|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. Ken OuelletteAt 74 feet, I open my outstretched hand to grab my knife and the second I
touch it, the FRV has determined that I have exceeded my preset depth limit of 70 feet. It
is a strange sensation being pulled to the surface in a storm of bubbles and hissing gas
from the CO2 cylinders. My dive buddy, heard the vest activate and knew something was up
before I even hit the surface. I told him what I had done and we both had a good laugh. Joe Tobin,
I'm a safety-conscience diver, and I'll tell you that I whole-heartedly trust the FRV's capability. I have followed the instructions you provided in videos and in the manual, and although it may seem a bit cumbersome for divers who are reluctant to add additional steps or gear etc. to their dive routines, I'll attest that it becomes second-hand nature to set up and care for the FRV after just a few uses. And its life-saving potential is real. It brought me to the surface with my face and head out of the water. I have full confidence in my vest and all of the "test" activations have gone perfectly. George A. Hierro, Major, U. S. Marine Corps
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 BarbaraI have been using it for all my deep diving. In short "provides me with the peace of mind that should a SWB event ever occur I am not putting my buddy in predicament of trying to find me let alone rescue me" Tim Roberts
I've actually never had a close call of any kind with the vest. I've only deployed it on purpose a couple Of times to check if it's working. It gives me when I wear it. Even though Ive never had a close call with a Shallow Water Blackout, I consistently dive with the FRV for the peace of mind it gives me in the water. It Dont think it should ever replace a trustworthy dive partner, but in the NorthEast it is extremely difficult to buddy dive. The viz is usually 15 feet and when you descend to 50 feet no one on the surface knows where you are, especially when the currents are moving around 3 knots. Here the vest is the only thing I can rely on for a back up. Vlad Ivangorodsky
Thanks for designing a device the keeps us safe while doing what we love! I started diving with a spearos last summer & none of them have freedive training. I found great comfort in wearing my FRV. It allowed me to relax and focus on the hunt, instead of worrying about a shallow water black out. I attached a picture wearing the FRV while getting my first BFT. Matt Davidson.
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. Colleen Gallagher, Diving for a Cause.
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. Steve Veros
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
|I fortunately have not
experienced an emergency situation yet with the FRV, but I have had some unintended
inflations due purely to user-error. At least 3 times, I have forgotten to press the
surface minder and had the FRV inflate on the surface. It has taken a little bit of time
for me to get used to this option, but it's critical to preventing drowning after a
surface blackout, which we know happens too often. I have also tested its depth/time
inflation feature which has worked flawlessly each time.
I'm a safety-conscience diver, and I'll tell you that I whole-heartedly trust the FRV's capability. I have followed the instructions you provided in videos and in the manual, and although it may seem a bit cumbersome for divers who are reluctant to add additional steps or gear etc. to their dive routines, I'll attest that it becomes second-hand nature to set up and care for the FRV after just a few uses. And its life-saving potential is real. Every time I've had it inflate (again, so far unintentionally) I was immediately placed on my back where even if I wanted to put my face in the water, the FRV would not allow it. This is the kind of device a blacked-out free-diver needs. And although it's not a substitute for a dive buddy, we all know that sometimes there are gaps when the dive-buddy is attending to a fish just shot or jumping back in the boat momentarily to grab something. It's these gaps in buddy-coverage when the FRV becomes even more critical. I'm not condoning ever diving without a buddy watching you in a "one-up, one-down" dive pattern, but plain and simple, safe diving doesnt always play out the way it does when we talk about it before hopping in the water. Furthermore, I know of several divers that prefer to dive alone (especially White Sea Bass divers). I personally think this is reckless, but if they're going to, do it wear an FRV.
The FRV so far has reliably performed as you intended it to perform every time I've taken it out, which so far has been on numerous trips during the last year and a half in four different dive environments: California, Florida, Thailand, and Indonesia. In both Indonesia and Thailand, the FRV gives me an added layer of safety when diving for Dogtooth Tuna over deep drop-offs with unpredictable currents. I've gained serious respect for the power of underwater currents in Southeast Asia while living in Indonesia and Thailand and can't think of a better safety device to mitigate the potentially deadly effect of these currents than the FRV. And what about those murky days on California's North Coast or Florida's West Coast, where your buddy simply cannot see you from the surface? It's in these places where I remember often finding it difficult to track a diver working the bottom, and most often, I'm scanning the surface hoping the diver will pop up somewhere. The FRV, again, provides the added layer of safety to prevent a totally avoidable emergency.
I'm happy to hear you've found a way to reduce the price of next
generation FRVs. I hope that young divers will buy an FRV instead of spending the same
amount of money on another speargun. If I can be of any additional help, please let me
know. I'll try to send you some dive pics of me wearing the vest for my next trip to
Indonesia this September. Cheers.
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.
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 breathing.
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 consciousness.
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 vital
role 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 made it!
I open my outstretched hand to grab my knife and the second I touch it, the FRV has determined that I have exceeded my preset depth limit. 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.
It is a strange sensation being pulled to the surface in a storm of bubbles and hissing gas from the CO2 cylinders. 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. My dive
buddy, Scott Merlo, swims over to check on me. From the water, he heard the vest activate
and new something was up before I even hit the surface. I told him what I had done and we
both had a good laugh. 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. Joe Tobin,
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.
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. __________________________________
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.
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 saved many.
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!
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
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...
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,
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 thought.
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
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!
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.