Vintage Scuba with Alec Peirce: The SCUDA

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Hi, divers, Alec Peirce again with Vintage Scuba and Scuba 2000! I’m enjoying this series and I hope you do, too. I promised that I would try to show you a piece of weird equipment. Over the past 60 years I’ve been diving, there’s been a lot of weird equipment: stuff that showed up – and everyone was crazy for it – but it didn’t turn out well. Let me see if I can show you one of those before we start talking about buoyancy compensators.

This is called the SCUDA. It’s not really vintage (vintage by definition among vintage divers means anything older than 1975, preferably in the ‘50s and ‘60s) but certainly older than ‘75. You may or may not have heard of this. You can see a pretty girl on there with a piece of equipment and this bag on. What is that? SCUDA was the Self-Contained Underwater Drinking Apparatus. That’s kind of neat. They aren’t available anymore except, maybe, as old stock in some old dive stores. Let me explain how the SCUBA works.

When you opened the box, you found this pretty bag attached to a hose, and there’s a tap on here to turn it off and on. Another hose goes to your mouthpiece and it’s attached to the side – up close, there’s a hole in the bite tab. You would take the mouthpiece off your regulator and install it. The bag has Velcro on it and it would wrap around the hose and regulator.

I’ve taken this modern regulator with my second stage and SCUDA attached to the hose. You see the idea. Then you would put your favorite drink into the bag through the big hole in the top – just don’t put in anything with pulp like fresh squeezed orange juice because it would jam up the tubes. You could put any of your favorite drinks in there – rum and Coke was my favorite (I’m kidding of course). You all know from your diving experience that it’s very easy to get dry mouth, particularly while diving in tropical waters and sea water in a warm climate. After a while, your mouth gets dry so what do you do? You turn on the tap and squeeze the bag, take a couple swallows, and keep on diving.

Great idea, huh? This was one of those weird things that showed up and it was around for several years: you could buy them for quite a while. But it didn’t become mainstream and manufacturers didn’t add the SCUDA to their regulators when they produced them. It’s just one of those items that appeared in the scuba diving market over the years.

In our next Vintage Scuba, we’ll take a few minutes to go over the history of buoyancy compensators.

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