Although not as expensive as reels, your spools are not something you can afford to lose…especially since your life may depend on one. But spool loss is something you can easily prevent. Reggie will show you how. Watch the video appearing below. A more detailed explanation follows.
Most spools come with a double-ended, stainless snap attached as shown here.
The problem with this is that the button on the snap’s sliding bolt can come into contact with the spool, causing the snap to open. This can happen regardless of whether the snap is facing in or out. The result can be either a total loss of the spool or the line remaining attached to the snap while the spool itself bounces along the cave floor behind you.
Another problem stems from the fact most spools come packed to the rim with guideline, blocking access to the holes.
You are going to want to remove some of this line, so that you have easier access to the holes.
Another thing you will want to do is tie a small loop at the bottom of the larger loop. This will make the loop easier to grasp and work with.
The next thing you will want to do is pass the end of the loop through one of the holes in the side of the spool, so that approximately 2.5 cm/1.0 in sticks out.
Clip your double-ended snap to this. Doing so makes it extremely difficult for the snap to open accidentally.
Some divers like to do multiple wraps around the snap, to further prevent the possibility of accidental opening. We’ve not found a compelling need for this. If you choose to do this, bear in mind you will need to practice so that you can do it in the dark, as your primary light will be on the back of your hand and your team mates — and their lights — will be exiting ahead of you.
One thing we do like to do for added safety is pass the guideline through not one, but two of the holes in the spool. This makes it even more secure.
Another thing you can do to help prevent spool loss, when practical, is to stow one or more of your spools in your thigh pockets. One instructor we know keeps a small weight pouch on his waist strap, and uses it to stow up to three cookie spools in a place where they will be readily accessible.
Look for more “how to” information on using reels and spools, as well as other aspects of cave and technical diving, in future blog posts. If you have a topic you’d like us to address, leave us a comment below.