Your first SMB come with a tricky rope
« I just bought my new Surface Marker Buoy. And surprise, there was only the SMB itself. Where is the rope ? How to keep my SMB underwater ? » Indeed, when you buy your SMB, often it comes alone, and in the best case with a light rope.
Many ways to keep your SMB underwater
A basic SMB kit includes a rope. It has the merit to be present, but when you would use it for the first time, you will notice its main lack : it is very light. When you will unroll the rope underwater, it will have a tendency to float and become entangled around you.
There are other ways to hold your SMB. The first solution is to use a rope tied to the entrance of your SMB. At the other end of the rope, I recommend a round sheathed weight. You can wrap the rope around the weight, then the SMB overall.
On the rope, the easiest way is to go to a shop for … high mountain or climbing. Why ? Their ropes are extremely resistant. A rope of 4 or 5 mm will be perfect. For the length, I recommend 7 meters. This length will give you enough margin in case of heavy swell, and you will not have a cramp wrist every time you will roll the rope.
The second solution is the spooler. It is just a rope wrapped around a perforated roll, usually accompanied by a double-enders carabiner. This spooler has the advantage of having a variable length (up to 50 meters) for a small footprint. But to prevent the spooler unroll entirely, you must be used properly the carabiner to lock the rope.
Finally, the last option is to use a reel. This is a big spooler and a handle with a locking system to stop the rope. It is relatively large and heavy. The rope is between 50 and 200 meters.
What is the best one ?
In my daily life, I use the second solution : a SMB with valve and a 40 meters spooler and a double-enders carabiner. Although it is rare that I use more than 9 meters lengh. Whether for a PADI Open Water course or fun diving, this is the best compromise between simplicity and efficiency.