How do you keep exhaust fumes out of your breathing air?
The Super Snorkel is designed to keep exhaust fumes separated away from the breathing air intake.  The air hose leads off of the front of the unit so that it floats like a boat at anchor with the compressor into the wind (the flag aids in keeping the compressor upwind). The air intake is also located at the top of the flag mast which also helps separate the intake from the exhaust.  One should also note that exhaust fumes are heavier than air and will sink down spreading out across the top of the water as they are carried away from the unit.  All of the above design works well when unit is floating.  However when leaving unit in boat it should be mounted deck level with very good ventilation (foredeck on bow of boat).  DO NOT mount unit in cockpit or on swim platform behind transom as well as any other location that has back drafting air currents that will bring exhaust fumes back to compressor.  Current customers who have improperly located their units have said that they could taste the bad exhaust fumes within 3 or 4 breaths.  Obviously they then moved the unit to a better location.


Surge chambers have their use under certain circumstances.  The air hoses themselves are basically surge chambers and will hold between one and two breaths of air as pressure should the engine quit.  In-line surge chambers will give extra breaths should the engine quit (small tanks will not give much air).  This however is not the main use since you will breath the surge chamber down in pressure before realizing that the engine has quit.  A surge chambers main use would be to smooth out the air flow from sudden quick demands on air flow.  In other words if you are towards the maximum depth without a tank and took a long deep breath, the initial part of your breath would come quickly as you drop the pressure in the hose.  Then about a third to half way into your breath it would be a hard inhale as you wait for the compressor to feed you the rest of your breath.  A surge chamber provides extra volume under pressure so that you get an even flow of air throughout your inhale breath.  The only disadvantage to surge chambers is that they add to the bulk of gear that needs to be carried with you.  Most of our customers make their own surge tanks using old scuba cylinders, stainless soda cylinders, beer kegs, etc..  The most common tank is usually made out of PVC pipe since it is inexpensive and readily available.

The one additional rule to scuba diving rules is that if you cannot make a free ascent from wherever you are, YOU SHOULD NOT BE THERE! or else you should have a redundant air supply (Spare Air, or pony bottle).  The disadvantage to redundant air sources is that they have to be filled at a dive shop or from a scuba tank.  Being able to make a free ascent rules out: decompression dives, cave dives, wreck dives (internal), and very deep dives.  Note: each divers abilities are different since some divers claim to be comfortable with a free ascent from 60 ft. or more while most certified divers are at least comfortable with a 20 to 30 ft. free ascent.

As far as diving rules go diving on a Super Snorkel is the same as scuba diving on a tank (both are using compressed air).  Try to understand that if you take a breath while you are below the waters surface, the air you are breathing is compressed no matter where it is coming from.  The water pressure on the air is compressing it.  With these thoughts in mind you must follow your dive tables when diving on a Super Snorkel.  This is why most divers commonly limit their dives to approximately 33 ft. maximum depth which is the no-decompression limit (US Navy dive tables).

The mounting platform on a Super Snorkel is designed to keep the center of gravity low (dish shaped mounting platform).  With this mounting setup, the floating models will handle 2 to 3 ft. swells just fine.  The problem arises when there is surf or whitecaps that will roll the unit over or swamp the unit from the top.  In rough conditions such as these the unit would then be left mounted in the boat out of the way of the rough water.  When mounting the compressor on the boat, hose extensions come in handy to get a larger circumference around the boat.  Usually with small boats such as dinghies which tow very easily longer hoses are not always necessary.  With larger boats enough hose to enable reaching the anchor is about right.  That way the anchor can be lifted for a drift move down current.  Then after resetting the anchor another dive circle can be established around the new set point.  Some people even use a small bag or pail tied to the anchor as a lift bag to aid drifting with the anchor.

The hose length on the compressor is not what determines the depth capability.  Depth capability is determined by the air volume output of the compressor.  The hoses could almost be any length you want.  Longer hoses simply act as a surge chamber (a long thin surge chamber).  Pressure drop in long hoses is not much of a factor since breathing is not a steady air flow demand.  When the diver inhales he is dropping the pressure in the last 30 to 40 ft of hose, and while he is exhaling the air in the first part of the hose (no matter how long) has a chance to flow forward rebuilding the pressure in the last bit.  Note:  many commercial divers run between 300 and 600 ft of hose.

