Do You Know The History Of Scuba?

As humans we have had a fascination with the ocean for thousands of years but what was the earliest reference to our beloved sport?

3000 BC-The history of scuba diving begins with early divers using breath-hold diving to harvest oysters. They developed a bone deformity today known as surfer’s ear. This was due to frequent exposure to cold water (technically free diving). 

1250 BC-In the Iliad Homer refers to military divers in the Trojan War. 

500 BC-A Greek diver Scyllias used a reed snorkel to attack Persian ships in Syracuse. 

332 BC-Aristotle records the use of the first diving bell. Alexander the Great descends to the seabed inside a glass barrel during the siege of Tyre.

Alexander's Glass Diving Bell
1500-Leonardo da Vinci designs equipment for exploring underwater. There is no evidence that he ever tested his self-contained-underwater-breathing-apparatus (SCUBA). 

1600-Robert Boyle studies the relationship between water pressure and gas volumes. This is known as Boyle’s Law. 

1691-Edmund Halley designs a diving bell with a glass top to admit light. He used barrels lowered from the surface to replenish the air inside the bell. Divers could use an air hose that was tethered to the inside of the bell to explore short distances outside. 

1715-John Lethbridge, an English inventor, uses a pressure-proof wooden barrel to become the first successful salvage diver. The barrel had a glass viewing porthole and watertight leather sleeves. These allowed the diver to see and retrieve items from depths up to 60 ft/18m. 

1779-Englishman John Smeaton develops a pump system that supplies fresh air to diving bells. 

1829-British salvage operators John and Charles Dean develop a diving helmet made from a firefighting helmet into which air could be pumped. 

1840-A German inventor, Augustus Siebe develops a closed dress diving suit. The suit was made up of a diving helmet sealed to a waterproof canvas suit. The helmet had an exhaust valve that allowed air to be pumped into the suit from the surface. For more than a 100 years this closed dress diving suit was standard for deep sea divers and a landmark in the history of scuba diving. 

1865-The first compressed air breathing apparatus with a demand system was developed by two French inventors, Benoit Rouquayrol and August Denayrouze. This allowed short periods of diving without an air line to the surface. 

1878-The first fully independent breathing apparatus was designed by English merchant seaman Henry Fleuss. The apparatus used compressed oxygen as a breathing gas. 

1878-Breathing compressed air at depth for long periods of time is determined to be the cause of Caissons Disease (this is now known as Decompression Sickness). This is first studied by French scientist Paul Bert. 

1893-Frenchman Louis Boutan develops the first underwater camera.

22 Vintage Scuba Equipment
The evolution of scuba diving equipment continues into the 20th century with the development of neoprene dive suits, rubber fins, underwater cameras and advances in breathing respirators. 

1908-After studying the effects of gas poisoning and decompression sickness, J. S. Haldane develops the first dive tables. Divers are able to dive to 210ft/65m. They avoid DCS by performing decompression stops.

1911-The German company Drager builds and markets oxygen rebreathers. Rebreathers are used by the military in both World Wars to avoid telltale bubble trails. 

1925-Yves Le Prieur, a French naval officer, designs and builds an open circuit compressed air respirator. This non-cycling respirator in considered to be the forerunner of modern scuba. 

1930-William Beebe descends to a depth of 1,426 ft/435m in a bathysphere. This diving vehicle is tethered and launched from a ship. In 1934, the bathysphere reaches a depth of almost 3000ft/925m. 

1933-Louis de Cortieu, a French inventor, develops rubber fins to help in swimming underwater. 

1941-Italian navy divers use rebreathers to attack allied ships during WWII. 

On the horizon a French naval officer stands ready to make a major contribution to the history of scuba diving. This mans research changes scuba diving from a military exercise to a recreational sport that today is enjoyed by millions of diver’s world wide. 

1942-Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagan develop a compressed air breathing apparatus with a demand valve that supplies air to the diver with the slightest inhale. The Aqua-Lung, as it was known, when on sale in France in 1945. By the 1950’s the Aqua-Lung could be purchased world wide. 

