Monday, 18 February 2008

European Directive CE 14225

I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone about European Directive CE 14225. This piece of legislation makes recreational divers diving suits into Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hence brings them under the control of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The HSE rules require extensive testing and certification before PPE can be sold in this country. Commercial diving has been under HSE supervision for years but now recreational diving suits must undergo tests for puncture, tearing, dryness and thermal properties before they can be sold in the UK.

It is estimated that every time a manufacture makes any change to a diving suit then it will cost around £4,000 to get the suit design re-checked. On a personal note, this makes my diving suit illegal! I have been using it for almost 16 years and it has given me good service. OK it getting a bit faded and there are a few patches on it (not all in matching colours) but it’s been a good servant to me. Unfortunately the neck and wrist seals do need replacing periodically. They are very thin and stretchy neoprene which needs to fit snugly round my neck to keep the water out but not so tightly that I can't breathe. The chances are that when my seals need replacing again then the suit will have to be consigned to the dustbin as it lacks the CE Mark of Conformity required by European Directive CE 14225.

The Trading Standards people are said to be allowing old suits to remain in service for a period of grace and will not be actively pursuing anyone using a suit manufactured and sold prior to European Directive CE 14225 becoming law. However, should anyone using a none European Directive CE 14225 compliant suit be involved in a diving accident of any kind then I am sure the insurance companies will be quick to cut off any cover. Typhoon Diving, based in Redcar, has been selling diving suits for over 60 years without any problems. Unfortunately for them the £4,000 per suit design is going to be just another EU added cost of staying in business. A cost that will ultimately have to be paid by the consumer, in this case the growing number of UK divers who enjoy going down and getting wet whenever they can!

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