When we first started our scuba diving courses, we were each instructed on the importance of surface marker buoys. We didn’t truly understand their significance until we started diving in highly populated spots. With plenty of boats whipping around while we were underwater, we knew we had to find the best SMB for scuba diving.
Now, when it comes to this type of marker, you can’t really afford to make any mistakes. This is why you should follow our tips and reviews mentioned here. You will find it a great deal easier to select the top make and model for your next dive.
How to Select a Scuba Diving SMB
Here are the top features that you will need to consider when selecting your own SMB:
SMB vs. DSMB
There is often quite a bit of confusion between SMBs and DSMBs. Mostly, divers want to know if they refer to the same safety mechanism or if differences exist between them. Well, for the most part, these two pieces of equipment are rather similar.
As you are aware, an SMB is a surface marker buoy – a DSMB is simply a delayed SMB. As the name suggests, a DSMB is one that is deployed once you are below the surface of the water. With a regular SMB, you first inflate the buoy and then you dive.
So, which one is right for you? In this case, it really is a matter of preference as there is no right or wrong answer. Just remember that if you do select a DSMB, you should choose one made from durable materials. After all, these safety mechanisms have to withstand the obstacles typically associated with ascension.
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Open-Ended vs. Close-Ended
Open-ended SMBs are closed on all three sides except the bottommost one. Due to this, it can be filled in a number of different ways. The greatest advantage here is that it allows you to fill the SMB with the help of your alternate airflow line. As a result, you can inflate the SMB easily and quickly.
The close-ended designs are sealed on all sides. The benefit is that absolutely no water can get in. At the same time, it also means that you have to inflate the SMB orally. Therefore, you will need to remove your regulator and blow into the SMB valve. Unless you are a skilled or experienced diver, this may prove daunting for some.
Typically, SMBs are either four feet or six feet long. In most instances, the smaller buoys are more compact when rolled up and are, thus, easier to take with you on your dive. However, there are other factors to consider.
The length that you need will depend on the condition of the diving site. For instance, if the water is relatively calm, then a smaller buoy will still show up against the horizon. If there are more waves, though, you are going to require something taller. This is the only way that your position can be spotted over the waves.
There are now more colors than ever to select from. The most common options are orange, pink, green, and yellow. You can select anything you want as long as the color is bright and can be easily seen, particularly from a distance. So, avoid anything that may seem dull or a little too dark.
It is also a good idea to look for an SMB that has a reflective patch on top. This will make the buoy stand out more, making it easier for others to know where you are. Such a feature can be useful when diving in popular spots.
Best Scuba Diving SMB Reviews
Now let’s take a look at the scuba diving SMBs that scored the highest marks with us:
Dive Smart Surface Marker Buoy
- Dive Safely in Crowded Areas or Signal Your Boat Team - A safety sausage is necessary gear for every...
- Be Seen At Night in an Emergency - We have designed our DSMB to be seen at night, with a highly...
- Reliable and Rupture Resistant - Made from a 210D Nylon Fabric, double stitched with a TPU coating...
- No Need to Worry about Losing Your Reel Underwater - with our compact all in one design, your 100ft...
- Included 100ft Dive Reel and Whistle Accessories - Our finger spool is an ABS reel with 100ft of...
This is the ultimate addition to your diving safety gear. High visibility and excellent construction make it one of the best options for you.
What’s more, it is user-friendly, making it suitable for divers of all experience levels.
- Easy to See: with its bright pink color, it is impossible to miss this SMB in the water. Furthermore, it comes with a visibility band and stands at 6 feet tall. If this wasn’t enough, “Diver Below” is printed in larger text.
- Easy to Fill: you can fill this tube up with your alternative air source, making it much easier to inflate. In a pinch, you can choose to inflate it orally as well.
- Highly Stable: once blown up, you can be certain that this SMB will stand straight and tall. This is true even in rougher or higher waves.
- Durable Construction: this tube is made from 210 denier nylon fabric that also boasts a TPU coating. This makes it rupture resistant.
- Bulky: this tube can be a bit bulky even when it is rolled up.
Scuba Choice Surface Marker Signal Tube
- Material: Nylon with TPU
- Size: 5-3/4" (W) x 6' (L)
- Plastic Clip included
- Easy to use oral inflator, you can also use standard BC hose to inflate
- Diver Below' print
Tall and brightly colored, this marker is sure to be seen far and wide while you are underwater.
The tube is also made from high-quality materials that give you peace of mind each time you head out for your dive.
- High Visibility: at 6 feet tall, this is a marker that will stand tall and straight, even in rough seas. What’s more, it is brightly colored and has the words “Diver Below” in large, thick print.
- Durable: constructed from nylon and TPU, this is a tube that has been built to last. As such, you can take it on numerous consecutive dives with you easily.
- Can Be Compact: when it is rolled up, the tube becomes compact, making it a breeze to stow away and take with you.
- Tricky to Inflate: you have to inflate the SMB either via your BCD or orally.
