APEKS - Technically inspired
For many years we have been users and advocates of APEKS equipment. Whether its regulators, BC's, side mount systems, torches, masks, clothing, bags - you name it, if it's got APEKS on it, its gonna be quality and it's going to get the job done.
The APEKS story begins in the mid-1970s, two friends decided to combine their knowledge of diving and precision engineering. Working from a small garage in the north of England, they set about creating what has become some of the most respected scuba diving equipment on the market.
Today Apeks Marine Equipment Ltd. (APEKS) is a highly respected scuba diving equipment manufacturer based in Blackburn in the bleak northern side of England (UK). The company is renowned for its high quality, high performing diving regulators (especially for cold water use) and is also well known for its dry suit valves, which are provided to many dry suit manufacturers.
Apeks equipment is used by several militaries and emergency services, including the Royal Navy. Apeks products are also being used to explore some of the deepest, coldest and most challenging dive environments on earth.
The company was founded in 1974 by Ken Ainscough and Eric Partington, with its name being an anagram of their initials. In 1997, the company was acquired by Aqua Lung but APEKS equipment is still produced in its Blackburn based manufacturing facility.
One product often overlooked in the APEKS equipment portfolio, but essential on every dive, is the finger spool used to deploy a DSMB (delayed surface marker buoy). There are many spools on the market but not all perform the same. We have been using the APEKS spool kits for many years and they perform so lets have a more detailed look at what makes them so good.
The APEKS product marketing states "Inspired by technical diving and versatile enough to be used in a range of diving applications", the LifeLine spool kits from Apeks features easy to grip flared sides to improve deployment and winding. Made from tough anodised aluminium alloy with high visibility line for low light conditions and with a super tough leader and swivel as standard, the Lifeline comes in four sizes and colours and is complemented by a range of line markers and cookies. They are available in four sizes - Purple 15 metres, Green 30 metres, Blue 45 metres and Grey 60 metres.
Features and benefits
The unique flared design to allow ease of winding whilst wearing gloves and an outer grip for ease of use. There is a large diameter centre hole for use in cold water whilst wearing gloves, other cheaper spools have a small hole and there is a risk of getting a finger trapped inside which can result in an injury. The spools are colour coded to allow ease of identification of each size. The spools are wound with a high quality, high visibility line (fluorescent orange and yellow. With a rugged construction, high tensile line leader to avoid damage to the main line when ‘tying off’. As with other APEKS products the spool system is built like a tank and made to last.
The line swivel prevents line entanglement and twisting, especially when winding back onto the spool. Machined from one piece of aircraft grade aluminium they are gorgeously finished in a vibrant anodised coating which makes identification in your dive bag or underwater easy. One really important feature is the spool is not over-wound like cheaper ones on the market. This enables additional line to be added if required. Included in the kit is a stainless steel bolt snap which is nickel finished. The spools are designed and manufactured in the UK at their Blackburn manufacturing facility (yes British made). Another nice feature is the line is sewn instead of tied to increase strength. The line is a bright orange and is easily visible in low light conditions.
The spool is manufactured from T6061 (aeronautical) grade Aluminium and finished with an anodised colour which looks great. The line leader is Alloy with a Dyneema swivel and High Visibility Line. To complete the kit the bolt snap is brass with a shiny Nickel Plate finish and stainless steel 316 grade mechanism (will not rust).
They are available in a variety of lengths so well suited for both recreational and technical diving and also lend themselves well in overhead environments (cave and wreck).
The one draw back of the APEKS spool kits is they are not cheap but once purchased they will happily perform for many dives and years to come. If you hunt around on Alibaba there are cheap "pattern' copies of the APEKS spool but trust us, they are not the same, the quality sucks.
Mastering deployment of the DSMB does take time and for us at Aotearoa Dive we believe its a fundamental skill which is why we teach safe use at Open Water diver level and certainly on all specialty courses, comfort through repetition right?
The APEKS spools are available in store and online in our web store.
For more information click here.
Durable and made to last?
Below is one of our tried, tested and trusted APEKS spools, over 8 years in the field and some 3000 dives/deployments and still going strong!
How to stow your DSMB and spool
Spools can be easily lost or worst still, unravel in the water, which can present a hazard to the dive team.
The photo below shows the correct way to carry your expensive APEKS spool.
Don't know what you're looking at?
You maybe need to train with us! We do it right.
The devil is in the detail!