On to the European Standard for snorkels. I should explain to readers outside Europe that European Standards are adopted by member countries using the same European Standard number with the specification in one of three official languages (English, French and German). I'll focus on the version adopted by the United Kingdom:
BS EN 1972. Diving accessories. Snorkels. Safety requirements and test methods
. London: British Standards Institution. This British Standard, which was amended on 30 December 1977 and whose status remains "current", is 11 pages in length and available for purchase from http://shop.bsigroup.com/ProductDetail/ ... 0001208124
This European Standard is 8 pages in length and remains in force today, although a new version is under development which has not reached the public comment stage yet.
The opening paragraph reveals why the Standard is necessary: "A snorkel allows the user to breathe when facing downwards without having to raise the mouth out of the water. However, using a snorkel complicates the greathing process." There follows an explanation of the problematical nature of snorkel use, including dead space, breathing resistance and the possibility of accidents.
The object is to lay down minimum safety requirements to improve the safety of swimmers as well as skin and SCUBA divers when using snorkels. Combined face masks and snorkels are exclided from the specification.
The Standard incorporates provisions from other publications, more particularly ones relating to toy safety, hardness of plastics and lighting.
A snorkel is defined as "A device composed of a tube with a mouthpiece and such optional devices as valves, water deflectors, allowing breathing while swimming in a face-down position." A mouthpiece is defined as "That part of the snorkel which is inserted between lips and teeth and which comes into contact with the mucous membrane of the mouth during correct use."
There follows a longish section devoted to safety requirements:
The dimensions of the snorkel, illustrated in Figure 1, must comply with Table 1:
Requires that the mouthpiece be made of non-toxic material (e.g. rubber, silicon, vinyl), that the material should comply with rules on element migration from polumers, that it should be designed to be easily retained in the mouth, that the hardness should not exceed 80 Shore A, that the design should not compromise its nominal cross-section during use, that all parts should be smoothly finished and that the end of the tube should not extend beyond the mouthpiece.
A maximum hardness of 100 Shore A.
Flow of air:
Sets limits to the snorkel's resistance to flow of air.
No sign of disengagement when subjected to force.
Adjustability of snorkel keeping device. Shut-off valves should only shut off when submerged. No sharp edges. Top of the tube to be marked in fluoresecent red to yellow or pink.
Another longish section follows, devoted to test methods:
Testing of dimensions:
Length 1 to be determined as the distance between the centre of the mouthpiece opening and the lowest part of the air intake opening.
Method for determination of the air flow:
Mouthpiece to be connected to a breathing simulator set to a sinusoidal operation of 25 strokes/min.
Method for the determination of strength of joints:
Joint subjected to tensile force, then examined for damage. Clamps to be attached on either side of the joint and a force of 50 N to be applied over 5 s.
"For your safety read the enclosed instructions."
Instructions for use:
Snorkel only to be used in water. Possible misuse, e.g. size 2 snorkels not to be used by persons < 150 cm. No foreign objects to be added, e.g. extending length. Depth limitation if any. Sie grouping. Maintenace and storage instructions, imcluding replacement of safety colour marking.
Name, tradmark of manufacturer, supplier or importer. Number of European Standard EN 1972.
Here is a real-life example from ads for Type 1 EN 1972 children's snorkels and Type 2 EN 1972 adult snorkels (hence EN1972 Type 2):
And just in case these snorkels are too modern for your taste, here are a few old-school ones still produced by Sommap of France:
I'll leave you to work out whether they comply with EN 1972 or not! And the following Greece-manufactured retro combined snorkel masks definitely don't conform:
3. British Standards Institution (15 November 1997)
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