Air-Lift for budding treasure hunters

A bit of an odd-ball...........I guess that this is more a review of instructions more than the air-lift that I made.

People who have followed my ongoing adventures know that not only do I enjoy diving on bits of wreckage that are still identifiable as a ship but I also like diving sites where the old wooden wreck has long gone and you are left with a few permanent reminders....anchors....chain...and small bits. The problem with these small bits, be they keel pins, clevis nails, tingle pins, belt buckles, desk lights, etc is that they tend to be hidden under a layer of sand and grit at the bottom of cracks and fissures in the bed-rock.

To date I have been very old school and 'wafted' away the sand using my hand, a table tennis bat or on occasion a fin but I thought that I needed to get into the 20th Century and after some searching I found a linkl that gave quite good instructions, see below:

The parts are available and it cost me £25 plus a couple of hours to put together my effort, but you know what it works and works well! Certainly in shallower sites at between 8m and 15m where I can get up to 5 minutes out of a 5l tank, which is more than long enough to remove a significant amount of dirt from an area and allow for a good search.

The first thing that I would urge is that you use a totally independent air source on your air-lift, its is not a 'good thing' to connect to the 12l tank on your back as it can really 'gobble' through your air and to operate the device effectively I have found it best to be standing up and very negatively buoyant, not the best starting point for an out of air situation!

When diving with a lift I would advise a couple of things:-

1) Get to the bottom with your lift 'in bits', that means on the bottom you fasten the lengths of pipes together and plumb in your cylinder, its so much easier than trying to enter with a 6m long 'thing';

2) Glue foam around the outlet end of your lift it makes it so easier to move around as it 'wants' to be vertical in the water; and

3) Add retaining pins to the joints, over time they slacken and a pin means that they wont come adrift:

I am continuing to experiment and my next step is to connect a 'step up' converter to the lift with a length of six inch waster pipe, simply because as the air rises it expands, if I give it more space to expand then the speed of suction will remain with less air bled into the system...well that is the theory!

To date I have proved the air-lift in a few environments but the real test comes in 2017 when we are hoping to uncover parts of a flying fortress and perchance a seventeenth century wreck, both in shallow water.

Dive safe



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