Main Menu
Join Undercurrent on Facebook

The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
"Best of the Web: scuba tips no other
source dares to publish" -- Forbes
October 2008    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 23, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
What's this?

How Useful Is a Dye Marker in a Search?

from the October, 2008 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Dear Ben,

Because my husband and I dive around the world in remote places, I always am interested in your articles pertaining to rescue. Thankfully, we have never needed to be rescued. However, we have always tried to prepare ourselves as well as possible for that “worst case scenario.”

In your recent article, “Rescue Devices for Saving Your Bacon,” you mention several well-known devices. The yellow flag on a tall pole that is strapped to a diver’s tank is interesting. But I wonder why you didn’t mention the fluorescent dye markers that come in a vial about three inches long? I read an article awhile back about a lost diver who was rescued. He believed that a dye marker enabled the planes to see him. Furthermore, he said he would never dive without one again. I immediately ordered dye markers for my husband and me. Would you please address the fluorescent dye marker as a help in rescue?

- - Patty Turbeville (Bradenton, FL)

Patty, we asked the “Rescue Devices” article author, John Bantin, to respond to your question.

“Dye markers are useful for making a person in the water a bigger visual target for an air search. However, they are only effective when the sea is calm, as the dye soon gets dispersed. Assuming that a diver has left a boat with the crew’s knowledge, and should the sea be calm enough for a dye marker to work, the crew should also be able to spot the head of a diver (or other visual marker device) at the surface. Just as flares are only usefully applied to draw the attention of those known to be searching, a dye marker has a limited application for divers. We need a marker that is not obscured by waves and rough seas, and that is why dye markers were not mentioned.

“It is when divers surface away from the reef or where the boat crews do not expect them to be (in the open sea, for example) that they become cause for concern. Therefore, divers should carry a rescue device that works in any type of weather or water.”

I want to get all the stories! Tell me how I can become an Undercurrent Online Member and get online access to all the articles of Undercurrent as well as thousands of first hand reports on dive operations world-wide

Find in  

| Home | Online Members Area | My Account | Login | Join |
| Travel Index | Dive Resort & Liveaboard Reviews | Featured Reports | Recent Issues | Back Issues |
| Dive Gear Index | Health/Safety Index | Environment & Misc. Index | Seasonal Planner | Blogs | Free Articles | Book Picks | News |
| Special Offers | RSS | FAQ | About Us | Contact Us | Links |

Copyright © 1996-2022 Undercurrent (
3020 Bridgeway, Ste 102, Sausalito, Ca 94965
All rights reserved.