A Step By Step Guide To Preparing A Diving Spool | Tips & Tricks | Scuba Leeds UK

A Step By Step Guide To Preparing A Diving Spool

This Step By Step Guide To Preparing A Diving Spool has a 17 step process for how to prepare your new scuba diving spool for use before a dive.

If you have ever thought:

  • Why does my spool keep unclipping underwater?
  • How can I make it easier to grab the line on my reel/spool?
  • Is there an easy way to set up my reel/spool?

Then you are in the right place. Before we start, this guide is just one way, it is not the only way. There are lots of methods that divers use to get their spool prepared for a dive, this is just one we like. If you have another method, great. if you have no method, well, you will have by the end of this post.


Lets get started

This Step By Step Guide To Preparing A Diving Spool includes:

  • How to prepare the leader loop
  • How to prepare a line loop for grabbing the line
  • How to thread the line through the spool for storage
  • How to wrap the line to reduce the risk of the bolt snap unclipping

Each step will start with an image, then will be followed by a short description. The 17 steps have broken each step down into smaller steps to make it easy to follow. Lets dive in.


How to Use This Guide

You should have your spool, double ended bolt snap and if possible a tape measure or rule (but this is optional) in front of you. This should take between 5 and 10 minutes. You should be able to go through this whole guide with no problems.

Download a PDF version of this guide below.



Step 1 - Get Your Spool Ready

Get your spool and separate the bolt snap. If you are not using an Apeks LifeLine Spool, you may need to tie a loop in the end of your line before continuing. The loop needs t be large enough to easily thread the spool back through on itself when deploying an SMB. As a rough guide you want between 25cm and 30cm before moving on to Step 2.



Step 2 - Unwind The Line

Make sure you have unwound your line to the point where your knot is out in front of you before you start. Lay the spool down and move the bolt snap to one side, you will need this later on.


Step 3 - Pinch The Line

Step 3 - Pinch The Line

Step 3 and Step 4 are linked. You need to pinch the line and make a crease in the line. This image shows the pinch in the middle of the line, THAT IS NOT WHERE THE KNOT GOES. It just made it easy for the photo. The knot needs to finish roughly 15cm from the end of the leader (on the Apeks Spool this is a sewn end with a black plastic sheath). You may need to thread some of the line back through the leader spinner (See Step 9) to give you enough line for this.



Step 4 - Make Sure Your Loop Will Leave 15cm Before Tying

I am emphasising this a little, because this little knot on the side of your loop is important. This loop allows you to grab the line really easily with cold wet hands, with wet or dry gloves, even in dark conditions. This loop has one purpose, allow you to grab the line and pull the loose end through from it's stowed position. This little loop is that thing you wish someone had told you years ago!



Step 5 - Prepare The Over Hand Knot

This is a simple over hand knot. You will have tied this knot hundreds of times in your life and may never have known it was called this. Start by looping the end over like a candy cane or an old school walking stick.



Step 6 - Loop Into A "Q"

Next you want to take the loop and pull it under the line to make a tail or Q shape. Once under the line, pull this through by around 5cm or so. This is going to form your cold water grab loop (not a technical name for it, but you get what I mean).



Step 7 - Loop The Tail Though The Hole

Take your tail of the "Q" and feed it back through the hole you have just created. The more of the loop you poke through the hole to form the knot, the bigger your loop. This loop does not need to be big. Remember it's sole purpose is there to allow you to grab the line when you need it, nothing is going to clip to this, so choose your size of loop.



Step 8 - STOP. Before You Tighten The Knot

At this point, before you go all Bruce Banner and Hulk out tightening your knot, I would suggest getting the tape measure out and remember what we said in Step 4. There should be around 15cm between the leader end of the loop and the new knot you have created. So check this with a tape/ruler, then go ahead and tighten the knot.



Step 9 - Even Out The Line

If you have a knot at both ends of your loop, then move on to the next step.

This step is important for divers with the Apeks LifeLine Spool or if your spool of choice has a swivel before you main spool line. If this is you, now you want to loosen the loop at the spinner/swivel end of your loop and thread the line back until it is even. This will allow the sewn end of your loop to be at the top of the loop for securing your SMB or tie off point with the line when diving.



Step 10 - Make Sure It Is Even

Making sure the loop is an even length on both sides, with your new grab loop in place will allow you to easily secure a tie off or attach your SMB when diving.



Step 11 - Your Spool Should Now Look Something Like This

Fingers crossed by now you should have a large loop with a small knot roughly 15cm from the top of the loop. It should look something like this. If it does, great stuff, you are ready to attach your double ended bolt snap.



Step 12 - Thread The Loose End Through A Hole In The Spool

Wind the loose line back around the spool to the point where you grab knot is, then push the remaining loop through one of the holes on the side of the spool. This length will ensure you have enough of the loop to thread through the head of your double ended bolt snap with our neat trip to reduce the risk of the bolt snap undoing while underwater. More on this in the next steps.



Step 13 - Attach The Bolt Snap

To attach the bolt snap securely, hold the loop in one hand, fold the top of the loop back by 180 degress and pull the main part of the loop back through the top of the loop. Then clip the bolt snap through the eye and you will have two lengths of line cinched by the top of the loop. I hope that makes sense, that was the hardest part to explain in words so far LOL.



Step 14 - Wrap The Line Under The Bolt Snap Trigger

Rotate the bolt snap, so the top of the bolt snap has cinched line and the remaining loop tracks down the double ended bolt snap and under the trigger.



Step 15 - Loop The Line Through The Bolt Snap

Now take the line that has come under the bolt snap and wrap this trhough the same end of the bolt snap. Grasp the opposite end of the bolt snap (which should have no line going through it) and your spool should hang below the bolt snap securely.



Step 16 - Your Spool Should Look Something Like This

As long as my descriptions and images have been clear enough, you should end up with the double ended bolt snap securely attached to the line. You will also have a trigger which has a loop of line over the top of it that will make it more difficult for the spool to become accidentally opened while kitting up, giant striding or at any other part of the dive. If your spool looks like this, we have a winner.



Step 17 - Lets Go Diving

You are ready to attach your newly prepared spool to your wing or BCD. Personally I attach my spools to my hip or tail d-rings on my wing, but each BCD/Wing is different and you may have your own personal preference.



Over To You

I hope you found this Step By Step Guide To How To Prepare A Diving Spool interesting and useful.

Download a PDF version of this guide below.


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And now I’d like to hear from you:

What’s your #1 takeaway or lesson from this guide? Or maybe you have a question.

Feel free to leave a comment below.

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