That said, very occasionally I will report on a prototype that I believe deserves exposure.
I told Ray Lee this when he turned up with various ideas close to his heart, as a dive-boat skipper who has seen too many fellow-divers getting in a tangle while launching DSMBs.
He had driven to London from the South Coast, so I heard him out. One idea was a frame for an SMB line. Ray is fed up with following buoys abandoned by their owners because the line jammed, and finding that they surfaced somewhere else.
Worse, he hates the idea of divers from his boat doing rapid ascents after being dragged up by their buoys with birds-nested reels.
Ray was convinced that his concept would do the job better than anything else, and he sent me a rough prototype to try. He wants to see the idea put into production.
Like a lot of good ideas, its very simple.
A lightweight, positively buoyant frame (Rays was roughly hewn from plywood) is shaped so that the line is wrapped and retained around it.
The loose end is restrained by being pinched under a spring-loaded bolt and rubber washer.
The 30m skein of line is stopped from coming loosely off the frame by an elastic bungee cord that clips into notches on the frame. This also restrains the other end of this loop of bungee, which is grasped when deploying the line.
On a trip, the initial reaction was scepticism. What was wrong with a reel or a spool

WHEN THE TIME COMES to deploy the SMB, the frame is not held. Instead, the loop (with the yellow bead) is held passed over the fingers to the palm of the hand, and the other long end of the loop (with the black bead) is removed.
Because the loop is passed over your hand, you still have effective use of it. The frame is allowed to bob freely while the loose end of the line is attached to the buoy.
The buoy is inflated a little to get it floating out of the way. When fully inflated, it pulls the line free from the spring-loaded bolt.
Because the frame is not held, it is allowed to move freely at the end of what is now a very long elastic loop, extended fully to the black bead by the action of the buoy pulling away and unravelling the line as it goes. If you held the frame, the line would catch.
The frame joggles rapidly from side to side as it releases the line, and the buoy ascends. If the buoy has a long way to go up, its increasing acceleration turns the line frame almost to a blur, but the line never seems to snag.
The diver is never in danger of being pulled up with it, either, because the elasticity in the cord takes up any momentary resistance of the line as it unravels.
Should it be jammed (which seemed to us an unlikely event), the loop of elastic is pulled free off the hand, just as you would let go of a reel that jammed under similar circumstance.
Once the buoy is at the surface, the diver grasps the frame and winds it up as he ascends. He could pass the loop of bungee cord over his hand onto his wrist to free both hands.
Someone with greater dexterity than me could probably wind in the line one-handed.
With the line back on the frame and the diver at the surface, its simple to restrain it by both passing the loose end under the bolt and wrapping the elastic cord back around it, securing it in the slots. You need to rewind the line neatly during the surface interval, or there might be a danger of tangling when next used.
Advantages over a spool or reel With the bungee looped over your hand, both hands are free to attach and fill the buoy. The elasticity of the bungee would stop you being dragged up.
The line should always be pulled free from where it is tucked under the bolt as the buoy ascends, and the frame is not held at that time.
It is big enough to make winding up easy, yet will stow in a BC pocket.
I caught my buddy George tracing out the shape of the frame with a view to making his own, which I guess is a vote of confidence.
So which manufacturer will grab this free design idea - or should I ask that in Cantonese