1948-Jacques Cousteau’s Aqua-Lung goes on sale in the U. S.

Aqua Lung
1953-The first neoprene wet suit is developed for the U. S. Navy by Dr. Hugh Bradner. 

1956-The diving film “The Silent World” by Jacques Cousteau earns its place in the history of scuba diving by winning the Golden Palm at the Caans film Festival and an Academy Award. 

1959-The YMCA organizes the first national scuba diving training program in the U. S. 

The history of scuba diving witnesses a boom-time in the 1960’s with the invention of the Aqua-Lung, the price of scuba diving equipment falling and the organization of formal training for recreational diving. 

1961-The first buoyancy compensator was invented by Frenchman Maurice Fenzy. This was the first BC to be available for purchase by the general public. 

1966-The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is founded by John Cronin and Ralph Erickson. This organization specializes in recreational diving. 

1968-John Gruener and Neal Watson use compressed air to dive to a depth of 437 ft/133 m. 

1979-Sylvia Earl descends to a depth of 1250 ft/381 m in a special pressure suit and walks untethered on the ocean floor. 

1980-A non-profit organization that promotes diving safety, Divers Alert Network, is founded at Duke University in Durham N. C. 

1983-The Orca Edge, the first commercially available dive computer, goes on sale. 

1999-Mark Andrews, a British diver, descends to 500 ft/152 m on compressed air.

2000-DiveStyle opens for training in Reading, Berkshire.

2003-Mark Elliot, a British diver, descends to 1,024 ft/152 m breathing Trimix, a gas mixture for scuba diving. 

As recreational diving develops, more emphasis is put on training, safety and the protection of the underwater world, after all there is no point in scuba diving if we have nothing to look at!

The history of scuba diving has evolved from hollow reed breathing tubes and diving bells to rebreathers and submersible diving vehicles. With advances in technology and our knowledge of the human body there is no limit to how deep we believe we can dive.

Reward For Forces

Reward for Forces

What DiveStyle provides?

As an ex-serviceman the owner was extremely keen to show his support.

The benefits for any member of the scheme are as follows:

  • 10% of SRP on all courses
  • 10% of SRP on all retail purchases

These discounts cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount scheme

For more information click here

14 Day Money Back Guarantee

14 Day Money Back Guarantee

What DiveStyle provides?

At DiveStyle we are not only proud of the service we provide but also confident in the quality of the service we provide

That is why for anyone that learns to dive with DiveStyle we offer a money back guarantee on the cost of the training.

We will refund the cost of the course minus the course materials and your first pool session (£90).

So what is the catch?

There is none. All we ask is that you declare your issue with the instructor.

The dive centre will then be in touch to arrange for you to pop in and see the centre manager. He will sit down in a very informal meeting and discuss what happened and try to identify what the issues are or were.

After all we can learn a great deal from any feedback (positive or negative) and then put a plan into place to adjust our training and services appropriately.

For more information click here

No Need To Trek To The Dive Show In The Snow!

You dont need the dive show to get fantastic deals at DiveStyle!

Don’t let your dreams of buying that new dive gear drift away as the snow drifts in.

Dive Show Package Deal – Valid until 17:00 23rd March 2013

It may horrid weather but we will here at the center but we will be ready and waiting.

Buy a full package from any manufacturer and enjoy a 20% discount

Package contains

  • 1st Stage
  • 2nd Stage
  • Octopus
  • BCD
  • Pressure Gauge

Add a computer and we will give you an additional 5%

As you walk through the door you we will be waiting with a hot cup of tea or coffee, a warm smile and service that lasts a lifetime!

The dive show is once a year, we are here all year long, regardless of the weather and always ready to serve.

March Madness!!! – Open Water Referral £199.99

Book, pay before the end of March, pick any course in 2013.

It is really that simple!

Contact the dive centre, pick a date, pay the course fee in full and a welcome pack including all of your training materials will be ready for you to collect at the dive centre.

