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“When we first started out, we thought of our diver as being someone working in the English Channel. He’s running in a big current. He’s got an hour decompression. He can't surface. He is coming up a line with poor visibility. It’s dark and he needs to change something on the computer. This is not a place where you should meet a manual. This is not a place where you need to remember a difficult set of button pushes. The first button you push better be what you need at that moment.” Bruce Partridge, Founder of Shearwater Research
Shearwater makes world leading dive computers based on three core values: simplicity, reliability and power.
The company was started in 2004 by Bruce Partridge. Bruce had sold his business working at a computer consulting firm, but in retirement he felt like he needed a new project. Bruce says his life changed one day when he was diving in the Caribbean.
“We came upon a place where giant turtles go to sleep. One of the sea turtles came up to me. It was looking at me with one eye then the other eye. It was such a profound experience for me that from right then I started liking diving and it changed the direction of where I was going with my life.”
Bruce and his group of engineers created high quality dive computers, as General Manager Megan Eastwood puts it:
“Reliability is a key thing we are looking for, but more than that… It’s the caring about the quality of what we are putting out. We are painfully aware that people’s lives depend on our products.”
“The reliability we are talking about is you should be able to book a trip a year before and know that on the “day of” your computer is going to work.”
“If you buy a cell phone. They have 8 quad core processors that run at 2.4 gigahertz or whatever. They have a lot of computer power there. We go in the completely opposite direction. Power for us is having a bright, easy to read display that lasts for a very long time.”
“By powerful it means: our products have to be able to do whatever you are doing on your dive.”
Shearwater products aim to allow divers to complete even very difficult technical dives, but in a way that is simple to understand and use:
“Whether you are an open circuit trimix diver where you are changing between various different gases with trimix gas, oxygen and some sort of nitrogen gas. It (the dive computer) needs to be able to do all those things. Or if you are on a closed circuit rebreather you’d be able to manage your oxygen and change partial pressure set points and still manage your decompression and of course manage your decompression if you are changing from a closed circuit rebreather to open circuit in the middle of the dive, which would happen if you had to bail out.”
Where are Shearwater Research dive computers made?
Shearwater is designed and manufactured in Vancouver, Canada. Its staff include engineers, technologists, assemblers and sales and marketing staff many of whom are recreational and technical divers. Another benefit of being based in Canada is that Shearwater products are ISO 9001-2008 compliant: meaning they have to meet international standards.
How does Shearwater Research assist the diving industry?
Shearwater is a company which places a lot of value in the scientific community, particularly diving and decompression theory. Shearwater has received a number of innovation awards including:
• The 2013 Scientific Development Award: Shearwater received this award for product safety and system safe engineering methods.
• The TEKDIVE USA 2014 Award: Shearwater received this award for creating a technical diving product which improved the diving industry.
• The EUROtek 2014 Award: Shearwater received this award for creating an advanced or technical diving product which assisted safer diving.
How does Shearwater Research help the environment?
Shearwater representatives have taken a part in a number of environmental programs including scientific expeditions in the Malpelo Islands in Columbia, South America. The Malpelo Islands includes one of the most important coral formations in the Columbian Pacific. It includes communities of whale sharks, mantarays, hammerhead and tiger sharks, jacks, snappers, groupers, crustaceans, sponges and mollusks. Shearwater took part in a scientific expedition to the islands and also provided a number of dive computer for local staff.