Phantom Aquatics Surface Marker Buoy
- Made with Extremely Durable 210 Denier Cordura Fabric
- Includes Premium Brass Screw Down Oral Inflator
- Includes Safety Whistle
- Choice: 48 Inch Or 72 Inch
- Bright Orange for Great Safety
This well-designed and solidly constructed SMB ensures that you are safe on every dive, regardless of the weather conditions.
The high visibility features also mean that all approaching boats and vessels will know that you are underwater.
- Clearly Visible: this tube is an incredibly bright orange that can be noticed from a distance, in bright sun as well as darker conditions. It is also 4 feet tall, making it suitable for rougher waves.
- Lasting Quality: the SMB is made from 210 denier Cordura fabric. As a result, it has been specifically constructed to withstand the harsh conditions of the sea including saltwater and wind.
- Easy to Carry: once it has been rolled up, the SMB becomes easy to store with all your other dive gear.
- Only Oral Inflation: this tube can only be inflated orally, making it difficult for some divers to use.
Promate Inflatable Safety Tube
- Manually Oral Filled
- Color: High Visibility Bright Orange
- Length: 48 inches
- Nylon heat sealed material
- Binding taped trim
This is a safety tube that will serve you well in a number of different diving conditions.
It is highly visible and has been built to withstand virtually everything that the elements throw at it.
- Excellent Visibility: this safety tube is available in both bright orange and green. Both shades are equally visible and stand out in all surroundings. What’s more, the tube is four feet tall and has a large “Diver Below” sign.
- Good Stability: due to its shorter length, this safety tube is actually quite stable in the water, managing to stay propped up among the waves as well.
- Durable: this tube is made from heat-sealed nylon and further contains binding taped trim. Not only does this mean that the tube is long-lasting, but it will also not let in any water.
- One Inflation Method: the SMB can only be inflated orally.
Storm Accessories Surface Marker Buoy
- International Orange with Silver and Optical Reflective Tape Bands
- Open Bottom and Oral Inflator
- Over Pressure/Manual Dump Valve
This surface marker buoy has been designed to be as visible as possible, making it suitable for virtually all diving sites.
What’s more, the user-friendly features mean that divers of all skills and capabilities can use it as well.
- Easy to See: this surface marker buoy actually meets international standards with its bright orange color and optical reflective tape. The words “Diver Below” are printed in contrasting colors, ensuring that it will be easily seen from a distance.
- Simple to Inflate: thanks to the open-ended design on this SMB, you can inflate it with your alternative air source. It is also possible for you to inflate orally as well.
- Compact When Deflated: when deflated and rolled, the SMB is incredibly compact, making it a breeze to carry around with you.
- Questionable Durability: there are some construction flaws that can make it difficult to know how long this buoy will last.
Innovative Scuba Concepts Marker Tube
- HIGH VISIBILITY DESIGN: SMB is a 6ft marker that is a high visibility design, padded inflator cover...
- EASY USE: SMB can be filled by pushing in the inflator valve tube through oral inflation. The air...
- RUPTURE RESISTANT: Made from a 420 denier Nylon Fabric with a TPU coating for added strength in all...
- Includes safety whistle
The color, markings, and height of this tube all work together to ensure that others above the surface of the water will always be aware of you.
This is also a great investment if you are looking for a hardy tube to take on all of your diving trips.
- High Visibility: at 6 feet tall, this tube stands well above the waves and works well in rougher marine conditions as well. To add to this, it is a bright color and has the words “Diver Below” written on it in large letters.
- Highly Durable: this SMB is composed of 420 denier nylon fabric that further contains a TPU coating. This makes it rupture resistant and perfectly suited to ascend to the surface without any damage.
- Stable: the overall durability of the materials and its dimensions make sure that this device remains in the right position at all times.
- Singular Method of Inflation: the SMB can only be blown up by oral inflation.
The Best SMB
So, which SMB rises above the rest?
In our opinion, that would have to be the Dive Smart marker.
Being highly visible, this marker ensures that everyone will know your exact location when you are below the surface of the water. This is further reinforced by the fact that the SMB is highly stable. It is easy to fill and can be used on multiple dive trips.
Some Frequently Asked Questions about Scuba Diving SMBs
Here are some of the questions that you may have regarding SMBS:
What is a Delayed Surface Marker Buoy?
A delayed surface marker buoy is one that you deploy once you are under the water. Apart from this, however, it achieves the same goal as a surface SMB.
Are Diving SMBs Mandatory?
Diving SMBs are mandatory at certain popular diving sites. Even if they aren’t required, though, you should still carry one on you at all times for safety purposes.
Where Should You Keep Your SMB?
Depending on the size of the deflated SMB, you can keep it in your suit pocket, hang it from your BCD, or place it on any other ring that can hold it behind you.
Are SMBs Suitable for All Types of Diving?
SMBs can be typically used for all open sea diving sites. They only can’t be used when diving in enclosed areas such as caves.
Should You Choose an SMB or a Dive Flag?
SMBs are often more visible for a greater distance away. Also, people find them easier to understand their significance since they often include words.
This concludes our look at the best SMB for scuba diving. The only thing left for you to do is to get one that is right for you and you can be off on your next dive!
This page was last updated on 2022-08-29. Affiliate links and Product Images are from Amazon PAAPI