I simply cant not say enough good things
about the frv. As a father to 4 young children I knew to participate in this
sport I love I needed to take every precaution. Before the vest arrived I was still
a little apprehensive due to the cost and worries about the mobility of wearing it.
That all was put to rest the day I received it. This vest is an engineering
marvel. The quality of the parts and the attention to detail were
extraordinary. This thing is like NASA quality in terms of construction. I had
heard from others before I purchased that you were a little on the perfectionist side,
that was an understatement.
I wear the vest every time I dive. My kids are almost of age (they are
getting tired of watching from the boat) and I will be buying one for each of them
to join me. The peace of mind it has provided me has actually increased my fun
and enjoyment of the sport. Thanks Terry for your innovation. I have a feeling this
vest is going to save many lives.
Ken Ouellette, Florida
The tragedy of the sport of
freediving is that shallow water black out strikes suddenly and without warning and is no
respecter of age, experience or skill. Every freediver is at risk on every dive.
The single most important contributing factor to the successful resuscitation of a
shallow water black out victim is immediate recovery with prompt initiation of rescue
If you black out and your
dive buddy has to waste precious minutes trying to find you or bring you up from the
bottom, your chances of survival plummet. I know this first hand from my 28 years as
a paramedic where I have led the resuscitation efforts of numerous drowning victims along
the Central California coast. Lost time can never be regained. The most
advanced emergency medical care systems have little to offer the drowning victim who has
been submerged underwater beyond the few critically precious minutes following the loss of
I have been following the
development of the Freedivers Recovery Vest concept and have had the privilege of diving
with and evaluating various versions and prototypes of the vest with a critical eye.
My professional occupation leaves me with a great deal of experience with the use
of lifesaving rescue equipment and technologies in real-world conditions. The FRV
Mark II is a painstakingly well thought out and designed piece of safety equipment.
The meticulous quality and durability of its construction and comfort when donned will be
apparent to anyone using it for the first time
The FRV Mark II has a vitalrole to play for freedivers and other water enthusiasts who take their personal safety
seriously. Ill be wearing mine on every dive. Although no piece of
rescue equipment can answer every contingency, the FRV Mark II effectively addresses the
critical importance of bringing an unconscious victim to the surface where rescue
procedures can be initiated without further delay.
Joe Tobin, Paramedic
As a happy owner of the Mk1 I can vouch for this
vest. I have used it almost every spearing dive now for 2 years and it is completely
"lost" into the background when I am diving, and the peace of mind invaluable. I
have been quite sloppy at maintenance (just a quick rinse with the hose pipe and leave to
dry in shade) and have no failures or problems. Only 1 inflation so far, my fault, down
too long. 0 accidental inflation.
No commercial connection here, I paid the regular full price for mine, just a happy
customer wishing to endorse a great product.
azapa, posted on Deeper Blue Forums, Chile
We were lucky enough to get to test the new Mark
II vest this past weekend. Having owned their FRVs for over a year now, my sons were very
impressed with the new streamlined design. They were especially pleased with the absence
of the dive computer and how much more simple the unit was to operate. The new online
YouTube videos made it easy to quickly grasp operational aspects of the vest. Quite
frankly, they couldn't wait to test it out in the water. Everything worked perfectly, as
expected. This much more streamlined version of the original FRV does not sacrifice an
ounce of the important safety features - in fact the enhanced simplicity of it probably
makes it a safer product. We were very impressed. If you're a spearfisher, this is a great life-saving
product and an important piece of gear to add to your bag.
Julie Richardson, founder DiveWise http://www.divewise.org/
Returning to the
surface from a dive, I feel something hard tap my fin. I look around to see what the
source of this unexpected bump was and see my dive knife, in a slow spin, sunlight
glinting off the stainless steel blade, sinking to the depths below. Im out of
breath as I hit the surface; no time to do anything about it now.
ALIGN="LEFT" DIR="LTR">Dang, thats my favorite knife! I think Im diving
over a 70 foot bottom since thats what the depth finder on the boat was showing as
we pulled up to the edge of this kelp bed. With only 30 feet of visibility and hunting
prey near the surface, I have no clue what the true depth below me is.
I make a test dive to see if I can spot my knife on the bottom.
Halfway down, the bottom appears and eventually I spot my knife resting in the sand next
to a kelp stalk some distance below. I return to the surface to rest up. On my next dive,
Ill go all the way to the bottom to retrieve my knife but what is the depth?