Proper maintenance is CRUCIAL on a Super Snorkel especially in salt water.  Maintenance will make a Night-&-Day difference between a smooth running reliable unit and a hard to start, lower airflow, and easy to quit unexpectedly unit.  Rust inhibitive sprays are first on the list.  We use and sell "LPS-3" others on the market are "Boeshield T-9", "CRC heavy duty rust inhibitor 656 or 666", "Corrosion Block", etc.  Many people ask about WD-40 (readily available) which rinses off as soon as it gets wet.  Our customers using WD-40 pretty much use it to rinse off the salt water after EVERY dive.  The sprays we use and recommend don't wash off readily and would only need reapplication about once to three times a year.  Regardless of the spray, after saltwater use the unit must be given a gentle fresh water rinse and then run for 10 to 15 minutes before storing it away.  This running after it has gotten wet is a critical MUST DO since it heats up the unit and helps dry out internal moisture.

You can use a buoyancy compensator if you want to. We sell a small brass "T" and side arm adapter for the low pressure BC hose that normally goes to the first stage regulator on the tank. This "T" fitting would be inserted in the regulator hose where the weight belt clip attaches. However, just because you can use a BC doesn't necessarily mean that you will want to. We find that less than 5% of our customers even want to use a BC. Most of our customers are trying to get away from the excessive dive gear bulk and weight associated with tanks. The thing to remember is that with tank diving, the tank on your back will change buoyancy as the air is removed over the course of the dive which is why they came out with buoyancy compensators. I personally began diving when BC's didn't exist and you had to use your breathing control and lung capacity to help control buoyancy. Anyway, since you no longer have that tank on your back, your buoyancy will not change from the beginning of the dive to the end of the dive. This means that the BC is not a real necessity. Most people who want a BC actually want it to float on the surface before and after a dive. This can be solved by hanging onto the float tube or a separate float tied to the float tube. Another common alternative would be a snorkeling vest which is more streamlined and less money but has the disadvantage of being orally inflated.

The filters we use are both particle filters.  Since the compressors we use are oil-less or non-lubricated there won't be any oil vapors in the air to filter out thus avoiding the costly cartridge filters associated with scuba tank filling compressors.  The air output from our compressors has been tested and passes all of OSHA and Grade-E breathing air specifications.  The filters we place on the compressor intake and in each air line are to remove any airborne dirt, etc.  Remember there isn't much dirt in the air at normal diving locations so filters don't get dirty very fast.  The in-line filter material (looks like cotton) is easily replaced with locally available polyester filter fiber.  This filter medium is used in many industries from hypo-allergenic pillow stuffing to aquarium filters.  The latter use makes it easy to find anywhere aquarium supplies are sold (Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, pet stores, etc.).

As with all compressed air water will tend to condense out.  This condensate will simply come through the hose as humid air which most divers find more comfortable than the cotton mouth dry scuba tank air.  If a customer is finding water occasionally spurting in the regulator we usually find an improperly installed surge tank, or a leaking regulator diaphragm or exhaust valve.

Air travel is certainly an option.  Many customers take their Super Snorkel overseas when they plan to spend a lot of dive time underwater.  Of course care must be taken in packing the unit very well since baggage handlers can be extremely rough.  The storage case will work well if packed very tightly with foam or stuffing. Usually hoses, regulators, and float tube are packed with the other dive gear.  A very important step is in draining all the oil out of the crankcase, and draining both the gas tank and carburetor (allowing them to air dry is also advisable).  Airlines are particularly careful about disallowing flammables onboard.  With all the new airline regulations I would strongly urge you to call in advance to find out what their requirements are. Surprises when you are ready to board take some of  the fun out of the vacation.

The number of divers on a Super Snorkel are directly related to the depth capability of the divers.  The compressor on the surface has a specific volume of air it is capable of delivering.  The deeper the air is being delivered the smaller the volume of available breathing air (due to compression at each water depth).  Each diver requires a set volume of air to breath comfortably.  At a specific depth there is a specific volume of air available.  Dividing this available air up will determine the number of divers that can be supplied at that depth.  If dividing the available air up between too many divers doesn't give each diver enough air, they will have to go to a shallower depth.  At the shallower depth they will have more air available (less compression due to water depth).  Note: our depth estimates are for an average diver breathing casually.  Everyone has different breathing habits and therefore heavy breathers or divers working hard will not be able to get as deep.  If you are looking to get to 30 or 40 ft with plenty of air you may be more interested in the models DD1H4.0, DD1H2.5, or DD2H5.5.  If you are looking for 30 ft. and shallower diving and are good at conserving air you may prefer the SS-I due to its lower initial cost.

