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Surface Marker Buoys (SMBs)

Being able to let the surface know where you are during a dive is critical in some situations, and highly recommended in most others. The main ways divers use to achieve this are: a Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) which stays on the surface, with or without a dive flag; a Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) which can be deployed by the diver from underwater; or a Safety Sausage which can only be deployed on the surface.

We consider the Safety Sausage to be unsafe and don't sell them. After all, how do you safely get to the surface in areas where there is boat traffic in order to deploy your safety sausage. They are usually much smaller than DSMBs, and thus don't do nearly as good a job as a signalling/location device.

Most people refer to a DSMB as just a SMB, which is why this category is called Surface Marker Buoys (SMBs), but technically they're very different.

SMB vs DSMB

A Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) is floated on the surface during a dive to mark the diver's position during drift dives, night dives, mist or disturbed sea conditions. A SMB is absolutely essential kit for diving anywhere you may have surface boat traffic. It allows your position to be known by people watching from shore and watercraft, whether they be the boat you are diving from, or other water users. Typically a SMB will have a dive flag on it as well. See Surface Markers for our range of SMBs.

A Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB), decompression buoy or deco buoy, is deployed whilst the diver is submerged and generally only towards the end of the dive. The DSMB marks the diver's position underwater so the boat safety cover can locate the diver even though the diver may have drifted some distance from the dive site while doing safety or decompression stops. A reel or finger spool and line connect the buoy on the surface to the diver beneath the surface.

Our recommendation is that all divers should carry a DSMB and reel on every dive. In many boat diving situations it's also good practice to also have a Surface Marker with dive flag up on the surface to tell your surface support where you are for the whole of the dive.

SMBs and DSMBs are not intended to be used to lift heavy weights. That's what a Lift Bag is for.

Where to Deploy Your DSMB

Delayed SMBs, such as the AP Diving Buddy DSMB, are designed to be deployed from depth near the end of, or at any critical point during, a dive. Some divers, like us, prefer to shoot their Delayed SMBs from the bottom and thus let the surface support know they're begining their ascent. Other divers shoot from mid-water when they start their safety stop, or decompression stops. We strongly recommend you have a Delayed SMB and reel/spool with you on every dive. On open water dives, waiting until you surface to deploy a surface only safety sausage is dangerous in high boat traffic areas.

Which Colour Delayed SMB Should you Use

There are essentially three choices for DSMB colouring — all Red, all Yellow, or Red and Yellow on contrasting sides.

Studies have shown that Red and Yellow are the two most visible colours at sea. But each colour works better than the other in different conditions. Thus if you look around a dive shop, you will see up to three SMB colours: all Red; all Yellow; and one side Red, one side Yellow.

Recreational Diving

An all Red SMB is far and away the most common SMB colour. This leads some new divers to buy an all Yellow SMB so theirs will stand out more when at a busy dive site. We don't recommend this.

Other divers buy the two-colour SMBs (Red on one side, Yellow on the other side) because these must surely be the ideal for high-visibility over the widest range of conditions. For recreational diving, especially when ocean diving, this is what we recommend. However, it is essential that you let your surface cover know that your combined Red and Yellow SMB is not being used as an emergency signal unless an emergency signal or message is attached to it.

Advanced/Technical Diving

In Australia, and many other parts of the world, there is a convention used by more advanced and technical divers that an all Yellow SMB is an emergency signal, to be responded to by sending down a cylinder of gas, or a rescue diver, or both.

Whilst for the most part recreational divers do not have or need such a signal, it is possible for both types of diver to be on the same dive site. If one group of divers is using Yellow as an emergency signal and the other group uses Yellow as standard, this could lead to confusion and even to a genuine emergency signal being ignored.

For this reason, unless you have a very strong reason for wanting an all Yellow SMB as standard, please don't buy one.

If you decide that you would like to use a Yellow SMB as an emergency signal yourself, two precautions to take are:

  • Make sure your surface cover knows this convention
  • Mark the SMB with "EMERGENCY", "HELP", "SOS" or some other such message in large, clear black letters to ensure there is no doubt that you are a diver in distress and not just a diver who thought a Yellow SMB looked nicer than a Red one.


