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The Chutney Box

Close up of the top of the Seadart Chutney Box.

The Chutney Box was designed and built by Seadart as an experiment to make a completely portable breathing system for divers. It was inspired by the Surface Fed Air systems used by the Dive Team with many of the components cannabalised from a spare unit. Other parts were sourced through the Internet, car boot sales and general odds and ends found around the workshop.

The box consists of a watertight barrel and fixed to the underside of the lid is a small air compressor. This air compressor is run by a dry cell 12v DC battery, with a fully charged battery the compressor will run for up to 2 hours. The battery is placed into the base of the chutney barrel and secured. A floatation tube is then placed around the barrel to stabilize the whole unit.

It is then secured to a trolley with an air reservoir strapped to the back. This will give the swimmer a small emergency supply of air in the most unlikely event of the machine failing. Airlines are then connected to the air outlet on top of the barrel lid to the reservoir and from the bottom of the reservoir to the divers regulator.

The diver then dons his mask and fins and walks the whole unit (including trolley) into the water. The unit will take a diver to depths of 15-20ft while the Chutney Box floats above his head, not forgetting to switch the machine on first. Sea trials were carried out on the first Chutney Box in the first week in December 2003 off Bournemouth beach and proved very successful. With the recommendation of the test pilot and a few alterations the Chutney Box has proved a big hit.