Sophisticated, scientifically profound, and safer by degrees- Helmets have evolved. First designed to combat fires, not plow through the water, they have come a long way. Forego the barred windows and the lead boots and archaic experiments, and helmet diving is the safest way to explore the underwater realm. But before picking the fitting helmet, it’s essential to be acquainted with helmet-picking vocabulary.
Components of the diving helmet:
- Helmet casing– an impervious cinched structure enclosing the head that connects the surface air supply via a hose or snorkel.
- Mask – A device worn over the eyes to protect against water, glare, and other unseen hazards.
- Breathing tube/ umbilical codes – A tube connected to the air supply allows breathing gas to be delivered under pressure to the diver’s mouth.
- Earphones or earplugs – Devices worn in or over the ears for protection against noise and water pressure.
- Mouthpiece – An oral device fitted over teeth and gums for supplying breathing gas under pressure.
- Regulators and valves – a technical safeguard to maintain continuous downward pressure with sufficient air under hostile circumstances. It can be adjusted.
Now, all these work together like a hive mind in complete sync. Which translates to how different helmets perform under further pressure.
There are two types of diving helmets available on the market, free flow and demand flow. Free-flow helmets are best suited for shallow dives, while demand-flow helmets are necessary for deeper dives.
Various types of Helmets for Deep Sea Diving
Based on the requirements, the diving helmets can be divided into various categories as mentioned below.
Standard copper hat diving helmet
Ideally, this design was first introduced to transfer weight from the back of the neck to the diver’s shoulders. A watertight seal was created by clamping this assembly to dry the suit’s rubber gasket. A non-return inlet valve positioned on the breastplate or helmet with an exhaust valve releasing gasses into the surrounding changed even the everyday science of underwater gadgets.
Their copper plating needs equally compatible physical strength to carry, and the assembly of the helmet to the neck and shoulder in rigid straps results in cumbersome maneuvers underwater.
These helmets are now called ‘heavy gear.’ Generally applicable to deep-sea drilling engineers for oil and natural gasses. They might be slow, but they are savvy guardians against unpredictable plight.
Copper Helion Helmets
A variant of the Standard Helmet, similar in design mitigated by a large brass carbon dioxide scrubber added to the back. The scrubber is a diving rebreather that removes carbon dioxide from the recirculated breath.
This modification effectively reduced the risk of CO2 intoxication. These helmets weigh around 93 lbs (42 kg). Undoubtedly reliable, copper helion helmets are a new and demand-flow version of Standard Helmets, able to withstand long hours of diving without interfering with compression.
Shallow Water Helmet
This one’s like glass turned upside down but underwater. Divers are safe so long as the air is cupped underneath. These helmets are open-ended, unsealed, and thus can’t be attached to diving suits.
There are glass panels; the widest one sits directly on the nose bridge, the other two to the sides. The experience is similar to an underwater ride in a glass bottom boat, where plain glass magnifies the surroundings by two-thirds. Nothing beats the up-close naked-eye revelation of witnessing sea creatures.
Evidently, if the diver leans forward or falls over, the helmet will rapidly submerge in water. Thus, its utility is limited to benign environments exercised for recreational purposes for newbies and tourists.
The free flow doesn’t leave room for diving deeper than 18 feet. Helmets like these have one favorable edge- they come with no regulator or snorkel intruding on the mouth. It’s like walking- but underwater.
Lightweight Diving Helmet- Akin to wrapping a diver’s face with a thick warm blanket without suffocating or constraining the diver.
The lightweight diving helmet is nearly plastered to the head to decrease internal volume. The phenomenon of neutral buoyancy allows the discharged external weight to assimilate, making it easier for the diver to carry the helmet and rotate the neck as naturally as possible, resulting in a broader field of vision.
The air supply is based on the diver’s demand.
The latex neck dam, secluded from the suit, can be attached to the helmet, creating a collar-like adhesion between the suits- dry suits, hot water suits, and the helmet. The convenience outweighs the mild discomfort experienced at the beginning.
Arguably the most commercial helmet that dominates professional diving, it is now used in rescue operations. The material mix has changed from metal alloys to chrome-plated fiberglass sutured with brass fittings, generally inspired by old Kirby Morgan designs.
The air is supplied with interchangeable nozzles, both from the front and the back of the helmet
Potentially customizable to every new SCUBA suit that hits the market, these helmets have an umbilical cord that is regulated to either release (on the surface) or recycle the carbon dioxide the diver breathes out. Unlike an open-circuit helmet, these have drastically reduced the consumption and wasted helium outlet. Their safety measures spike no concern as the technology of two valves (much like human lungs) guarantees zero error in oxygen supply.
Free-Flow Helmet- All previous designs can be retrofitted miscellaneously into this one. Simple, light design, these helmets have a free flow of oxygen.
The umbilical cord lengthens from the back, between the legs, like a jockstrap, to the surface.
Since it’s the most impact-resistant, divers who operate nuclear diving technology and travel in polluted waters account for a disproportionate share of its use.
The only susceptible downside to its comfort is the noise that interferes with communication to and from the surface.
Field of Vision poses a difficult challenge
The contemporary armature of the helmet is a rectangular “bean” in contrast to the shape of its ancestors, like the dome of a HAZMAT suit.
Almost all diving helmet lenses bisect the human visual range of 120° to 50-60°. Divers have tunnel vision unless the helmet has side lenses supporting the peripheral vision.
Communication is a paragon of safety
To avoid setbacks when diving, helmets rely on phonics to maintain the communique to and from the surface. The denser finishing material is more conducive to sound. Excessive elasticity, a wise expression for a clear sound (without echo or noise), is possible if the helmets are made of steel (bronze or stainless steel).
Sound travels faster underwater and appears non-directional, coming from all sides without proper interval, so helmets should have adequate inside space for sound to resonate.
Present-day helmets are available with microphones, speakers, wireless, hardwire sets, and buddy phones.
The Underwater science ditches the rules of land:
Helmets weigh between 32-33 pounds. Anything lighter or heavier is trifling with principles of buoyancy, especially for inexperienced divers.
Even more important, however, is the weight distribution. If the head sags forward or falls backward after wearing the helmet, the weight is distributed unevenly.
Divers have never begrudged a full range of motion:
For a full range of motion, the neck perineum must be sufficiently aligned with the helmet. Be careful with rubbery gear; accidentally puncturing barriers or insulation is a cop-out for the leading cause of problems. In addition, contact with salt water invites infection.
External and Internal Materials
- A variety of plastic and metal stainless steel alloys serve their specific purpose underwater. But bronze keeps longer in salt water than any other material. If all else fails when deciding, or this is one of many fledgling experiences, one can never go wrong with stiff carbon fiber.
- Divers study the climate before jumping ship. Wet helmets have an inner lining filled with water, which keeps the diver’s head cool and provides some extra buoyancy. Dry helmets, on the other hand, have a small air space between the inner and outer shell which prevents water from coming in contact with the diver’s head.
Add-on accessories, like a torch, camera, and external microphones used in documentary movies (attached to helmets), are subjective choices, but avoid picking complicated structures which can’t be disassembled with a screwdriver on the land.
Sealed helmets are relatively safer than half or full-face masks because there is no risk of running out of oxygen. The airway is supported automatically rather than manually.
Stability, compression underwater, and durability of the helmet to withstand pressure are risk assessments only satisfied after a trial or two.
If there is one post-purchase assurance worth its weight in salt, it’s this. Don’t glaze over manuals or gritty details because the undertaking is as crucial as a promised adventure.