STROBE Jotron AQ-5
There are many things in life that we own but have forgotten about. Forgotten about, that is, until we suddenly need them.
     Examples include the spare wheel in your car, that fire-extinguisher you stashed away somewhere, the smoke detector, and the spare key to your house that you once left with a neighbour.
     None of them are sexy. You have them but hope youll never need them. Its the same with most stuff for emergency use.
     I was sent a Jotron Signal Strobe for the Whats Bubbling section of the magazine and thought it might come in useful. I stuck it in the pocket of a BC that I own. Well, I dont often get to dive with my own kit, thanks to the treadmill on which I work, so it had been forgotten after more than a year when I found myself bobbing in the ocean, wondering what had happened to my surface cover.
     My flag had been fluttering proudly but night was drawing in and I was contemplating switching on one of my underwater flashguns in emergency signal mode.
     Then I remembered the cigarette-pack-sized lump tied by a lanyard to an internal D-ring. It hadnt flooded, and its two AA batteries seemed OK, so I clipped it to my BC epaulet and let it do its work.
     It also has a little torch-type light thats good for looking at your instruments if youre caught short during a night dive. I was quickly collected by the cover boat, which had been diverted to pick up some of my fellow-divers who had drifted.
     Of course, there are other routine uses for signal strobes like this, such as marking an anchorline or shotline in bad viz or darkness. This one is bright enough to convey the idea of overall direction, even if it is obscured by wreckage or a rock.
     The Jotron AQ-5 is made in Norway, noted for its long winter nights. I remember that the previous model was bulkier but did its job equally well.
     The AQ-5 is neutrally buoyant, so becomes unnoticeable in the pocket. Its there when you need it but not when you dont.
Its rated to 30m and costs £49.35.
  • Jotron (UK) 01670 712000

  • Divernet
    + Effective when its needed