Communicating underwater can be sometimes dangerous or difficult. This is why scuba divers invented hand signs for underwater communication. If you are a diver you might have been frustrated at least once in your diving life because your buddy was not looking at you when you wanted to tell him something. Unfortunately, this lack of communication could have for result to miss an amazing manta ray or a whale shark !
But even worse, not being able to communicate underwater can just be very dangerous. Imagine if your buddy is too far from you and run out of air, if you get a cramp or a shortness of breath … There are, however, other ways to be heard under the water: clapping, shouting or using a metal stick on your tank. In recent years electronic devices have also been invented as shakers or the famous duck scream warning. yeah that’s weird.
What is Buddy Watcher?
This new invention was born five years ago in the imagination of three engineers who were very keen on diving. Their problem? Resolve the difficulties of communicating underwater between divers. So, they have developed an ultrasonic device named soberly Buddy-Watcher that, in 2015 will climb to the CyberOne Awards final. This product as small as a dive computer could be worn around your wrist or your arm. The Buddy-Watcher is super simple to use only 2 buttons. It works thanks to the ultrasound emitted between the two housings yours and the one that your buddy is wearing which must be synchronized together before each dive. Under the water, pressing one of the two buttons sends an ultrasound to the device of your underwater buddy which will then vibrate, attracting his attention.
Thanks to this system you won’t disturbed the other divers of the group with unwanted noises. The range of the signal is 20 meters, well beyond the distance where your diving pair should be.
Does it cost much ?
The two Buddy-Watchers, for you and your buddy, cost about 220 USD. The Buddy-Watcher comes with a 3.7-volt battery that last during 4 divings when fully charged. The unit can be charged via a USB cable or via an AC outlet. Two sizes of bracelets are available for the divers: a standard wrist size and an XXL size to be worn over a wetsuit.
Who needs the Buddy Watcher?
This diving accessory is intended for all recreational divers but especially for:
- People with hearing troubles
- Extremely inattentive divers
- People diving in low visibility water
- Dive centers. The Buddy-Watcher allows, via the Master function, to send a signal to several devices making possible to communicate with an entire group.
However, the device is not intended for technical divers since it is made to go 40 meters deep maximum.
The future improvements of the brand
The product being quite new, Buddy-Watcher teams are still working on improvements that will strengthen the security side of the device. In order to avoid being separated from your buddy or from the group during diving, the main improvement will be to signal to the divers when the distance between the team members is too high.
The buddy watcher is almost the size of a dive computer, if you are used to dive with a computer on your wrist you won’t even notice that you are wearing it. His black and green design will attract questions of curious divers. The Buddy-watcher is super easy to use, as we told you there is only 2 buttons. To get it synchronized, it took us 10 seconds. And once you are underwater, you just have to press one button to call your friend. I tried it in a 16 C° water without glove and the cold wasn’t a problem for using it. The large green button makes it difficult to miss it when needed. The vibration feelings are effective without being brutal even though I was wearing a 7 mm suit. Thanks to this device, it is impossible for your buddy to miss your call. I tested the Buddy Watcher at the Promonte Wreck in Elba Iland, Italia. Thanks to it I could warned my colleague that he was missing moray eels hidden in holes and nudibranchs without disturbing the other divers. I also used it once during the diving to tell him that he was starting to go too far from the group without using all my skill to reach him !
As a first experience, i was truly surprised by the device. Super easy to use, nice design and finally very essential ! Buddy Watcher is not only good underwater communication tool for recreational divers but offers also potential of an indispensable safety tool. If you like new technology, want to communicate more easily underwater and want to be safer, we surely recommend buddy watcher.