Product Image Item Name- Price
AP Diving Buddy Delayed SMB with Mini-Cylinder Inflation - SMBCi

AP Diving Buddy Delayed SMB with Mini-Cylinder Inflation - SMBCi

The superb Buddy Self-sealing Delayed SMB with mini-cylinder inflation from AP Diving A real gem of a product, the Buddy SMBCi has all the features...
$375.00  $295.00
Save: $80.00 (21%)


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AP Diving Buddy Pocket Reel and Delayed SMB Package

AP Diving Buddy Pocket Reel and Delayed SMB Package

This package combines the small and compact Buddy Pocket Reel with the Buddy Self Sealing Delayed SMB . This is the best combination on the market....
$245.00  $185.00
Save: $60.00 (24%)


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AP Diving Buddy Self-Sealing Delayed SMB

AP Diving Buddy Self-Sealing Delayed SMB

The original AP Diving Buddy Self-Sealing Delayed Surface Marker Buoy Closed (SMBC - SMB Closed). Much copied but never bettered. A high visibility...
$105.00  $85.00
Save: $20.00 (19%)


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AP Diving Training Delayed SMB

AP Diving Training Delayed SMB

A must have for all dive instructors the AP Diving Training Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) is identical in design to the rest of the AP Diving...
$125.00  $99.00
Save: $26.00 (21%)


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AP Diving Buddy SMBCi Easifil Inflator Hose Adapter

AP Diving Buddy SMBCi Easifil Inflator Hose Adapter

The Buddy AP35P Easifil Inflator Hose Adapter for SMBCI is for use with an APSMBCi - Surface Marker Buoy with inflation. The AP35P is an alternative...
$75.00  $60.00
Save: $15.00 (20%)


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Best Divers Deco Pocket Set - SMB and Reel

Best Divers Deco Pocket Set - SMB and Reel

The Best Divers Deco Pocket Kit comes with a SMB, finger spool reel, stainless steel double-ended snap bolt and a leg pocket to keep it all in. The...
$59.00  $49.00
Save: $10.00 (17%)


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Divesoft SOS Kit

Divesoft SOS Kit

The Divesoft SOS-kit is a set of tools that every diver should have at hand when diving in open water and in currents or in places where currents can...
$255.00  $239.00
Save: $16.00 (6%)


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IST Proline Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) in Pouch

IST Proline Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) in Pouch

This package combines an IST Proline Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) with a handy Storage Pouch. All divers are supposed to carry a Surface Marker...
$79.00  $63.00
Save: $16.00 (20%)


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Northern Diver Delayed SMB 1.8 metre - Diver Below

Northern Diver Delayed SMB 1.8 metre - Diver Below

The Northern Diver Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) is a 1.8 metre long 'tube' style DSMB, featuring an over inflation 'auto' dump valve (which can...
$162.00  $133.00
Save: $29.00 (18%)


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OMS Delayed SMB (Yellow) - 13 kg Lift (EMERGENCY wording)

OMS Delayed SMB (Yellow) - 13 kg Lift (EMERGENCY wording)

OMS Emergency Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (SMB) with 13 kg (30 lb) lift capacity. Length is 157 cm (5'2"). Yellow in colour for maximum visibility,...
$75.00  $69.00
Save: $6.00 (8%)


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Featured Products - Lift Bags / Reels / SMBs

AP Diving Buddy Self-Sealing Delayed SMB

AP Diving Buddy Self-Sealing Delayed SMB
$105.00  $85.00
Save: $20.00 (19%)
AP Diving Buddy Pocket Reel and Delayed SMB Package

AP Diving Buddy Pocket Reel and Delayed SMB Package
$245.00  $185.00
Save: $60.00 (24%)

Monthly Specials For May

Northern Diver Delayed SMB 1.8 metre - Diver Below

Northern Diver Delayed SMB 1.8 metre - Diver Below
$162.00  $133.00
Save: $29.00 (18%)

Best Divers Deco Pocket Set - SMB and Reel

Best Divers Deco Pocket Set - SMB and Reel
$59.00  $49.00
Save: $10.00 (17%)
AP Diving Buddy Pocket Reel and Delayed SMB Package

AP Diving Buddy Pocket Reel and Delayed SMB Package
$245.00  $185.00
Save: $60.00 (24%)
AP Diving Buddy SMBCi Easifil Inflator Hose Adapter

AP Diving Buddy SMBCi Easifil Inflator Hose Adapter
$75.00  $60.00
Save: $15.00 (20%)

Divesoft SOS Kit

Divesoft SOS Kit
$255.00  $239.00
Save: $16.00 (6%)
AP Diving Training Delayed SMB

AP Diving Training Delayed SMB
$125.00  $99.00
Save: $26.00 (21%)

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