Can’t get to the centre to pick up your materials? No problem, just pay for the postage (£3.50).

Offer ends the 31st March 2013.
Offer not available to previously booked course.
Offer not available to courses already booked.
Offer not available online.

Corporate Team Building – Add A Little Depth To Your Colleagues Lives!

Add Depth To Your Colleagues Lives!

Add Depth To Your Colleagues Lives!

Want to intro scuba to your company or business? Then why not come along to DiveStyle and get a 2-4-1 on discover scuba. That is only £12.50 for a 2 hour course! Bring 10 of your colleagues and you go for free!

Call us at the dive centre or drop us a line at

Add a little depth to your colleagues lives!

The PADI Discover Scuba Diving programme run by DiveStyle lets you experience the thrill of diving – in a local pool. During your adventure dive, a PADI diving Professional will introduce you to some basic dive concepts and scuba diving skills as well as a few games to add some fun!

Tailored to your company needs, DiveStyle offers corporate team building days, evenings or entire weekends centred around scuba diving.

PADI’s Discover Scuba Diving programme is not only a thrilling, life changing experience for the individual employee – it’s also a powerful team experience that significantly improves the way your staff work together and solve tasks.

Something For Valentines Day?

Valentine Gifts For Scuba Divers

Valentine Gifts For Scuba Divers

Stuck for something to do on Valentines or want something different?
Well here are some fantastic idea’s for Valentine day gifts.

We have many more great Valentine gift ideas, just call us at the dive centre for inspiration or better still drop into the dive centre and give us a challenge.

Valentine Gift Offers

2-4-1 Discover Scuba Diving Experience
Take the first step on an amazing journey, simply book 2 discover scuba diving experiences before the end of Valentines day (14th Feb) and get one of them for free! Use code VALENTINEDSD2013

Valentine Open Water Referral
For a lifetime of love, give a lifetime of adventure. Simply book the Open Water Referral course before the end of Valentines day (14th Feb) and receive a £25 discount. Course can be taken anytime in the following 3 months. Use code VALENTINEOW2013.

Red Sea Love-A-Board
Already a diver? Then why not join us on our Red Sea diving holiday in October? This gives you plenty of time to spread the cost of the holiday and sample some of the best diving in the world!

Pay your deposit (£250.00) before the 14th February and you will get a free Ocean Pro 3mm shorty wetsuit.

Capture Your Memories in HD
The Intova SP1 HD underwater video camera gives you all the features of a GoPro but at half the price! (£185.00)

Show Your Love & Keep Your Loved One Safe
Keep your loved one safe and treat them to a dive computer, one of the most important scuba diving safety tools you can have as a diver.

Treat her to the amazing Suunto D4i in fantastic hot pink, treat him to the fantastic Suunto  D4i in blue or one of the other superb colours in the range.

Limited budget? Then the Suunto Zoop is just the ticket.

Valentine Gift Voucher
Not sure what to get your scuba diving partner? Why not give them a scuba gift voucher? Completely customisable, just contact the staff, provide the details or let their imagination run wild for you!

How to safely deploy a Surface Marker Buoy

How do I deploy a DSMB safely?

It’s a Question time and time again we are asked in the dive centre.

In my view, a Surface Marker Buoy is a must have piece of safety equipment, which, in many cases, is required by local law. So exactly what is a Surface Marker Buoy (“SMB”) and when should you use one?

SMBs come in many different shapes and sizes. Quite simply, they are an inflatable surface marker used to mark the location of a diver or dive group. Such devices can include inflatable dive flags that float on the surface and are attached to a line that a diver drags along, marking the location of the group to boat traffic or the lookout. However, most people associate SMBs with an inflatable tube, also known as a “Safety Sausage”. Safety sausages are invaluable for marking your location in instances where you may have been “navigationally challenged” and surfaced a distance away from the boat, allowing you to be spotted from a much greater distance. They are also essential when you are drift diving and require a boat pick up at the end of your dive. In this instance, a Delayed SMB is even better.

