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Old 07-27-2014, 01:05 AM   #1
264win
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FRV pros vs cons

I would like to open a discussion about the use of the FRV in the PNW.
There is no question that it is a great tool that can make diving safer in many circumstances.
I think there may be a few people ( like myself ) that have never even seen one in person, and may have some questions about how effective they are in the unique diving conditions we have here in the PNW.
If anyone has any experience diving with the FRV here, or just an informed opinion/question please share your thoughts.
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Old 07-27-2014, 05:07 PM   #2
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

Max and his son have em. It looks pretty sleek, and Max told me that he doesn't even notice it. I'm sure he will chime in here when he gets a chance
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:04 PM   #3
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

Cliff is right Adam. Max and Calvin both have an FRV. In fact the FRV facebook page has a picture of them wearing their vests. As Cliff mentioned Max has said he doesn't even notice it when he's diving. I've also read and saw video testimonials of people saying pretty much the same thing.

When I get the money I'm definitely going to invest in one. In our murky waters it's hard for your dive buddy to always keep a close eye on you. Having a FRV is like having a dive buddy with you at all times. You can't put a price on that, wait, you can $1,500 lol
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Old 07-27-2014, 07:16 PM   #4
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

It's actually cheaper if you use the dive safety link at the top of the page.

I plan to get one for Xmas, wrote the guy and he said the deal was good thru the end of the year.
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:11 PM   #5
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

I have one as well. Can't think of a "con" except the cost.

Terry Maas has a lot of research on his website about diver safety and what really hit home for me was how many divers died (massive percentage) while still wearing their weights. So, it's to say when a SWB might occur, a diver is not clear in the head and will make a bad decision. This vest takes that out of the equation. Check out the website - I don't have a link, but easy to google.

Morbid to say, but if the $#!+ did hit the fan - I won't be crab bait.
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Old 07-28-2014, 02:31 AM   #6
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by 264win View Post
I would like to open a discussion about the use of the FRV in the PNW.
There is no question that it is a great tool that can make diving safer in many circumstances.
I think there may be a few people ( like myself ) that have never even seen one in person, and may have some questions about how effective they are in the unique diving conditions we have here in the PNW.
If anyone has any experience diving with the FRV here, or just an informed opinion/question please share your thoughts.
I know I don't dive the PNW, or should I say I haven't, not yet at least. But I do own and use the FRV Mark II and might be able to add to the discussion.

When I first held the FRV Mark II I thought to myself "no way this could be comfortable to wear while freediving!" I'm strictly a freediver and have no experience scuba diving so the thought of wearing a "back-pack" style device freaked me out at first. That was until I put it on for the first time and jumped in the water. Upon entering the water I realized I needed to make a few little adjustments on the straps to snug them up a little due to the compression on my body and suit in the water versus out of the water. I made a few drops and obviously I noticed the new attachment to my back, but after about 5-6 drops I realized I hadn't noticed it anymore. (I had the surface reminder option turned off)
Pros:
It could save my life and or return my body home to my family for closure in case of an emergency
It has many features that cover the realm of what-if's that could happen while diving (many deployment features/settings)
It fits amazing and is very streamlined
The user settings are very simple and easy to use, user-friendly
It's small and compact, travels easy (light-weight, comes with nice carry bag)
It's only $1200-$1500, very reasonable for a piece of equipment that can almost guarantee to save you in the event of a SWB and bring your body to the surface in other emergencies (heart attack, stroke, etc while descended)
The vest is TSA travel approved
Made with very durable material
Cons:
It's a computer based device, there is always a chance of failure. But I believe Dr. Maas uses the best quality components and inspects/test every device before shipping it.

I know a lot of people grumble about the cost of the device and many cannot afford one at this time. To me it is a low cost to raise the chances of survival and or a body being returned if a tragedy does occur. It gives my wife and kids some comfort knowing that I use it when I dive. I wish my friend OutdoorCatholic/Michael had one on this time last year, he would be home with his now 2 yr old son and young wife and if it was something other than SWB (all evidence leads us to believe it was classic SWB) then his body wouldn't have been missing for 3-4 weeks after the accident, causing much pain and grief for his family and putting many other life's at risk searching for him. I figured if I can buy nice fins and guns, spends money on traveling and spearing, I could make some sacrifices and purchase a device that highly improves my chances of survival and makes my family feel better about my dive trips.
Just another note, during the extended search for OC/Michael I was told by his mother that the life insurance company stated that they wouldn't pay out on his policy until a body was found or 7 years after the date of the accident.
I won't dive without it.

Like I previously said, I haven't dove the PNW but my first dive with the FRV was in a fresh water lake in Nebraska. It may be somewhat similar, I don't know. Low viz, lots of structure like trees, huge rocks/boulders, cooler water, thermocline and big fish. I was diving under structure looking for big catfish, I never felt the FRV get hung up on anything.

Thanks for your time, I hope everyone considers getting this amazing device. I'm so tired of reading "RiP ______ __________" threads when most of them could have been prevented.

