Pony Bottle

A pony bottle is a small diving cylinder, often of only a few litres capacity, which is filled from a main tank before a dive and fitted with its own independent regulator. In an emergency, such as exhaustion of the diver’s main air supply, it can be used as an alternate air source in place of a controlled emergency swimming ascent. By comparison a bailout bottle, which serves a similar purpose, is both smaller and has a regulator integrated into the cylinder. Since their introduction in the 1980s, bailout bottles have been the subject of debate within the diving community.

The argument against bailout bottles is that they do not have sufficient capacity to get a diver in many emergency situations back to the surface safely, and thus cause divers to feel a false sense of safety. A review carried out by Scuba Diving magazine attempted to give a sense of from what depth bailout bottles of various capacities could get divers to the surface under maximum safe ascent rates. The review found that a 1.7 cubic foot bottle had sufficient air to get the reviewing diver from 45 feet to the surface; a 3 cubic foot bottle from a depth of 70 feet; and a 6 cubic foot bottle from the maximum reviewed depth of 132 feet.

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