see you.
Whether you lost the group underwater or got carried away with the current, it is never a good feeling.
And surfacing and only barely seeing the dive boat does not help matters.
You may think it is easy to see you while you are at the surface. Trust me, it's not. Divers will pretty much blend in with the water, especially if there are waves and whitecaps. You need something to make you stand out and attract the attention of the dive boat.
This is where a scuba sausage comes into play. It is one of the cheaper scuba diving accessories to buy and one you will be infinitely grateful to have if you ever need one. So let's get started.
It is actually a very simple device. Most sausages are long, thin tubes made of brightly colored material. You fill them with air so you will be visible from quite a distance away. They are rolled up and can fit into a BC pocket or attached to clip on a scuba bcd.
What should I look for in a safety sausage?
There are many different sized sausages out there but you should get one that is at least 6 foot long (even taller is better). Think of it. If there are any kind of swells or waves, you want the sausage to be able to be seen over the waves.
Get one made of heavy material. The last thing you want is a sausage that rips at the seams when you fill it with air. Might as well not have one at all.
Sausages come in many different colors. Fluorescent yellow and orange are usually cited as being the best colors. Bright orange is usually recommended as being the easiest color to see in most conditons.
OK, you're at the surface and have determined that the dive boat cannot see you. Don't panic. Take out your safety tube and unroll it. You can inflate it orally, with your regulator (or octopus) or with your BC inflator hose depending on the type of sausage you have.
It is a good idea to practice inflating your safety device before you dive with it. You will be stressed enough if you ever need to use it, so you don't want this to be the time to practice using it. The sooner you get it out, the better - especially if you are in a current.
Sausages can also get holes in them so it is also a good idea to inflate the device before you dive to make sure all is OK.
Hold the sausage up so the dive boat can see you. The sausage should stand upright but sometimes in windy conditions it may bend over. Do the best you can to get it to stand straight so it is easier to spot. Once the dive boat sees your, leave the sausage inflated so other boat traffic will also be able to spot you.
You should try and have the sausage attached to you in some way. The last thing you want is the device to be blown away from you and watch the boat going after the sausage and not you.
This scuba safety sausage should do the trick. No more debating about the color. It has the two highest recommended colors - yellow on one side and orange on the other side.
I highly recommend getting a dive safety sausage. You never know what will happen. They don't cost much and it could save your life. It will be the last thing you want to use, but if you need it, you will sure be glad you have it.
Have a safe dive!
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