Vintage Scuba: The “Fenzy” Self Inflating BC – S04E08

When buoyancy compensators (BC’s) were first introduced, divers rejected the idea of needing any life jacket. Alec explains why the “Fenzy” became the first commercially successful BC due to its self inflating system.

*** In this episode of Vintage Scuba ***
– a “Fenzy X4” buoyancy compensator and life jacket
– oral or power inflated by a steel cylinder at 2,900 psi
– called an ABLJ “Adjustable Bouyancy Life Jacket” in Europe
– developed by Maurice Fenzy in 1961
– weight with steel cylinder: 7.3 pounds / 3.3 kg
– was US Navy approved and ANU listed
– inflatable to depths of 200 feet plus emergency breathing air supply

▶︎ Series 7:
▶︎ Series 6:
▶︎ Series 5:
▶︎ Series 4:
▶︎ Series 1, 2 & 3:

▶︎ Series 4:
▶︎ Series 3:
▶︎ Series 2:
▶︎ Series 1:

▶︎ Series 2:
▶︎ Series 1:



Chirana Gheorghita Eugeniu Theodor says:

Wohaaaa. Old times come back. We now use argon for drysuits and maibe with big argon tank …. in the bc also with redundable from a bresthing cylinder or stage in the second bladder of the wing.

Ken Rich says:

Great vid. I never got to use one. The one I used was the yellow horse collor but it had a co2 cartrage. And a inflator hose. I lurned to dive with in 1975

Alain Dumesny says:

I remember those! I started diving with them in the late 70s early 80s. Maybe the french version ? aaaaah good times.

Nick Laskaris says:

British Buddy BCDs can still be bought with an emergency cylinder!

Mike Caira says:

What part of Kent did your dad come from? I’m in Kent

Mr T says:

Hay I am British!!!! Lol great vids

Miguel Gerov says:

Alec, first time a see a device like that one. I still have the SeaTec with the CO2 cartridge built in, with the replaceable inner bag inside the BCD.

Andrew McInnes says:

Love the older gear…

scuba Steve and underwater rock climbing says:

Another question any tips on how to tell if you properly cleaned your gear ? Thanks I really appreciate it

sk1010 says:

I had one of these when they first came out and in the UK they were called ABLJ’s (Adjustable Buoyancy Life Jacket’s)

FULL Throttle45 says:

9:23 RIP headphone users, awesome video

USALOVER001 says:

Maurice Fenzy the inventor of “La Bouée Fenzy” was my grandfather. Thank-you for this kind of tribute. Florent

Hamza Bennis says:

Dry suits please,

rmod42 says:

Do y’all not get AP Valves products over in the colonies? The Suicide Bottle is still an option on their BCs to this day.

My understanding is that (at least in the modern context) if you’re entering the water with a set that is negative without any air in (due to multiple cylinders, additional equipment, etc) and for whatever reason your power inflate doesn’t work (you forgot to turn your air on) you crack the valve open to stay at the surface. So you can turn your air on.

Reza Gorji says:

Great video. Brings back lots of memories. Comments about hairy chested divers is true and now quite hilarious. How did people travel with these? Did they take the tank with them or did they rented at destination? Thanks.

Igor Ajranovic says:

Dive with this and 2×12 litres last year. Better than classic BCD.
This is my opinion, head us always up and back. Everyone should try old school scuba 🙂

TheOldManEric says:

Love that name… Fenzy x 4 when your diving in a frenzy and you stuck on the floor. Open that valve and you’ll sound like a train ….. Nobody gonna go diving with you again.

Mike Caira says:

Yes maybe next time ? I belong to Whitstable scuba club where I learnt to dive and go away each year for a week diving in Egypt.
Really love what you do on YouTube from your Sea Hunt stuff to the vintage scuba and of course the tech tips.
Great work from you and Kevin

scuba Steve and underwater rock climbing says:

Have you ever got dcs? Or had to help a dive buddy with it? I would love to here your experience and opinion on that topic

kev clements says:

Great video, my bcd actually came with a inflator tank it’s made by A.P valves. Never used it but it is there in case I run out of air.

Pedro Alegre says:

When the Fenzy vests were usual also the bottles had a “reservation”, that warned you when the bottle had little amount of air and had to suspend the dive

Ed Straker says:

That was my first BC I bought in 1983 in NZ. It did the job. If memory serves, I sold it for what I paid for it, several years later.

Mike Caira says:

How cool is that, I have lived all my life in a small sea side town north of Canterbury called Herne Bay and know Bridge very well.

princess sarragozza says:

Can you make a video about travel bags and mesh travel bags for scuba diving?

bristol says:

…Brilliant video…. Alec we Brits know that type of life jacket as an A.B.L.J….(Adjustable Buoyancy Life Jacket) a proper old school piece of kit ,I still use one and found them a multipurpose item for snorkeling and canoeing included . in the pool we trained to breath off them in 12ft 6ins of water just useing that small fitted air bottle . and old habits die hard, I purposely bought a Buddy Trident B.C.D. with an integrated air bottle …. sorry for the waffle…

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