A properly rigged stage or deco bottle will not only be stable on the diver’s body, but will ride in the slipstream, creating much less drag and will be easier to manage. This is especially important when more than one bottle is being carried.
Typically, al80’s are used for stage bottles and al80 (21/35, 35/25), al40 (EAN50 and/or oxygen) and al30’s (oxygen) are used for deco bottles. These instructions will work for any of the previously mentioned tanks.
*We’ve used orange climbing rope and boltsnaps with 1 ½” eyes for the sake of illustration
It's important to note that we use rope so we have no metal to metal connections. All connections are cutaway, meaning they can be cut by a knife, if needed.
Snaps & Tubing
Boltsnaps with a ¾” gate make it easier to clip off the bottle, especially with drygloves in cold water conditions. Likewise, the 1” eye makes it easier to place a finger in the eye when clipping off, passing a bottle to a teammate or moving it to a leash with drygloves.
Contrary to popular belief, the fuel hose IS NOT a handle. The tank valve is the handle, just as any other tank. The fuel hose “lifts” the stage straps away from the bottle, allowing the diver to get his/her finger or thumb under the strap in order to stow the regulator. Using the fuel hose as a handle does nothing but create slack in the rigging which makes for a unstable bottle. While 3/8” to 5/8" fuel hose works fine, I prefer the 1/2” hose, as it’s easier to use with drygloves.
Wearing the Bottle
In the UTD configuration, the deco and stage bottles are all slung on the diver’s left side, clipped off to the left chest D-ring and left hip D-ring. Up to two bottles may be clipped off there. If the diver is carrying more than two deco or stage bottles, the extra bottles will be on a leash.
When being worn, or slung, by the diver, the bottle should face “up” while the diver is in trim. The valve hand wheel should face away from the diver and be on the same plane. This makes turning the valve hand wheel easily accessible.
Fold the line in half, and tie an 18” piece of cave line to the line at the fold. Feed the cave line through the fuel tubing.
Pull the cave line through the tubing so approximately 7 ½” to 8” of the stage bottle line is through the hose.
Adjust the line on the other end so one side is approximately 9” longer than the other
Attach the upper boltsnap by using an overhand knot
Place the rigging on the tank, over the valve, and around the neck of the tank. Adjust the boltsnap’s position so it lies above the tank’s shoulder, on the crown.
Tie an overhand knot just below the hose. Make sure the knot is tight and that’s it’s as close to the hose as possible, preferably against the hose.
The lower boltsnap should be approximately a palm’s width from the lower knot, which we have yet to tie. Position the boltsnap on the longer piece of line about a palm’s width, plus ~1”. This should put the boltsnap in the proper position when the second knots are tied.
With the longer line, tie an overhand knot approximately ½” below the knot at the base of the fuel tubing. Be sure the shorter section of line runs through the loop of the knot before it’s tightened. Tighten this knot as much as possible. The ½” space is where the hose clamp will be positioned.
Using the other line (previously the shorter line), make a second overhand knot, making sure to make the knot around the loop of line with the bottom boltsnap. This knot, and the prior overhand knot tied in Step 8, will make a fisherman’s knot.
Tighten the second overhand knot against the prior overhand knot, creating a fisherman’s knot. Tie this knot as tight as possible.
Cut the excess line and burn the ends, creating a mushroom.
Place the rigging on the bottle, making sure the upper loop goes around the neck of the tank, and not the tank valve. Place the hose clamp on the bottle and into the slot between the knots on the bottom of the rigging, just below the fuel hose. Running tube webbing over the clamp and clear tubing over the hose clamp screw will minimize corrosion. The hose clamp screw should be in line with the valve hand wheel. Pull down on the rigging, so it’s very tight and tighten the hose clamp screw as tight as possible.
Place the upper stage strap over the fuel tubing, at the top of the bottle, near the crown. The lower stage strap goes under the tail, against the lower knot. Inner tube or manufactured elastic stage straps are much preferred over shock cord for ease of gripping when stowing the regulator and its ability to keep the regulator stowed better than shock cord.
Note the position of the hose clamp screw, in line with the valve hand wheel.
Your stage or deco bottle is now ready for use. If you haven’t marked your deco bottle yet, refer to the Bottle Marking Page