If you're like me and have accumulated a few cylinders over the years you'll know the pain of the 2 1/2 year test each has to pass to get them filled.
Europe has proposed a new EU Standard to increase the 2 1/2 year test to a 1 year test, so all of your cylinders will need testing every year with a hydro every 5 years.
BS EN ISO 18119 has been proposed to replace the existing standards for breathing gas cylinders and change the interval for periodic inspection for a visual test every 12 months and a hydrostatic test every 5 years.
If the new guidelines are accepted they are likely to come into force as early as 2017 but has already been met by some opposition in the UK. The increased frequency of visual tests is made to reduce the risk of failures and improve safety for divers, testers and fillers.
A lot can happen to a cylinder in 2 1/2 years and not everybody looks after their cylinders properly but will the benefits of increased safety outweigh the additional costs to each level of the diving industry?
Needless to say the new schedule will more than double the running costs of owning cylinders and will affect every level of the industry from manufacturers and retailers to the end users.
BSAC have openly opposed the new standards contacting the British Standards Institution to reject the introduction of the new standards and requested evidence for the benefits for more frequent visual tests.
Other countries in the EU have also voted against the proposed standards but it is still progressing forwards.
BSAC are also calling for the revised draft standard to be re-issued for public comment so everybody in the industry can provide feedback to the standards committee.
BSAC are also encouraging anybody with any specific comments or questions about the new standard to raise with the BSI you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
This proposed standard has a real potential to damage the UK diving industry at all levels as divers will be less inclined to investing in their cylinders which will lead to more renting if they still go diving in the UK.
Each LDS with their own cylinders will probably reduce the number of cylinders they stock to sell and to rent with shorter shelf-lives and more frequent expenses they can't afford to keep a wide range of cylinders.
There will probably be fewer filling stations as fewer cylinders on the ground and more people renting won't pay to fill their rented cylinder if they're just going to hand it back to the dive centre.
The list goes on but there needs to be awareness and action to oppose the proposed guidelines unless somebody out there has any extraordinary benefits of a yearly test they can think of...