Seventy feet is doable for me though its not my preferred
depth and thats a considerable distance to swim in each direction; Ill have to
rest up and not rush this. I wish I had a depth gauge.
For this day of diving, I programmed my FRV to go off if I stay
submerged for over a minute and fifty seconds or if I exceed 72 feet of depth. I do some
rough calculations in my head. If the FRV actuator is centered between my shoulder blades
and I add two feet for my outstretched arm to pluck my knife from the sand, that should
mean that I wont exceed my depth setting if the sand my knife is resting in is at or
above 74 feet. I think Im good to go, or at least, thats what Ive
convinced myself. I can always reprogram my depth setting, its easy to do but I
decide it wont be necessary.
With my last deep breath, I slowly tuck into my dive and begin
the long kick to the bottom. I move at a measured pace. At the 33 foot mark, I have half
the volume in my lungs as at the surface. When I hit the 66 foot mark, I have half the
volume as I did at 33 feet and some of that has been used to equalize the squeeze of my
mask. But Im not really thinking of these things, only watching my favorite dive
knife as the bottom draws closer.
The last ten feet or so seem to take longer than I thought it
should. How deep am I? I have no clue but my FRV is monitoring every important aspect of
my dive. Am I going to trigger the depth setting on my vest? I am just inches away now. I
Immediately, the trigger is activated and two
sharp spikes slam into the head of the two installed 38 gram CO2 cylinders. Gas floods
into the neatly folded bladder hidden beneath the streamlined outer vest fitted
comfortably around my chest.
The rapidly expanding bladder begins to push against the
breakaway fasteners. Soon, both sides of my chest are surrounded by a still expanding
balloon and my free ride to the surface begins. I begin to rise toward the surface with
gathering speed. Eventually, the gas has completely filled the bladder and excess CO2
begins venting from the relief valve.
I am only
slightly annoyed at my miscalculation but there is a certain sense of satisfaction knowing
that the device I trust to be my silent partner on every dive has just done exactly what I
told it to do.
I hit the surface like a cork, knife in hand, mission
accomplished, though, not as exactly as I had intended. . After a quick trip to the boat, I had my vest repacked; two
fresh cylinders installed and returned to the water for a great day of diving.
Love what you are doing Terry. I've been using my vest for several years. Works great in practice....once a year I test fire and
works fine..... I do not push my limits too much these days so I have not had the unit
activate. I tell everyone I dive with they are a necessary piece of our equipment.
Ryan Deuel 7x Charlie sturgil pole spear champion, and nationals diver.
My only experience in inflating the FRV was pulling the ripcord
at 100' to keep a big pargo from holing up It was hilarious and it worked!
Kyle Dodder, Huntington Beach
I can say that I am often disappointed about how some divers are
dishonest with themselves and their loved ones regarding the inherent risks of our sport
and simple ways to mitigate some of them.I am happy to share some of my experiences. The
first thing my wife said after I bought the vest was "how long have you known about
it, and why didn't you buy it sooner?". I had no good answer and it is now part of my
dive kit as much as my fins are.
Michael Tripp MD, San Deigo
Michael Tripp MD
I have used my FRV a number of times, and believe it is VERY
well designed, and believe it is the most crucial piece of freediving equipment on the
market today. It is easy to get all excited about spend $3-$5k on a flashy new speargun,
but that will never save one's life. An FRV can save one's life and I'm sure has already
While on a recent shore dive, I had moved into very shallow
water, dove to about 15', and was lying still on the bottom, very relaxed and waiting. Too
late, I realized I had programed my vest for a depth of 45', and a corresponding dive
time. Suddenly, I heard phssssssssssssssssssssssssss as my FRV filled with CO2, exactly as
I had programmed it to.The vest is VERY easy to program, very low profile, fits
comfortably, and has no negatives that I've discovered. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing the
only piece of freediving equipment that can save one's life, the FRV, to every freediver!
