IDEST, the Inspectorate for Diving Equipment Servicing & Testing, has issued a statement regarding scuba cylinder testing in the UK. In the UK your cylinder needs to be tested every 30 months for imperfections, alternating between a hydrostatic test and a less comprehensive Periodic Inspection, more commonly known as a Visual.
Until now, when your cylinder had a visual test it would be stamped in the shoulders with the date, testers stamp and the letter V to indicate a visual had taken place and the next test should be a hydro. After discussions between IDEST, ASSET and HSE they have decided that stamping a V after the test stamp should now cease.
The decision comes from the limited space where you can stamp markings on a cylinder, and particularly for small cylinders that are in constant use and tested more frequently, the extra space taken up by stamping an extra letter means the cylinder must be destroyed sooner, even if the cylinder is in perfect condition.
Going forward IDEST will be issuing new blue quadrant labels with a tamper-proof feature. Cylinders will still be stamped with the test date and testers stamp but they will no longer stamp a V. The blue crescent will inform the filler or tester which type of test it had last.
The blue sticker decal will have the most recent test (Hydro or Visual) left visible and the next test also visible while the month and the year it needs to take place will be punched out so keep it safe and don't try to remove them.
For example in the image above this cylinder has had a Hydro Test and its next test will be a Visual that needs to take place on or before May 2021. If you miss the test date then it automatically needs a Hydrostatic test and you won't be able to get it filled again until it's tested.