The larger direct drive compressor models are probably better at supplying air for most situations since they put out more air volume.  However they do cost more.  With this in mind if all your diving is 20 ft or less you may prefer the less expensive SS-I instead.  We see different problems with each compressor.  The smaller SS-I compressor is lighter duty and delivers less air so the problems we see are when the customer wants more air but doesn't want the extra cost of the direct drive models.  In these situations the unit is usually altered to run slightly faster which will wear out the exhaust valves and bearings faster in the compressor.  The exhaust valves can break in five minutes if run very fast.  We do not see these problems with the direct drive models since they already delivers plenty of air and are designed to run at the higher speeds.  Instead the direct drive compressor problems are usually corrosion related.  The different compressors have different advantages, and disadvantages.  For shallow water 30 foot or less the SS-I compressor will be less money.  If you want to get deeper or want enough air for heavy breathing at 30 ft. (usually heavy recreational or commercial diving) then the direct drive compressor models would be the choice.

Usually we tell the customer that if the price difference between the Briggs & Stratton  and the Honda is not the determining factor then we would buy the Honda, because it is a nice smooth running engine.  The differences are mostly internal with the Honda being more commercially designed.  The Honda has a cast iron cylinder sleeve (Briggs is an aluminum bore).  Other than that it comes mostly down to brand name.  The internal differences aren't that much of a concern since we do not see engines worn out internally.  The reason for this is that the 3.5 hp Briggs and 2.5 hp Honda have a lot of overkill power for the 0.5 hp SS-I compressor.  The main reason for spending more money on the Honda is that they have a very good reputation and definitely build a smooth running easy to start motor.  Externally neither engine will be more resistant to salt water.  It is critical that the customer use a good rust inhibiting spray such as: LPS-3, CRC-666, Boeshield T-9, Corrosion Block, etc.  We recommend spraying anything metal except for the belt pulley drive (on SS-I models) and the air intakes.  Be sure to coat the carburetor controls extra well.  The time between re-coating the unit will depend upon the spray.  We use LPS-3 and depending upon use it might need to be re-sprayed once to three times a year (WD-40 users spray the unit down each time after use since WD-40 rinses off so easily.).  Then after salt water use give the unit a gentle (non-blasting spray) fresh water rinse.  Then most important of all is that the unit needs to be run for a minimum of 10-15 minutes anytime it has gotten wet.  This will heat up the internals and help dry the system out.

Super Snorkel compressors do not have high enough pressure (50 to 100 psig) to fill scuba tanks (3000 to 4000 psig).  Tank filling compressors are multi stage to achieve these high pressures.

The question of depth capability on simply an extra long snorkel would be determined by the divers physical fitness in breathing muscles.  In general a physically fit person would not be able to suck air down more than about two to three feet under water.  The reason for this is that the chest cavity and associated muscles of the human body are designed more for exhaling air than sucking air in.  Once a diver gets down to about three feet of depth the water pressure on the outside of the chest cavity is too much for the body to overcome and makes breathing very difficult or not possible.  Therefore it is much more comfortable to breath air that has been pumped underwater (compressed) to be at the same pressure as the water pressure on the chest cavity.  To test this for yourself use a length of 1/2" pipe and see how far underwater you can blow air.  Three feet in depth will probably be difficult, and imagine each breath being this difficult.  Breathing with this much difficulty would shortly wear a person out.

Brief listing of models and information pages below. Click on picture or page for more details.

Home Page Index
SS-I Briggs 2 divers to 30' maximum / 1 diver to 50' max.
DD1H4.0XL OUR MOST POPULAR MODEL:  2 divers to 70' max / 1 diver to 100' max.
DD2H5.5 2 divers to 90' maximum / 4 diver to 60' max.
SS-E 110volt 2 divers to 25' maximum / 1 diver to 45' max.
LP Extension 40' & 60' hoses (custom upon request)
Storage Case Keeps bugs and dirt out during storage
Care & Maintenance Tips on extending the life expectancy of your equipment
Common Questions Answers to commonly asked questions.
Testimonials A few testimonials from current Super Snorkel customers
Warranty Warranties & Policies 

If your question is not here please feel free to ask. Who knows it may soon be on this page.

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