Deco schedule Decals, what do we think?

It was during the first quarter of the year when I was contacted by Huw Singer. Huw is the owner of a new product range and business venture called Deco-Decals. He has created a set of “stickers” which are designed to be attached to a slate of some kind, most commonly a multi-page wrist slate, for writing your scuba diving decompression schedule upon for use in the water during a decompression dive. IMG_5407 These “Decals”, as we more commonly call them, have apparently been made by instructors for instructors, and I have been sent a few freebies to try out and provide feedback on. Apologies here Huw for the delay in testing but busy times had got the better of me. Anyway, let the testing begin. With teaching aids like these its always difficult to please all instructors all the time, as between us in the professional industry we all teach in slightly different ways, which is why myself and a few colleagues set about to review this product with an open mind. The first thing that strikes you when you see these decals is the colors that have been used reflecting the severity of the decompression situation. i.e the main plan is green, the deeper and longer contingency plans are in orange and the lost deco gas and bailout contingency plans are in red. Now, here was where the first comment came in from one of my team who rightly stated “What is the point of having colors? As you go deeper you lose the color spectrum anyway”. In response to this comment I rightly agreed, but then I began thinking of the diving environments where visibility and general light is not quite as good as we have it in the Red Sea and the reality that divers in these other conditions would probably be using a torch and so the colors would be very obvious under direct torch light. decal 3 The decals are very easy to remove from their backing sheet and fit perfectly onto a multi page wrist slate. Now, I don’t know if Huw has designed them in such a way, but you can write on these decals with a fine point permanent marker pen, which afterwards by the use of a form of acetone i,e alcohol swob or nail polish remover you can remove the writing! Of course I am 100% that Huw would prefer that you use new decals each time rather than reusing them by erasing the data and starting again, but for sure the environmental and economical friendly divers would opt for recycling and saving a few pennies!! Thus making one set of decals last a lot longer. Sorry Huw! The layout of the decals is generally fine and it is at this point where we must remember who they are aimed at, the trainee diver. You will see that there are limited compartments for writing deco depths in. Not including a bottom depth you only have the facility to have 9 different deco stops. Now, for trainee divers and pretty much most dives up to the 50m mark which you would undertake even as a qualified deco diver, this is more than fine, but for deeper depths it’s simply not enough compartments. This is why I stress at this point to remember who the decals are aimed at. On a personally note, I like my students to have a bit of space next to the run time to write their arrival times at certain depths as it helps them to master a correct ascent. With this format of decal it is not possible. A small sacrifice maybe, but something like this for me is important. decal 2 My only other gripe, if I have to have one, is that the size of the time / run time compartment is slightly small so a very tidy, controlled writing hand is required in order for the info to be legible. For most entry level divers I can see that maybe this has the potential to become unreadable! Now the crunch. Cost. Of course we cannot ignore this as it will play a big factor in the divers / instructors choice to use the decals or not. Most instructors teaching in todays world will be using a form of duct tape, gaffer tape or equivalent tape with a regular marker pen. You can pick up a descent length roll of gaffer tape for around 5 – 7 euros. This tape also doubles up and can be used for cylinder markings, so multi useful, it can even be used to repair drysuit neck seals if necessary (I speak from experience!). OK, the tape is not really recyclable but if the cost is that much cheaper.decal 1 Personally, I think that the decals look very professional but wonder how long it takes before one of the leading training agencies copies the idea, sticks their logo on them, and makes them mandatory for training in order for their instructors to be consistent with each other.  Huw, I hope you have copyright. If anybody is interested in using these decals or trying them out you can head to www.deco-decals.com or email Huw directly at Info@deco-decals.com Happy deco diving Cat Braun Tekstreme Diving Manager / Owner

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