Aloha,
Chad

PS. Now is a great time to get one at a discounted price, take advantage of the offer that flashes in a banner at the top of SB.
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Old 07-28-2014, 03:55 AM   #7
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

The way I view it is like this, imagine if your wife, significant other, son, daughter, mother or father were free diving, I would want them to be wearing this when they do. I would feel much more comfortable if my wife and or daughters wore a FRV each time they entered the water...
I am sure and know for a fact that my wife and daughters are...
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:07 AM   #8
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

Hi Chad, Thanks for your thoughtful posts. I plan on getting an FRV.
I noted however that you have had the surface reminder feature turned off. I'm curious why you do that? My FII instructor noted that over 90% of SWB's happen within the first seconds AFTER surfacing, when the P02 has just plummeted and before you replenish (hopefully with recovery/"hook" breaths). ???
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:14 AM   #9
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

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Originally Posted by quattroluvr View Post
Hi Chad, Thanks for your thoughtful posts. I plan on getting an FRV.
I noted however that you have had the surface reminder feature turned off. I'm curious why you do that? My FII instructor noted that over 90% of SWB's happen within the first seconds AFTER surfacing, when the P02 has just plummeted and before you replenish (hopefully with recovery/"hook" breaths). ???
Yee, and he is correct, the rule of 9's I think they call it. I turn it off because it still has other features that will deploy the vest if you black out. If you surface and descend within a pre-set time (I think its 15 seconds) then the vest automatically inflates or something like that. It is another back up feature to the surface reminder and other features. So my understanding is that if you have the surface reminder option turned off, you ascend to the surface after a dive, black out and start to descend, once you get to a predetermined depth the vest deploys and shoots you to the surface and turns you face up. I turn off the reminder because I know me, I will forget to push the button if I am fighting a fish and get excited or something so I just don't use it.
Get one, you won't regret it!

I hope I answered the question correctly, I may have the timing and deployment off a little but thats how I understand that feature to work.

Aloha,
Chad
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

Thank you all for sharing your FRV experience.

I'd like to know what kind of maintenance service is require for the FRV? and maintence cost? any warranty?

Does the wrist control module replace the dive computer watch?

Does anyone have the FRV manual in digital format that I can read? Thanks again.
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Last edited by godluvsall; 07-28-2014 at 11:42 AM.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:55 AM   #11
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by godluvsall View Post
Thank you all for sharing your FRV experience.

I'd like to know what kind of maintenance service is require for the FRV? and maintence cost? any warranty?

Does the wrist control module replace the dive computer watch?

Does anyone have the FRV manual in digital format that I can read? Thanks again.
I have a digital copy, PM me your email address and I will send it.


The Mark II does not have a wrist control module, I am not sure what you are referring to.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:12 PM   #12
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FRV pros vs cons

Hi all,
This is a great discussion. Thanks Chad for your insights. Attached is the manual and be sure to view the Youtube training videos starting at: Freedivers Recovery Vest CH-1 -- On overview of the FRV training videos to follow - YouTube
REGARDING THE SURFACE MINDER OPTION: Using this option, the diver must press the remote button after 15 seconds on the surface. After 15 seconds, the remote light starts blinking at which time you have another 15 seconds to press the button, otherwise the FRV deploys. Provided you have the lapels properly positioned for this option, it will immediately flip you onto your back. Because many divers, especially experienced divers, forget to press the button, they have annoying deployments. A good way to warn you to press the button is to use a dive watch such as the Aris and set an audible 15-second surface timer.

IS THERE SURFACE PROTECTION WHILE NOT USING THE SURFACE MINDER? My research shows most surface blackouts occur immediately or within the first 4 seconds. Even without the Surface Minder option, if you sink past 10 feet during the first 15 seconds after surfacing, the FRV will deploy unless you press the remote button, which buys you a 45-second delay to catch falling gear or to handle a fish.

Hope this helps, again read the manual and look at the videos. The FRV is complicated, but once you understand it, it is as easy to set as an alarm clock.

Terry
Attached Files
File Type: pdf FRV_Mark_II.pdf (1.21 MB, 63 views)
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:16 PM   #13
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

I think the Mark 1 had a wrist module. Mark II new one does not, if memory serves.

Chad - I think there might be a big mistake in your logic. I'd advise checking with the FRV people. I'm no expert on FRV, but I think the SURFACE MINDER / button push at surface is likely the MOST important safety feature of the FRV by a factor of ten. Relying on sinking to activate after an SWB at surface infers that you are relying on unsafe/negative weighting at surface? It's unlikely you dive negative right? So, this sounds really like an unsafe usage policy, or am I missing something? The FII says (a) use positive buoyant weighting at surface (b) over 90% of SWB's happen within seconds after surfacing. I think after one inadvertent forgetting to hit the button at surface, you'll remember! Or set your dive watch to beep for a surface reminder is a good idea as Terry noted above.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:24 PM   #14
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

BTW - Terry - are there links to trip reports we can read about your avatar pics!? You have had some amazing spearo adventures.
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Old 07-28-2014, 12:52 PM   #15
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Re: FRV pros vs cons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deutschland Spearo View Post
The Mark II does not have a wrist control module, I am not sure what you are referring to.
Maybe this was referring to Mark I??

http://oceanicss.com/vest_overview.htm
Using the Computer/Console, the freediver sets the dive parameters and monitors the progress of his dive. The activation unit contains the electronic chips that monitor the dive and activate two redundant valves, which release air from the integrated compressed air tank into the inflation bladder. It is retained within a pouch, which is connected to the inflation bladder and the waist belt. The flotation vest covers the activation unit and houses the inflation bladderóitís streamlined and contains a single sleeve to route the communication wire to the Computer/Console.. The external surface of the flotation vest is built from a durable material similar to that used in scuba buoyancy compensators . It lies flat against the diverís body and when it fills, air pressure forces out several layers of folded pleats, which provide for expansion. The pleats are brightly colored to signify to others that the vest has deployed. The vest supplies approximately 43-pounds of lift on the surface.
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