Jerry Gunn, Placentia
Unfortunately for this but fortunately for me, I haven't had any
big scares since using the FRV. There is one minor one but I'm sure you will get better
stories than this from others:
I was diving for the sixth consecutive day in a row. We were
offshore chasing tuna and I was getting pretty wore down by this time. On a routine drop I
leveled off at only 45 feet but instantly felt my a cramp in my thigh that sent a
lightning bolt throughout my body and ultimately to my head. Normally this would be
nothing but with the fatigue, the jolt flashed everything black for a second and I opened
my eyes to the water spinning around me. Luckily, I had everything going right on
this dive; a great dive buddy watching me who noticed my odd movement and the extra safety
blanket of the FRV. Instead of panicking, I just moved my hand up to the manual pull and
slowly kicked up to the surface while trying to maintain my orientation. I didn't
panic and make the bad situation worse because I knew the FRV was there for me. I bought
the vest when I learned my wife was pregnant with our first child and it sets my mind at
ease knowing there's another layer of safety to make sure I'm coming home to them well
Joshua Wels, Tustin
I have had no unexpected inflations. Nothing dramatic. But that
does not mean I do not rely on my FRV as an essential safety tool. I have not triggered my
PLB either, yet it, like my FRV, is ready should an emergency arise. Both are essential
for me. I carry my PLB on my float and my FRV on me.
I am very happy with my purchase thanks to you. I made a
few dives due to lack of free time...
1. the vest gives you feel confident there's something keeping you!!!
2.I use SURFACE MINDER OFF so there is no accidental vest fire (I know the consequences of
this option, in the future I will use SURFACE MINDER ON)
3. My wife more relaxed knowing I have the vest.
4. very fast adaptation to the vest in the water and also out on the kayak paddling
5.easy to maintenance after few dives
6 very compact joins easily to free dive gear.
HAGAI COHEN, Israel
I love the ocean, I love to hunt, I love adventure but what I
love most is my family and life.
When I was younger I felt invincible, never gave a second
thought to anything bad happening to me while diving. Time, responsibility and life
experiences usually has a way of changing things. Invincibility fades a bit and caution
starts to creep in, at least in my case. But no mater how careful we may think we are,
there is always something that can turn a happy day into a tragedy.
Several years ago, my family and I were vacationing on the Big
Island of Hawaii. As usual all of our family vacations involved a chance for me to dive.
This time my good friend Paolo and his family had joined us. Paolo was an exceptional
diver with many years of experience. He also had a loving wife a young daughter. The
morning started just like many others with Paolo and I slipping into the warm tropical
water early. The dive spot was in front of our condo on Alii Dr. Ours families were to
meet us later in the morning as we exited the water, usually with dinner. As usual, we
dove together but after a while we would go our separate ways and meet later. That morning
was different, Paolo never came out.
All of his experience, his caution, his love of his family
didn't make any difference. His body was never found. There was nothing I could offer his
grieving wife and daughter to comfort them. Several years later when the FRV came on the
market I bought one hoping that if I really screwed up at least there was a good chance my
body would be recovered. Wearing it is now second nature, just like putting on a seat
belt. But I couldn't help thinking that the people that could use the vest most probably
wouldn't or couldn't afford the $1600 price although most would not think twice of paying
that much or more on a speargun. I'm happy to hear that prices dropped, now there should
be little argument about buying and wearing one. Life is precious, the pain that the loved
ones left behind lasts a lifetime. Be safe,
Steve Veros, Ventura
Tunas are a prized catch, and to a spearfishermen, they are one
of the ultimate pelagic fish to check off on your bucket list. I have been fortunate to
land a few of these elusive beasts, but one day, it almost jeopardized my safety.
I remember just like it was yesterday. I was on a DFAC trip to
Puerto Vallarta, and we were hunting tuna. The water was so warm, a comfortable 80
degrees. I made a drop and towards the end of my dive I was spotting tunas maneuvering
below me, their bright yellow streak shimmering in the blue. It caught my eye. I was
feeling small twitches of contractions in my chest, I knew I was exceeding my usual dive
time, but I was hoping these tunas would come closer. My Wong speargun was poised and
ready to fire. Another contraction came. "One more second", I said to myself and
then I will ascend. "I feel good and not fatigued, actually very relaxed", I
Then there was a "pop" sound and hiss, I knew exactly
what that was. My FRV was going off, because I had set it to bring me up to the surface if
I exceeded 1 minute and 20 seconds. An agreement I made with myself before I entered the
water. I knew I had actually achieved a longer breath hold in my FII class but I had
decided that those settings would be my comfort level to ascend safely to the surface. As
the FRV proceeded to inflate and quickly swept me up to the surface, I was frustrated and
appreciative that it was looking out for my well being.
