top of page
  • Writer's pictureCuddlefish Divers

Delayed Surface Marker Buoy (DSMB) for Diving: Enhancing Safety and Communication


Underwater exploration and recreational diving are exhilarating activities that allow individuals to witness the beauty of the aquatic world. However, safety is paramount when engaging in these activities, and communication is a critical component of ensuring a safe and enjoyable diving experience. Delayed Surface Marker Buoys (DSMBs) have become invaluable tools for divers, providing them with a means to communicate their presence, location, and intentions while underwater. This article explores the significance of DSMBs in diving and their role in enhancing safety and communication.

What is a DSMB?

A Delayed Surface Marker Buoy, often referred to simply as a "safety sausage" or "surface marker," is an inflatable buoy that divers use to signal their position to surface personnel, boats, or other divers. DSMBs are typically bright in color, often orange or red, to ensure high visibility on the water's surface. They are attached to a line or reel and deployed during a dive to mark a specific location or to signal the need for assistance or an ascent.

Enhancing Safety

Signaling Location: DSMBs are deployed by divers to indicate their exact underwater location. This is especially crucial in low visibility conditions, such as when diving in murky water or strong currents. By deploying a DSMB, a diver makes their presence known to others, reducing the risk of accidental collisions and getting separated from the group.

Ascending Safely: DSMBs play a crucial role in safe ascents. When a diver is ready to end their dive and return to the surface, they can inflate their DSMB and release it while ascending. The buoy remains at the surface, marking the spot where the diver is ascending, alerting boats and other watercraft to their presence and ensuring a safe return to the surface.

Emergency Signaling: In the event of an emergency underwater, such as running low on air or experiencing equipment malfunctions, divers can use their DSMBs to signal for assistance. By inflating the buoy and allowing it to reach the surface, they can attract the attention of surface support personnel or fellow divers.

Enhancing Communication

Buddy Communication: DSMBs can also serve as communication tools between diving buddies. Divers can use their DSMBs to convey messages, such as indicating the need for a safety stop or a change in dive plan. This silent communication can be essential in maintaining safe dive protocols.

Group Coordination: In group dives, DSMBs are used to coordinate the actions of all divers. When all divers deploy their DSMBs at the same time, it signals the group to begin ascending, helping to ensure that everyone surfaces together and safely.

Boat Pickup: DSMBs are especially useful when divers need to be picked up by a boat or surface support vessel. By deploying their DSMBs, divers can signal to the boat crew that they are ready for pickup, simplifying the retrieval process and minimizing the time spent at the surface.


The Delayed Surface Marker Buoy is an essential tool in the world of diving, providing divers with a means to enhance safety and communication while exploring the underwater realm. Whether signaling their location, requesting assistance, or coordinating with fellow divers, DSMBs play a vital role in ensuring that every dive is conducted with the utmost safety and precision. Divers who prioritize the use of DSMBs contribute to a safer and more enjoyable underwater experience for themselves and their fellow adventurers.

32 views0 comments


bottom of page