For our last diving holiday in the Red Sea in August 2015 we have 2 Buddy-Watchers added. My wife always says I do not hear so well, and also the two holes in my head hood were not a perfect solution. So we decided to try the new technique.
We have had 20 dives, and it worked perfectly. The pairing of the equipment we did during the slow dipping, as you have peace and under water the connection is better. After a short exercise, this usually worked quickly and perfectly. The vibration signals work perfectly, and if you agree that you do not push each button on the button, you will have relaxed dives. You can make the Buddy very reliably on highlights. Also with the two night dives we were glad about the equipment. Only the capacity of the batteries could be better, and a high-frequency beeps was disturbing when one came too close to the device.
These two deficiencies should be however softwareseitig meanwhile, so we can only recommend the device.
Andrew Rees (deaf swimmer)
Andrew Rees - a deaf swimmer crossed on 17 July in 15 hours and 14 minutes the English Channel.
I would not have been able to swim the channel if I wasn’t with my buddy watchers, and I appreciate getting the opportunity to use these devices.
I had it strapped around my ankle and the other part was tied to a stick on the boat. Should the boat need my attention, they would press the device and place the stick underwater.
From the day I received the two buddy watchers till now, they have been working perfectly well with no failure under any circumstances. These devices are a must for hearing impaired swimmers attempting a long swim with a kayak or support boat.
Although my swim didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped (wind/weather forecasts on the night before my swim showed favourable weather all the way across to France with an average wind speed of 5 knots ), your buddy watchers clearly can withstand any changes as proven. Halfway across the channel, I had a south western wind of 23 knots facing me for 5 hours and waves of 2.5 to 5 metres pushing me around….. The buddy watcher stayed on my ankle all the way through and didn’t cause any discomfort or chafing for 15 hours 14 mins.
Although the boat didn’t have to use the buddy watcher during my swim because I was never in “ danger “, the boat crew were happy about the idea that if they need my attention they have the buddy watcher for a safety back up.
Once again, thanks for enabling me to use your devices and I have nothing but praise for this marvellous device.
Tested in seawater between 8 C and 17 C and in rough sea conditions with 2.5 to 5 metres waves for 5 hours non-stop.
The strap never caused any discomfort or chafing during the entire swim ( 15 hours 14 mins).
The lifeguards from Floridsdorf-Donaustadt place great importance on safety while diving. We always set high standards for our operations as well as for our devices. When I first heard about the Buddy-Watcher, I was curious and skeptical at the same time.
After talking to Free Linked GmbH, I decided to buy test devices. The Buddy-Watchers were tested in three different procedures.
The first testing took place in an indoor swimming pool at a depth of 3-4 m. For this purpose, we set different distances - five and ten meters in a triangular formation as well as 20 meters at three different depths. There, even with obstacles like a barrier and the slope of the pool bottom, the Buddy-Watcher’s performance was convincing.
In the second stage, the signaling system was tested in the New Danube. With a poor visibility and natural vegetation, the Buddy-Watchers still worked reliably. The only bothersome thing was the waiting time of 30 seconds when the distance was quite long.
The third and the determining stage was the usage of the device at a depth of 15 m in the Neufelder Lake. We simulated a diving group with problems calling a second diving team over a distance of 8 meters. Although there was no visual contact at the beginning, the teams got together within 20 seconds after signaling each other with the Buddy-Watcher and the problem was solved.
Personally, I am satisfied with the Buddy-Watcher. However, I still hope for rather other possible efficient communication ways besides vibration. Furthermore, it would be better if the colors of the Master device and the buddy device are distinguished. Since we also operate from the boat, communication with the boat is a nice further development because currently, the coxswain has to constantly hold his hand underwater.
For an underwater camera man and his model, it is of essential importance that communication under water works without problems. Of course, the most important scenes are watered, but first things are different ...
We had the Buddy-Watcher the first time in Greece for a photoshoot, and I can only say that this device made our work much easier, so I could work without any problem and give my model the instructions to dive behind the cave entrance, while I waited with the camera in the cave. The function was flawless even behind rocks or on the wreck.
Also in Egypt in the Red Sea we were able to rely completely on the Buddy Watcher. For us, the Buddy Watcher belongs to the equipment of the underwater shooting and it is just as important as the camera...
