Is There a Future for Rebreathers in Public Safety Diving?


We have seen over the past years that rebreather manufacturers are producing their units at a lower cost compared to say 10 years ago. As the growth of this equipment becomes more and more available, the next question may be, “Is there a place in the Public Safety market for Rebreathers?”

So what are some of the pros and cons of rebreathers on public safety teams?


  • Increased time underwater per diver
  • Lighter overall unit weight
  • Smaller Profile for overhead environments
  • Less exhaust noise for clearer communications


  • Unit cost
  • Training cost per diver
  • More expensive maintenance fees
  • More time spent on system readiness check
  • Finding a fill station at your local fire station
  • Added cost for up keep and routine maintenance supplies
  • Other dive team interaction with the unit
  • Decon worries
  • Cost of communication for the unit
  • Availability of spare parts

As you can see, we have only listed a few items under each of the categories and I am sure everyone will have a lot more opinions. As there are different versions of rebreathers, the next question is which version would best meet the needs of public safety dive teams. If there was a future for rebreathers on a public safety team one might say the SCR would be a likely choice as the cost of these units has come down and there is no need for a mixed gas version.

I agree with the SCR idea, but I also believe that, just like with scuba regulators, every team would want a different make of SCR. Until the PSD industry trends towards the rebreather as an option, I don’t see the industry promoting R&D for a truly qualified (harsh conditions) rebreather. What do you think?

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