A Divers Guide to Tourniquets

A Divers Guide to Tourniquets

January 16, 2018 0 Comments

A Divers Guide to Tourniquets

The best tourniquet for spear fishing, free diving, scuba diving, and snorkeling is the OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet 

There are numerous dangers in the ocean and waterways that divers must be aware of when diving. Scuba Divers have some specific diving medical emergencies such as gas embolism the bends, and the like. Spearfishermen and Freedivers have to contend with shallow water blackouts if not using an external air source, but what about bleeding injuries? A tourniquet is a lightweight, and easy to carry bleeding control device that can stop a bleed in seconds. Since many other bleeding control tools use gauze and require dry environments, the tourniquet is every divers go to everyday carry medical device when they dive. However, not all tourniquets are created equal. When shopping for a tourniquet a diver should ensure that the tourniquet they select is appropriate for the marine environment, and has the proper corrosion resistant materials.


For example, many tourniquets utilize a windlass bar as the primary compression mechanism. While this mechanism works well on land, it is less effective in the water for several reasons.


  1. The windlass bar requires the user to twist the bar with 1 or 2 hands. This motion is not a common everyday movement. Therefore, you will need to practice and regularly re-familiarize yourself with the application of this tourniquet type.


Takeaway: Twisting at the wrist is an uncommon motion, that may slow TQ application.


  1. Omni-Tape Velcro is typically used on some windlass tourniquets. While the intent is to save space and maximize coverage by using this specialty Velcro that has the hook and loop connections in one, this connection type does not hold well in water environments, especially in surf zones where there are waves.


Takeaway: Omni-Tape Velcro is inferior in the water, especially the surf zone.


  1. Locking the windlass bar is also an issue with windlass bar tourniquets. Because of the design you have to twist the bar 180 degrees to lock one of the ends into the securing mechanism. This makes it difficult to apply precision compression, and may lead to over-pressure. It should also be noted that this type of tourniquet has been found to lose compression over-time, so another 180 degree twist may be needed some time after initial application.


Takeaway: 180 Degree requirements for securing tourniquet is less effective and slower.


Elastic Tourniquets are simply not suited for harsh environments. The material itself is highly susceptible to saltwater, UV rays, water, and dirt. It is not advised to carry or use an elastic tourniquet in a marine environment.


Takeaway: Elastic Tourniquets are not made for marine environments.


The best type of tourniquet for marine environments, like the ocean, rivers, and lakes is the ratcheting tourniquet. The ratchet with ladder strap tourniquet type is the fastest tourniquet to apply if you select the right brand. What to look for when shopping for a ratcheting tourniquet:


  1. Stainless Steel Ratchet: Many ratcheting medical tourniquets claim to be corrosion resistant. While they can make this claim, it is not necessarily what you think. Most ratcheting medical tourniquets use stainless steel rivets, and maybe springs (although you must confirm), but their metal bases are more often made of Iron or plain steel. Said base may even be powder coated, which means they can claim corrosion resistant, but one scratch and you’ve exposed the iron or steel and now you have rust and corrosion. Is all of the metal hardware is not stainless steel, or marine-grade aluminum, you’ve been duped into buying something that was cleverly marketed, and not actually corrosion resistant. Considering that divers will use and carry their tourniquet with them in and out of saltwater, or freshwater environments it is guaranteed you will scratch the powder coating off, and it may even happen the first time you carry it diving.


Takeaway: Powder coating is not true corrosion resistance.


  1. Ratchet Texture: Since a ratcheting tourniquet carried by a diver is intend to be use in or just out of water having a texturized finish to the functional ratchet parts is also key. Texture helps increase a divers ability to apply the tourniquet if wet, submerged, bloody, or wearing gloves. Take a good look at the ratchet when shopping to see if it has a smooth or texturized finish. A texturized finish is better suited for a diver.


Takeaway: Textured grip is best.


  1. Configuration: Multi-functional tourniquets give a diver the most options for carrying and employing their tourniquets. A tourniquet that is wearable in a stored configuration gives a diver the option to wear their tourniquet on their limbs, or attach it directly to their belt, or other equipment, even a spear gun. Most tourniquets require a pouch to carry, and the pouch has molle attachments meant for body armor, not diving. When shopping find a tourniquet that is stand-alone, and doesn’t require the purchase of additional items just to carry if possible. In addition, tourniquet with neoprene also increases buoyancy so if you do happen to drop the tourniquet it should float or at least remain neutrally buoyant.


Takeaway: Multi-Functional is best, less items needed to purchase is the most cost effective, and buoyant materials are best.


The best tourniquet for spear fishing, free diving, scuba diving, and snorkeling is the OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet for the following reasons:


  1. Ratchet: The ratchet is made of all stainless steel, and is powder coated for increased corrosion resistance. It is true corrosion resistance and not clever marketing. If the powder coating is scratched to reveal the stainless steel, it’s stainless steel, not steel, or iron that is exposed.


Takeaway: OMNA’s Amphibious Tourniquet offers true corrosion resistance.


  1. Easy To Apply: The ratchet simple and self-locking operation is a natural gross motor movement. All a diver has to do is lift the lever of the ratchet and it moves along the ladder strap to add the necessary compression, and it’s self-locking.


Takeaway: The ratchet offers the fastest and most applicable diving use.


  1. Configuration: The OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet uses marine-grade materials, which include neoprene for added buoyancy so it won’t sink. It is also wearable in its stored configuration, which means it doesn’t require you to also purchase a pouch that isn’t even made for divers.


Takeaway: The OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet is the most cost-effective and multi-functional tourniquet.


Which Tourniquet Is A True Marine Tourniquet? Some Tourniquets may claim they are corrosion resistant or made for marine environments, however, once you take an actual look at what they offer you can easily see that their claims are pure after-thought marketing, and that they are not true marine tourniquets. The OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet and its other water sport variants were all specifically made for marine environments like the ocean, rivers, lakes, swamps, and similar. The specifications are specifically for true corrosion resistance and saltwater use. As a diver, or other water sport participant the proof is clear that the OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet is the only marine tourniquet, and the best option for divers.