Blog Archives

Annual Branch Lab Tests

BRd 2806(5) mandates that all service operated compressors pass an annual laboratory test. It would appear that not all branches are aware that it is possible to demand a sample cylinder and have this test carried out using service resources.

The policy and standards for breathing gas testing are laid out in JSP 319 Pt2 Vol 1. This also provides the NSN of the Diving Gas Sample Cylinder which is 6830-99-172-2256.

Units who are struggling to demand the cylinder should take a copy of the relevant sections of BRd 2806(5) and JSP 319 to their chain of command to exlain that this is mandated policy. It this is unsuccessful, further advice and guidance can obtained from JSSADC.

DSM 13/18 Gas Testing for AT Diving

Following several recent occasions where expeditions have received JSATFA clearance without valid laboratory gas tests, DSM 13/18 has been issued to remind single service AT desk officers of their responsibilities.  

It can be downloaded at this link

Testing of Breathing Gas

Many people will have seen the recent unfortunate incident where a number of school children have been hospitalised after a diving lesson and the subsequent urgent message from the HSE regarding breathing gas from Aqualogistics in Stockport.

The Diving Standards Team wish all service divers to be reminded about the importance of testing breathing gas in accordance with the standards in JSP319 and BRd2806(5).  Specifically the following should be complied with:

  • All breathing gas requires an annual laboratory test at a UKAS accredited lab to BS EN12021:2014.
  • Three monthly tests are also required to comply with  HSE DVIS No.9 (Rev. 1)
  • Non-service compressors need a before use test using the Factair F2235
  • Expeds and Branches should also remain vigilant and if any compressor maintenance is observed or divers report feeling ‘unwell’ then CNBA should be re-tested to confirm the quality of the gas before the start of any dive evolution

Recent expeds have also highlighted the following items in their PXRs which may help with transporting and using the Factair F2235:

  • Transport the FACTAIR F2235 as hand luggage and NOT hold luggage.
  • Print off a copy of the FACTAIR F2235 operating instructions from the FACTAIR website in case you are challenged on what the kit does
  • If you are transporting the FACTAIR F2235 through a ‘FRAGILE’ country and you feel the equipment might be challenged have the ‘purpose of the FACTAIR’ translated into the local language to ease security clearance.
  • When ‘testing’ CNBA in countries with high humidity remember to run the compressor for longer or have the owners change the filters if you are struggling to meet the ‘water content’ of the BS EN12021:2014.
  • Order enough DRAGER sampling tubes which are ‘in-date’ and keep them in a refrigerator if in hot climates.
  • The purpose of the 5 minute ‘run through’ at 2 bar prior to the test is to ensure all moisture has been removed.
  • You have more tolerance on ‘water vapour’ at a lower cylinder pressure (<200 bar 50mg/m3 or >200 bar 35mg/m3)

More information on gas testing is contained in BRd 2806(5) and Annex K has details of the Factair F2235


Unserviceable Analox Oxygen Analysers (O2EII)

The Analox Oxygen Analyser (O2EII) is used in conjunction with the Factair F2235 to test breathing gas and should be held by all service diving branches.  Annex K to BRd 2806(5) provides full details of how they can be demanded through the stores system including the NSN.

A number of units have reported that they have received unserviceable Analox Oxygen Analysers.  This is due to the oxygen cells which form a key component of the analyser reaching the end of their shelf life.    Fortunately replacement cells can also be demanded through the stores system using the NSN 6515-99-1485260  and then replaced by users.

The manufacturer has provided a video on youtube which shows how this can be done:

Issues With Loan Pool Equipment

During the Q&A session at the end of the JS Diving Safety Conference, it became apparent that some units and expeditions had encountered problems with diving equipment issued from the AT Loan Pool at Bicester.  A number of these have also been highlighted in PXRs and JS Incident Reports.


These incidents are now being actively investigated by ATG(A) who are putting in place measures to ensure that they do not happen again.

In order to reduce the risk of future issues and ensure that issues identified on expeditions are addressed, ATG(A) have asked that units and expeds are reminded of the following:

  • Units/expeditions collecting equipment from the loan pool are to send an SME with a minimum qualification of Dive Leader.  Without this equipment will not be issued.  For units wishing to draw a FACTAIR F2235 then proof of training will be required.
  • Equipment faults are to be highlighted using the procedures in AGAI Volume 1 Chapter 11 (link requires Defence Gateway account).  The full text is copied below:

11.123. Equipment Damage Reports.  Incidences of any damaged or failed equipment must be notified to the unit QM who is to conduct an investigation, or, in serious circumstances or in cases of serious injury, convene a Board of Inquiry. Damage Reports are to be included in the Post Exercise Report (PXR) and also reported through the appropriate Formation ATDO to HQ ATG (A) as soon as possible. Equipment involved in any accident or incident where an investigation is likely must be withdrawn and secured for the investigation by the unit. The balance of stores is to be returned on time with a letter of explanation (copied to HQ ATG (A)).


