Practice SMB

If you’re a SCUBA diver worth any salt at all, then you’ve been carrying around a SMB (surface marker buoy) since dive number 30 or so. Regardless of your gear’s age, knowing how to use it without losing your absolute shit under water is key to a safe, happy, and enjoyable dive.

The Problem

The problem is that most of these fuckers are huge balloons, like six-foot long fun-bags from hell. They are meant to use once, then go to the surface and get picked up by the boat. There’s no way to pull them back down, and in fact, the untrained SMB-er will likely be pulled to the surface or lose their gear as it shoots toward the sun without them.

The Solution

The solution? The mini SMB!

Inexpensive to acquire the supplies. Simple to make. Easy to play around with underwater.

I’m going to tell you exactly what I got, where I got it, and how I put it all together so you can have a practice SMB of your own.

The Materials

First, you need to find and buy a very small SMB. My product of choice was the 36″ HOG from Piranha Dive Manufacturing. It’s perfect for the size and price, and as a plug, Piranha has a TON of cool clips and accessories that they make in house.

Next, you need a high quality finger spool. My favorite is the Dive Rite spool with 120′ of 24# line. This is nicely priced and convenient to get from Spartan Scuba if you’re anywhere around the Gresham, Oregon area. If not, you can get this from Dive Right In Scuba HERE.

Time to Fuck Shit Up

Now that you’ve got all your new stuff, it’s time to fuck it all up. Grab the sharpest pair of scissors you have and cut off the bottom of your SMB. Get rid of the inflator and that pesky dump valve. All of it. Gone. You should basically have a wonderfully built SMB with zero ability to keep air inside of it when pulled on.

I recommend taping around the cut edges with either some Gorilla tape, or super strong duct tape, or if you’re really handy, sew on a seam to keep it from unravelling.

Tape or sew a seam around the gaping hole in the bottom. Nobody likes a gaping hole.


– #boymade

Now you need to poke some holes or even just A HOLE in the center of the bottom. I chose to make mine pretty by using grommets on either side of the SMB. Thread through a good length of 1/8″ bungee and tie a wonderful knot in the end of each side.

Once you’ve done that, drop the end of your spool loop through the bungees, roll it all up, and you’re set to take this bitch under water.

In the End…

The moment you whip this thing out and start playing around with it, your friends are going to lose their minds. Everyone in your group is going to want a turn popping your sausage while you sit back and relish being crafty enough to have this. As an added benefit, since it’s yours, you get to be better than everyone else at doing it. *heh*

You can thank me later.