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April 1998 Vol. 13, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Should the Government Investigate BCs?

from the April, 1998 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Last fall, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission sent a letter to all certification and training agencies expressing their concern that buoyancy compensators do not always float a diver face up on the surface and requesting their views on how to address this potential hazard.

We called Roy Deppa of the CPSC Directorate for Engineering Sciences to discuss these concerns. He said that over the years we have been approached about this problem and had to take a look at it. We looked for any increases in surface drownings that would indicate there was a problem but did not find any indications of an increase in surface drownings. So we felt that perhaps we should look further into the matter to see if there really is an issue we should be involved with.

Deppa described himself as a diver who had been around a while and knew the difference between those old horse collars and jackets. He also had a friend who owned a dive shop and was an instructor, so he went out to see what was presently available on the market and how it worked. He then asked for responses from the training agencies about how they train their students.

After his investigation, Deppa concluded that their answers, coupled with the information from the accident databases, indicate there is no evidence that the present BCs are a potential problem.

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