Updated: Jul 6
This is Tankless Diving and Snorkeling at its Best!
Now and then, you come across some innovation you didn’t know existed. The Airbuddy is one such set-up as an accessible option to snorkelers and would-be scuba divers alike. The concept is simple! The surface-supplied breathing apparatus (SSBA) will provide surface air to the diver below the water’s surface. This is the definition of actual tankless diving. Think of this as stepping up from snorkeling and just short of using a tank in SCUBA diving.
The compressor (pictured above) is battery-powered and can provide 55 minutes of air to 40 feet below the water’s surface. As someone who enjoys snorkeling, I see several benefits of having a unit like this. You are no longer limited to how long you can hold your breath. A good deal of exploration can be done in just an hour, adding another dimension to exploring various reefs.
Doing a quick bit of research on diving, I learned for most swimmers, a depth of 20 feet (6.09 meters) is the most they can safely free dive. Experienced divers can safely dive 40 feet (12.19 meters) when exploring underwater reefs. In essence, Airbuddy brings average swimmers on par with experienced swimmers.
For those who own boats and perform their maintenance/cleaning on the hull or propeller, the Airbuddy is the way to go.
Airbuddy, like scuba diving, has a similar set of safety rules. You breathe in compressed air, so you should take dive lessons before using it. In Airbuddy’s own words:
Learn about the implications of breathing compressed air, important safety rules and emergency procedures, as well as practical skills, such as how to breathe correctly, clear your mask from water, equalise your ears, weigh yourself, communicate underwater with hand signals, etc.
The unit comes with a coiled hose to prevent kinks and is also equipped with a safety backup air reservoir (16 liters) in case of underwater emergencies or a stopped compressor. If needed, this is enough for a few extra breaths from this spare air. Also of note is the underwater siren alerting the diver 10 minutes before running out of air, giving the user enough time to ascend to the surface.
Another feature of note is the ability to feed air to another “buddy.” The runtime on the unit will remain the same, but the maximum depth will be cut in half (20 feet maximum) as the unit supplies air to two divers instead of one.
Expect to pay close to $2000 for the Airbuddy set-up with the ability to swim with a “Buddy,” remembering you should always dive in pairs. If you want to double your dive time, an extra battery is available for $319. In either case, expect to expand your underwater possibilities with the Airbuddy!