A Delayed SMB (“DSMB”) is effectively a safety sausage that is deployed at depth rather than on the surface. DSMBs are essential in areas of high boat traffic, assuming that boat crew are aware of what a DSMB is used for. I do recall a very hairy moment whilst diving in Thailand however, where a longtail boat drove straight over my deployed DSMB whilst on my safety stop, but that is another story! Delayed SMBs are also useful when completing a safety stop in a current, allowing the dive boat to track you. For instance, in a two knot current you can drift up to 400m (1/4 mile) during a 5 minute safety stop. It makes good sense to deploy your SMB during your safety stop if you haven’t returned to the boat.

DSMBs are also used heavily by technical divers to mark their location whilst completing their decompression stops. Many tech divers will have their name written on their DSMB so that the lookouts know who is decompressing and who may be missing.

So now you understand the uses and importance of an SMB (or DSMB), but before you head out and buy one, let’s discuss how to use one. As a safety device, DSMBs are potentially lethal pieces of equipment in the wrong hands.

The biggest risk areas when deploying a DSMB can broadly be categorised into the following 3 areas:

1. Problems with the reel jamming or line entanglement

There is a vast array of reels on the market, many of which are prone to jamming. Ask around your dive buddies for recommendations and consult online forums. Quite often, the simplest reels, such as a finger spool, are the least prone to jamming. Make sure you get one that works well and ensure that you look after it by regularly lubricating the mechanism and always ensuring you rinse it well in fresh water after use.

A key part of helping to avoid entanglement is to be extremely diligent in winding the reel up after use. I have, on a number of occasions allowed instructors to borrow my reel and it has come back in a dangerous state, the line in knots, reeled up in haste and increasing the chances of jamming on its next use. This is one area that it is well worth being very methodical about. So, after use, I recommend reeling the line out, attaching the end to a fixed point and laying the line out flat may help. Then, slowly reel the line back in to ensure the line is neat and taught. A line that is not tightly reeled up on a finger spool or unenclosed reel is likely to unravel over the reel side and potentially cause entanglement.

I have seen some divers mark distance on their reel line using knots or pieces of coloured ribbon tied on. This is not something that I would recommend as it increases the chances of the reel jamming. Instead, if you want to mark distance on your reel use a permanent marker pen which works well on the white reel line. I use a small mark at the 5m mark for safety stops and then a larger line at the 10m mark, 2 lines at the 20m mark, 3 lines at the 30m mark and so on.


Ensuring the SMB is packed away correctly helps to avoid issues on deployment.

2. Problems with the diver’s equipment getting caught in the SMB

If you have the reel attached to you, always ensure that it is detached prior to the deployment of the SMB. I have witnessed cases where a diver has been dragged up to the surface by an SMB that jammed on deployment and was still attached. If this happens, you need to be able to let go of the reel completely to avoid a rapid ascent. You may want to consider tying the reel to a wreck or rocks prior to inflation and deployment to avoid the chance of being dragged up by a jammed reel.


The first few metres below the surface, which is where you will be performing the majority of your safety stops and deployment, is where the pressure differential is most marked and small changes in depth has a marked impact on air spaces and volumes. With this in mind, you want to ensure you are ready to quickly dump your own buoyancy in your BCD as you fill the SMB. For this reason, it is worthwhile being slightly negatively buoyant to minimise issues with being dragged up during inflation.

Some simple SMBs designed for deployment from a 5m safety stop come with a pretied length of loose line. The loose line on such SMBs can easily become tangled and, for this reason, I would recommend attaching a reel instead. Some SMBs come with an attach length of webbing for deployment and these are excellent provided that you are diligent in folding away the webbing deployment system (as with a reel) neatly. I have an iSMB with webbing, it’s own inflation cylinder by AP Vales and have found it excellent.

