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March 2017    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 32, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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A New Way to Get Killed!

from the March, 2017 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The social forums on the Internet are full of breathless postings regarding a new product that promises to allow people to swim and breathe underwater. Mini Dive tanks "are a lightweight, portable alternative to usually bulky and heavy scuba tanks. With one scuba dive tank like this, you'd be able to swim freely for 5-10 minutes underwater, admiring the underwater life or doing some repairs on your boat." So says the advertising copy.

Mini Dive TankFor $159.95, it appears to be a small cylinder of compressed air that the user wears slung around the neck in a "hands-free" harness, breathing from what looks like a conventional scuba regulator.

"There are actually four ways to fill the tank, but if you want to be able to do the refilling anywhere you want, then I have two words for you -- hand pump. It works basically like a bicycle pump and will fill up your tank with nice, breathable air."

The video accompanying the prose shows a man cleaning the bottom of his boat and then swimming freely beneath the waves with a promised duration of 10 minutes. There's no mention of the possibility of a lung over-expansion injury or even a depth limit. It reminds us of the Mini Breather, a similar device offered years ago as an alternative to a full scuba set, but which found no place in the market due to the training necessary to use it. We haven't included a link because we don't wish to encourage anyone to get one.

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