Pivot boards have always been cumbersome, heavy and in some cases exhausting to employ. With this in mind Patrolman Randy Frisina of the Conroe, Texas Police Department came up with a quick deployment search device that mimics the pivot board in use, but can be carried in your dive bag. It is a rapid deployment pivot board, consisting of a mushroom anchor, angel iron, floating line, quick clips, PVC pipe corners, and a tether ball. When all this is put together you have a usable search device for your dive bag.

When needed the diver clips the line with the tether ball attached (which acts as your marker buoy) to the ring of the anchor. On this line are PVC pipe corners made into a loop, acting as your anchor point, for ease of movement. When the diver is ready to start the search he takes the anchor to his starting point and secures it to the bottom, by pushing the three pieces of angel iron through the holes in the base of the anchor. He then clips in his search line, and is ready to go.

How Is It Made?

Materials For Construction of Randy's Device

  • 1 ea. 12 lb Mushroom Anchor (This acts as the base)

  • 1 ea. Tether Ball (This acts as the surface marker buoy)

  • 2 ea. 50ft. minimum of Yellow Floating line (Floating line is preferred because any excess will float out of the divers way if not secured)

  • 2 ea. Large Quick Clips, one large enough to fit on ½" PVC pipe. D-Rings may be used.

  • 2 ea. Large Stainless Steel Washers with the interior diameter slightly larger than the rope, and the outside diameter slightly larger than the ½" PVC pipe. Example: 3/8" rope use ½" washer.

  • 2 ea. ½" PVC Pipe "T's"

  • 2 ea. ½" PVC Pipe Corners

  • 1 small piece of ½" PVC pipe

  • 1 tube of PVC Cement

  • 3 pieces angel iron or 3 "L" shaped Tire Irons or long tent steaks

To construct "Randy's Device" set aside the anchor. Take the tether ball and remove any line that may be fastened to it. Get one of the pieces of line, and back splice a loop on an end, with the ball through the loop. If you do not know how to splice a loop, secure the ball to one end of the line with a bowline or eye. Note that the length of the marker buoy line is based upon the deepest depth the device will be used. If you will never go below 30 feet, then 30 feet of line is all you need. Recommended is 50 feet due the fact that at times you may need that extra twenty feet for the unexpected, such as high wind, rough seas and changes in water levels. Keep in mind that knots and splices use up line. If your maximum search depth is to be 30 feet and you cut off 30 feet of line, after tying you will be short. It is always better to have too much than too little. When done set this unit aside.

Now get the PVC "T's", corners, small piece of pipe and cement. First cut the pipe so you can join the T's together. Cement the two "T's" together as shown. Next cement the corners as shown. AFTER these two sections have dried cement both units together as shown, and let dry completely.

While the PVC is drying, get the other piece of line. This rope will act as your search line and should be anywhere from a minimum of 50 feet to a maximum of 100 feet, depending on your area. On one end secure one of the quick clips with either a splice or bowline. Before doing this, be sure the diameter of the clip is large enough to fit around the ½ inch PVC pipe. When done coil the line so it will feed from the end with the clip, and set aside.

Get the tether ball-rope unit. On the opposite end from the ball measure up about 18 inches and tie an overhand knot. Next slide one of the washers up the line to the knot. Check your PVC pipe unit and make sure it is dry. If dry, slide the unit up the line to the washer. Slide the second washer up the line, and place an overhand knot behind it. You now have your pivot ring.

Take the last clip that will secure the buoy and ring to the anchor and secure it to the line. Use the same method as all the other times a splice or bowline. The reason you do not want to splice or tie the line directly to the anchor is because of the weight. You can keep everything in your equipment bag but a 12 pound anchor is a little much for the bag. Keep it with the weight belts, outside the bag. Last be sure your angle iron will fit through the holes in the anchor.

Deployment after construction is rapid and efficient. When the need arises to search an area using a pivot device grab your two lines and anchor. Before entering the water, be sure to attach your marker buoy, in case you drop the anchor. Descend to the starting search point, position the anchor, and instal the angel iron. Take up all excess slack in the buoy line and tie it off. Hook in your quick clip to the PVC pivot ring, and move to your starting point. Now you are ready to search, quick, simple and easy.

Another advantage is it adapts to any bottom contour readily. Unlike the pivot board, which is unmovable steel, Randy's Device is rope, so degree of angel is not as important a factor. There is one disadvantage, when the angel iron is passed into a mud bottom the silting up of the water drops to zero visibility, but once out of the area visibility clears back up.

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