3. Problems with inflation

Depending on the SMB, inflation may be performed via gently purging the alternate air source into the SMB opening or via a valve inflation using an inflator hose or oral inflation technique. Some SMBs have their own air supply in the form of a small cylinder.

For SMBs where oral inflation is required it is worth considering the risk associated with removing your regulator to inflate. With this in mind, it may be worth considering an SMB which does not require oral inflation. If you are a competent diver, the risk associated with regulator removal would be minimal. Some SMBs have their own air source attached via a small onboard cylinder. The advantage of these is that you do not haveto remove your regulator!

For open ended SMBs that are inflated using an alternate air source, the principles of inflation are the same as that of operating a lift bag. Roll out the SMB and then hold the open ended part above your alternate air source. You need to ensure the opening is fully open by prizing it open with your fingers. Then place your alternate air source (mouthpiece facing up towards the surface) at the opening and purge small quick bursts of air into the buoy. It is worth remembering that the buoy will not require much air before you release it, as whatever air is inside will expand with the decrease in pressure on ascent.

Using an SMB with a built-in 6m tape avoids requiring a reel.

An alternative inflation method for an open ended buoy is to utilise your exhaled air rather than your alternate air source. Whilst tilting your head to one side, simply hold the open end of the buoy above the primary demand valve and direct several exhalations up into the SMB. For both methods, small bursts of air should be added with care rather than a rapid purge that will result in an rapid ascent of the bag and associated risk of being dragged up with it.

Where a SMB requires oral inflation via a valve, the diver removes the primary regulator from his or her mouth to inflate the buoy and applies small short exhales into the bag to inflate. Similarly, where a low pressure inflator hose is attached to inflate the bag, small short bursts of air should be applied. Using a low pressure inflator hose to inflate from either the divers BCD or dry suit does not necessarily increase the chances of a rapid diver ascent as, unlike the BCD/Drysuit quick connect valve, the SMB valve does not retain the hose connector and can be easily disconnected by pulling off when required.

4. How do I choose the right DSMB?

Like diving with a computer, a DSMB should not be shared between buddy pairs. It is acceptable for just one member of the buddy team to deploy their SMB, however if the buddy pair did get separated, both members would obviously need to deploy. Further, having a second SMB provides a back up should problems such as reel jamming, perished bag or loss should arise with the deployment of the first SMB.  Some operators require every diver to release a DSMB, rather than just one per buddy pair. That way they know when everyone is accounted for and on the way up.

If you simply want an SMB for deploying on your 5m safety stop, then an SMB with a 6m length of webbing tape attached to the SMB is probably the simplest and safest option. If you would like the ability to deploy the SMB from a greater depth, then a simple finger reel is probably the next best solution. Finger reels come in lengths up to 30m. Anything deeper and you will need to use a hand reel.

Some divers carry two reels with the line from the second reel attached to the handle of the first. The idea being that if the first reel jams while deploying the DSMB, you can let it go and deploy line from the second. Where possible, arguably a better solution to counter risk associated with jamming would be to use a single reel and tie it on to the wreck, rock or other potential anchor point for deployment. Alternatively, a finger reel is much less likely to jam as there is no mechanism to jam.

Practice deploying your DSMB in a swimming pool or shallow water. When you have the hang of it, practice with your eyes shut – you may just have to do it all in zero visibility! And keep practicing regularly to keep your skills fresh and ensure deployment is second nature when it is required.

DiveStyle Weekly Promotion – PADI Specialities

PADI Speciality promotion.

The following PADI Specialities are on offer for our AOW water weekend 16th & 17th Feb.

Offer available 31st Jan – 10th Feb.

  • Wreck Diver – £120.00 (RRP£160.00)
  • Deep Diver – £120.00 (RRP£160.00)
  • Search & Recovery – £110.00 (RRP £150.00)
  • Peak Performance Buoyancy – £110.00 (RRP £150)

To book call the shop or use FEBSPEC1 on our online shop.

Bookings and payment to be made before the 10th Feb.

These prices are only available for the dates stated and on a first come first served basis as spaces are limited.