for the memories......
So like all good divers, it is that time of year when you
take your tank in to get hydro's, and VIP's done. In went the tank that I
have been using since 1973, complete with all of it's hydro's and everything
stamped onto it.
This was not even a hydro year for the tank. Just a VIP
Then came the phone call.....condemned.
Not because of a bad tank....
Not because of cracks, rust, or being abused......
But because of not being backed by a piece of paper in
some office miles away from where the tank has ever dove.
Seems that my tank from 1973 was one of the first to be
made as an aluminum tank. Steel tanks were the only authorized types
before 1971 , and then the aluminum tank came into being.....
So some news on what is legal and what is not.
I used to dive with a guy that had some old Navy aluminum
round bottomed tanks, and hopefully he has ditched them, as they are on
the no-no list. They are not supposed to be hydro'ed, filled, or
allowed in service, but like my cylinder, many stay in the mainstream.
I have all of my nice hydro stamps all in sequence on the
cylinder, and 3 since the tank was supposed to be pulled, but it went
through, and all three of the hydro stations that stamped the cylinder
could be fined or reprimanded for letting the cylinder through.
The main stamp at the top of the cylinder, SP6688,
identifies it as a special permit production by Norris Industries.
The permit expired in 1979, as did a permit for Kaiser SP6576. Without
this piece of paper a tank becomes illegal to be hydro'ed, filled, or
even used. Bad luck for all who have these tanks still. Many fill
station and hydro testers are ignorant of the status of these cylinders,
or just choose to ignore the illegal status of the cylinders.
So how many of these cylinders are out there?
Could be quite a few. The Norris cylinder was not popluar, but there was
another in the shop that had mine and was condemned at the same time.
So as a bit of advice and a note for divers, check on the
status of older cylinders yourself, and encourage shops to be a bit more
mindful of the status of cylinders. For specific details, one could try
Professional Scuba Inspectors at
So check those tanks, and see you on the bottom.
Meanwhile, I think I'll make the old tank into
a table lamp.......
Thank you to Keith at www.webdive.com for the use of this article for our magazine. Look for more articles in the
future from their website. Also take a chance to visit them in the future as
well, they have several very good articles diving. You can also reach him at