I obviously was not doing a very good job of that, I was
distracted by fleeting tunas and eager to land a shaft in one of them. I am glad I had my
FRV on and the forethought to set safe limits for myself. "There will always be
another opportunity for a tuna" I said to myself. As my boys say, "I am way more
important than a fish!" Thank you Terry for this device! My boys appreciate it even
Colleen Gallagher Diving For A Cause, Redwood City
Joel Olenik by Dam Nuyen.
I look at my FRV as an essential safety item. I hope I never need it, but if I ever do I know it will bring me
back to the surface safely. I can't put a price tag on that type of security, and neither
can my wife. We do an inherently dangerous sport and any help that I can get to make sure
I come home safely to my loved ones is welcome, and there is no better safety device than
the FRV. P.S. No bubbles means its even easier to sneak up on the WSB!
Nick Dumong, Santa Barbara
I have been a FRV user for several years now (maybe 500 dives,)
and see it as an essential piece of freedive equipment. Before purchasing my FRV I was
concerned it would distract me from my underwater experience or restrict my abilities
diving and hunting spooky fish. I quickly learned that was not the case but rather forgot
it was there and had an added piece of mind knowing that I was doing everything possible
to have a safe and enjoyable time in the water. For the cost of a custom speargun every
diver can increase their odds of surviving a diving accident and lets agree, many
better divers before us have experienced SWBs while not pushing it that
day. We are very fortunate to have this safety feature available and it only makes sense
to invest in something that can help bring us home safely and dive another day.
James Grover, photo by Kevin Glen
I want to express my gratitude for creating this product that
contributes so much to my diving safety. Ive been fortunate to own every version
from the first one that used a compressed air bottle to the present. They have always
performed as advertised, but they keep getting sleeker and easier to use. I put mine on
when I suit up in the boat and then leave it on all day, even while sitting in the helm
seat moving to new spots. In the water or in the boat, I dont even know its there.
In fact one time the latest version caused me some embarrassment when I walked out of the
cabin into the cockpit and asked my buddy wheres my FRV? He replied
youre wearing it. Oh.
Im 78 years old and counting, and as hard as I may work out, I cant help
wondering how Ill decide when its no longer safe to continue. The old body
doesnt always perform as well as it used to. Im more likely to experience a
leg cramp on ascent, or more likely to want some assistance getting that big white sea
bass to the surface. Its good to know the FRV is there if I need it. I guess Ive
been diving for about 70 years, and the vest is helping me eek out a few more years doing
what I love. Bill McIntyre
Bill McIntyre and Daryl Wong
I know it's not recommended by the American Medical Association, but I often end up free diving on my own in the kelp beds off San Diego. Last Christmas my wife and her family gave me the FRV. At first I was worried about having too much gear while wearing the FRV, since I am a bit of a minimalist. However, the vest is very streamlined and it only takes a minute or two to set up, clean, and put away. The fish don't seem to be turned away by the FRV, which is good, too. For anyone looking for an extra layer of safety for their free-dives, I highly recommend the FRV.
-Dr. Joe Farlo, image by Pete Correale
Dr. Joe Farlo
As mainly a California diver, deep dives and long bottom times are seldom required to be an effective hunter so I hadn’t considered the FRV system until my first Dogtooth tuna trip. Diving passes in down-currents, making deeper drops than I’m accustomed to, pushing new limits for new species were the primary reason for my purchase of the FRV. I have found it to be a great insurance investment in safety. I can dive with it all day long without any restriction of movement or difficulty climbing over the gunwale of someone’s boat. Now that I have made the investment, I plan to use it on all my dives which gives my family and myself piece of mind.ing it” that
day. We are very fortunate to have this safety feature available and it only makes sense
to invest in something that can help bring us home safely and dive another day.
I had been considering getting a FRV for a while and glad I finally did. It arrived just in time for a wahoo trip in the Gulf. I was pleasantly surprised how streamlined it is and how little to no drag it has while diving. My favorite features of the design are 1) it doesn’t generate any bubbles 2) being neutrally buoyant 3) my floatline never once caught on it (I wish I could say the same for my snorkel) and 4) its overall comfort – I forgot it was there the entire time I was diving (29 dives that day). There were no issues spearfishing wahoo while using the FRV. I found wearing the FRV helped me calm my mind and get into my mammalian reflex-apnea- flow state easier. It’s also cool knowing you have a backup fighting float, or a free ride to the surface with you all the time.