We took the Buddy-Watcher with us to Indonesia for an intensive test (50 dives). First of all, the handling turned out to be very simple. Pairing shortly before the OK-sign while diving down or while checking in a depth of 5 meters and the devices already worked. We wore the Watcher on the upper arm and in the beginning we heard an unpleasant, high frequency whistling (just like a dentist’s drill, only quieter). After we turned the Watcher away from our ears – to the outside of our upper arms – it was pleasantly silent again
The function: faultless. No eager waiting, if the Buddy wants to show something, no rattle or shaking – just a push of the call button and the partner knows, he should look up. Only in very few situations the call did not reach, for example when the receiver was extremely turned away or if there was a rock ledge in between.
In the open water, the reach is totally sufficient
Reactions of fish to our devices were not noticeable.
Many were interested in contacting the partner without noise under water. Still, there is some criticism. Firstly, the vibration of the device is very heavy while diving in a tropical diving suit. When you are in the water, drifting relaxed in the warm water and suddenly the device begins to rattle – you become truly startled. It would be nice, if one could set the intensity of the vibration by oneself.
The battery runtime could be longer, so it is sufficient for a whole day of diving. Three dives were just alright, before beginning the night dive we had to recharge them though. I admit – more than three dives a day are rarely a problem for vacationers – but it is right there you need the Watcher.
Concerning the charge of the battery: the charging clips turned out to be a tricky affair. To place the contacts correctly way not always easy...when the process of charging got on, you had to be extremely careful not to disturb the process while laying down the device…Altogether we are perfectly content and will not do without the Watcher anymore. It makes diving more comfortable, to know for sure, that one is capable of reaching the Buddy all the time – and the other way around.
Because of that – thumps up from us.
Addition: prompt reaction of the Buddy-Watcher-Team: our devices are recently getting a software update to enlarge the life of the battery. Also, the sound you described will be minimized. That’s what we call service!
Gerhard R.; PRO TEC Dive Instructor 3.500 Dives
I was lucky to test the Buddy-Watcher in Croatia. And to put it through its paces..
I have to say – great! I am not constantly watching my Buddy, no, I am able to look at my surroundings as well!
No hammer’s head is making noise, no rattels are disturbing me but nevertheless I am in constant contact with my Buddy.
A fast press of the call-button and my Buddy knows what I want from him. Great.
Silent and reliable the device does its work – and makes mine easier! I am capable of keeping my group together and I have the time to take a look around. Especially, on a watching-tour. No unnecessary noises, which only annoy and scare off the animals one wants to watch.
My conclusion: This device is simple and genius. With a reach of about 20 meters it is totally sufficient and has become indispensable for me. For diving schools or groups that want to dive in silence or want to accompany their students while diving, it is a precious auxiliary.
Who wants to learn more should simply test it! My personal annotation: innovation at its best!
Anika Z.; SSI OWD; 112 Tauchgänge
I was lucky to win a "Buddy-Watcher" set to test it in July.
I have been looking for many possibilities and options to tell my buddy, that I have “fallen on the wayside” again because of the annoying pressure compensation problems .
I needed a device that allows me to reach my buddy quickly, and that time even shakers did not help.
But then I found out about Buddy-Watcher here, this has been the ideal solution for me since then.
I had enough time to press the “button” before I start to feel the pressure compensation, then my Buddy recieved my signal and knew about what was about to happen to me, and that made me feel way more comfortable underwater. The Buddy-Watcher worked perfectly even while wearing a 7mm diving suit and cloves, I could alwsys feel the vibrations. On top of that, Divers can hear it even with a 5mm headgear without disturbing the marine environment.
Currently, I know that the reason of my pressure compensation problems is the protracted cold. Even if I would not need the Buddy-Watcher any time soon, I kept the set. Meanwhile, it got to be the “third Buddy”, who joins every dive, Buddy-Watcher can be used for all kinds of underwater communication – even when someone finds a rare fish the other one does not. And until now it has not disturbed the sea creatures at all. One can see the colour perfectly, as well as the red LEDs while diving at night – so it even serves for better visibility.
Useful invention :-) Thanks a lot, Buddy-Watcher-Team!!!