CNBA Oxygen Content Analysis

A recent International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) safety flash (01/16) contains details of an incident where a commercial diver collapsed due to low oxygen content of what was believed to be air which was supplied to  him.   Fortunately this occurred on the surface and there was no long term impact.

This incident is a useful reminder of the importance of testing diving gas before use.

As most service divers should be aware, it is mandatory for testing of Compressed Natural Breathing Air (CNBA) used by AT divers to be completed using a FACTAIR F2235.  As part of this test, the oxygen content should also be tested using an Analox Oxygen Analyser and this forms part of  the FACTAIR F2235 kit.

The oxygen content is then recorded on the test form (either included with the kit or downloadable from the FACTAIR website) which needs to be sent to the Diving Standards Team (DST).

It is hoped that by the use of the FACTAIR F2235 and Analox Oxygen Analyser incidents like that above can be avoided by AT divers.



Updated FACTAIR F2235 Operating Manual

The manufacturer of the FACTAIR F2235 breathing gas testing device has just produced a revision to the manual which is now available to download from their website. The latest manual is dated March 2015 and previous versions should now be replaced.

Link –


Gas Testing with FACTAIR F2235

In order to comply with the regulations concerning testing of breathing gas used for sub aqua AT it is necessary to use the FACTAIR F2235 gas testing kit.  In order to bring together information relating to the demand process, support arrangements and the training process for this equipment, 2015DIN04-078 has just been published on the Defence Intranet .

[Updated May 2016 – The DIN is now incorporated into BRd 2806(5) as Annex K]


SofD Update – Dec 14

May I first take the opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas from everyone in the Diving Standards Team.  Dom has again kindly offered me the opportunity to provide you with a quick round up of events so in no particular order:

Welcome to our new readers from the Cadet Forces who have now been included on the Bovi distribution to allow them to keep abreast of all the latest news and views.

O2 sensors for the CCR. The good news is that the AP16 sensors are continuing to perform well so providing there isn’t an unexpected hitch over the leave period we should be in a position to clear the CCRs for use at the start of January 15. Please note that the AP14 sensors that arrived after the defective AP12s did not perform to the required standard, if you come across an AP14 or one of the original AP12s please do not use it and let us know so that we can try and track down how it got into the system.

The AT team at HMS Temerraire are funding the procurement of a non explosive diver recall system. Once delivered, one will be provided to JSSADC to support training whilst the remainder will go to Biscester ready for EXPEDs to draw. An explosive recall system remains under test following further ballasting after the Mod 0 refused to sink – made life a bit more interesting for those in the boat!

Gas testing. The DST(AT) team continue to fight this one through and although it is like running through treacle the end is hopefully in sight. The key beneficiaries will be the JS sites on Cyprus and Ascension Island who will finally be able to ship their samples in a timely fashion by air.

JSP 917 is very nearly dead. BRd 2806(Vol 5) is at the Fleet Staff Authors and after a final proof read should be published in Jan 15 as planned. It incorporates all the latestchanges from gas testing to lessons identified from diving incidents to the very latest changes in the law following the release of the new HSE ACOP on the 8 Dec 14. Representatives from all walks of user were involved in the work and all parties agree it is a huge improvement so please take your time to get around it. It will be refreshed annually at the end of each year so please feel free to feed back comments through your association representatives.

Worry bead – there has been a sharp increase in the number of DCI’s in the last month; 4 in total. Fortunately all have been resolved without any apparent further complications. They appear to have been unrelated but act as a timely reminder to not force diving with sticky ears. Do not feel obliged to push to the envelope on no stop dives, dive deep then shallow even on relatively shallow dives and keep hydrated!

Finally a quick MAC update. Following feedback from the associations the MAC list for next year is currently:

  • JSSADC (Plymouth)
  • CJSATC (Cyprus)
  • Dive in (Cyprus)
  • Kembali (Cyprus)
  • Viking (Cyprus)
  • ASTDC Kiel
  • ATC Castlemartin
  • JPATU Gibraltar – (Exped only)
  • Ascension – (Exped only)
  • Aqua Venture (Kenya)
  • Dive Shack (Malta)
  • Deep Blue (Malta)
  • TBC (Bahrain)
  • TBC (Aqaba – Jordan)

(Note – the Army have withdrawn funding for the Bovington contract which will cease from Apr 15).

If possible we will look to clear Andark Diving as a UK commercial provider to provide continued training resource for the SCC. The list will continue to evolve so please check on the DST web-site for the latest listings.


Many thanks for all the cards received, it is good to know that the effort from the Ivory Tower is translating into fins on the ground. Offerings received include Gib (x2), Ascension, Malta, Oman, Egypt, the Philippines and North Korea (don’t ask!). Still lots of space on the board so keep them coming. When full you may even get a scubby ‘O’k rather than a military thumbs up.

For any of you that may be diving over the forthcoming break stay safe.

To all, have a great Christmas leave and all the best for the New Year.