UK Diver

Home  About  FAQ  Training  UK Diver  Dives  Reports  Links

DSMB Stowage (by Keith Lawrence - Sept 2001)

Somebody asked on the group -

Having done several weekends diving in Portland harbour this summer, easing myself into UK diving, which has been great BTW - I realise I need to get an DSMB/Reel , anyway just got a Mcmahon reel and AP valves combination - which  I want to try out in the pool.   However no clips came to attach the line to the DSMB, and I want to know what is the best method to attach it to my BCD (for transport purposes, not when deploying).  Could you recommend the best clips for both purposes, and the way you guys attach your reels to your jackets.

Well, I'm not saying that this is the best way, but it works for me (other peoples comments after this) -

Ready to go...
DSMB Assembly
The whole assembly us ALWAYS carried ready to just unwrap and go. The DSMB is already clipped to the line.
Minor modifications
Reel modificationsNote the two bits of bungie. For the one on the left I've drilled the handle, note also the small stainless steel allen bolt to stop the trigger hitting the reel.
The orange strop has three purposes -
1. For your buddy to hang onto if they want.
2. For clipping to a wreck for deployment (if you want).
3. Stowage - see below.
DSMB stows on the handle
DSMB Stowed
The DSMB itself simply wraps up and stores on the handle secured by the bungies.
All wrapped up
Strop wrapping
The orange strop I just wrap once around the reel itself and poke back through to 'knot' it loosely...
Ready for stowing
Ready for clip on
...which when you turn it over gives a nice short length with a clip on the end for securing to a D ring somewhere.

So for deployment it's just unclip, unwrap, fire-and-forget.

The post generated a few other comments -

Iain S -
I personally carry my DSMB attached to the reel at all times. However, if I were going to separate them, I would simply tie a large loop in the end of the line. With the Buddy DSMB, you can simply pass this loop through the webbing loop of the DSMB and around the DSMB and it's attached (in truth, this is how my DSMB is attached to my reel, even though I never take it apart)

As for carrying the reel, I strongly recommend a boltsnap, rather than any of the self-opening types on the market, as these have the potential to clip onto anything else other than your kit. (I also found them harder to operate than boltsnaps)

Pictures of what to avoid can be found at
Whereas shows examples of both single-ended and double-ended boltsnaps (you are interested in the single-ended type)

Nigel H -
Argh. No. I confess. I've got a suicide clip on the end of the line....

I have a pretty similar rig with a small reel and a Buddy self-inflator so I wind the DSMB's vecro round the reel's handle to make it one lump and hang it off my right hip on a double ended piston thing. The spare is stuffed in the bottom of the clip on pocket which is probably not clever but something has to go there.

I promise I'll replace the suicide clip....

Jason P -
> Argh. No. I confess. I've got a suicide clip on the end of the line....

So have I. I do think that the end of the line is probably the safest place to have one. It's not going to get caught around the line is it?

The only trouble with it is that the McMahon reel comes unravelled if the handle is hit, so you can end up paying out a bit of line inadvertantly. And then some malicious people try and attach you to the wreck with it. I think I might try using bungee to attach the DSMB to it permanently. I'm just a bit worried that it will be rather bulky with the bottle and all.

Keith S -
Is it a large or small McMahon reel?

If it's the large one, then an AP Valves DSMB (with or without the self-inflator bottle) will roll up nicely and can be attached to the handle of the reel with 2 short lengths of 5mm shock cord (available from your local B&Q). One loop goes thru the handle hole, the other thru a 6mm hole drilled near the top of the handle, carefully sited so the ratchet will not foul against it.

The reel line can be attached to the strap of the DSMB via a small karibiner type clip. The clip can be rolled up in the DSMB before strapping it onto the reel, so it will not catch on anything.

To attach the reel to me, I just clip it to a D ring via a short length of line with a large karibiner type clip. The line is about a foot long so can be wrapped round a bit of metal on the wreck during deployment so as to prevent problems if the reel should jam (mine never has). Normally the line is wrapped round the handle and sits underneath the DSMB so the reel does not dangle from the D ring it is clipped to.

The large McMahon reel is, alas, somewhat on the large size for neat stowing, however it is so much nicer to use than the smaller ones that it makes the extra encumbrance worthwhile.