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Closed Circuit Rebreathers

Though first patented in 1808 for the French Navy, the Rebreather is considered by many to be SCUBA's state of the art.

The principle behind the Closed Circuit Rebreather (CCR) is a simple one, and not dissimilar from the technology used to remove carbon dioxide inside the pressure sphere of the HOV Alvin submersible. Simply put, exhaled gas is retained, scrubbed of CO2, enriched with oxygen and returned to the diver. No bubbles means longer bottom times and a greatly reduced impact on the behavior of marine life. "My first ocean dive on a rebreather was unlike any dive," WHOI Diver Chad Smith commented, "Marine life no longer reacted to my presence, I might as well have been a ghost."

Extended depth, range and no decompression limits as well as an unprecedented economy of breathing gas round out the benefits of CCR diving. Gas consumption does not increase with depth as with open circuit SCUBA, making CCRs the ideal tool for extended range diving.

Closed Circuit Rebreathers are ideally suited for missions involving the observation of marine life, acoustically sensitive operations, extended depth or extended duration missions. Rebreathers are not suitable for shallow (less than 30 Feet) dives, bounce dives or shallow multi-level dives. Rebreathers require specialized training and experience to be utilized in a safe and effective manner.

For more information on Rebreathers in the WHOI Diving Program, contact Ed O'Brien at (508) 289-2239

Last updated: April 19, 2012