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September 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 31, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Sherwood, You Have a Camband Problem

from the September, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Bill Watts (Coconut Creek, FL) wrote to us to say that he believed his Sherwood Avid BCD has a safety issue that the manufacturer is ignoring. The plastic holding the retaining straps for his tank broke, and since the camband apparently does not actually run through the fabric of the BCD, the tank was released. When the plastic breaks, there is nothing to hold the camband to the BCD.

When the same thing happened to his wife's new Sherwood Luna BCD, on jumping off a dive boat in Fiji, he was concerned this was a design fault and wrote to Sherwood about it. The company replaced both BCDs without question.

Recently he was diving with friends who had bought similar Sherwood BCDs on his recommendation. Both broke in the same way, the man's when he stood up ready-equipped to dive and hers when she hit the water, almost pulling her regulator from her mouth.

"I was horrified to look over and at 70 feet [deep] see my buddy's tank floating away from her BC. I used a safety strap I have for my camera to tie it to the BC to get her to the surface. It could have been a very bad situation if she had not been cool and calm and had not been with such an experienced diver as myself."

There is no shortage of reports of this problem on the Internet. This was pulled from a Leisure Pro online product review, from an unnamed diver: "I am a pro diver. This [BCD] was sent to me as replacement of Luna BCD from Sherwood. When I received it, I was impressed with the new design. This was my third BCD from Sherwood. It looked good, but it is a horrible BCD. The backplate is of very fragile plastic, and it looks exactly same as the Luna BCD that broke after six months of use. I was very surprised that they continue using the same style, since many of my friends had the same problems with the backplate and stopped using their product."

Charlie Bush, president of Cramer Decker (Sherwood Scuba), told Undercurrent he was unaware that there was a safety issue with current models of the Avid and Luna. On checking with his technicians, he had been told that, bearing in mind there are twin tank cambands, for the tank to completely separate from the BC would require the simultaneous failure of four separate components, which is very unlikely. He said the few that have been returned with this fault have been several years old and that Sherwood had not heard of any failure happening while a diver was under water.

Well, we have told Sherwood of these cases and now they are aware. Clearly, if a BCD camband breaks away from its mounting point and allows a tank to become unstable, even wrenching a regulator from a diver's mouth as reported in one case, that could cause panic, despite the tank still hanging there. It's a serious defect. Let's see what they do about it.

Have you had problems with your Sherwood BCD? If so, write to us at BenDDavison@undercurrent.org

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