3 Types of Diving Helmets

photo credit: Kirby Morgan

Diving helmet have had a long history. It started in the 1820s with the first successful produced helmet was invented by the brothers Charles and John Deane. Improvements have been made and  features have been added to make it more functional for professional divers.

Here are the 3 types of diving helmets

1. Standard Diving Helmet (Copper hat)

Examples: US Navy Mk V helmet, copper Heliox helmets which are made for the US Navy by the Second World War, Mk V Helium

Companies which produces Mark V diving helmets for the US Navy:

  • Morse Diving Equipment Company of Boston, Massachusetts,
  • A Schrader’s Son of Brooklyn, New York,
  • Miller-Dunn Diving Co. of Miami, Florida
  • Diving Equipment and Salvage Co. (later Diving Equipment Supply Co.) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin

morsemorse 2

2. Lightweight Demand Helmets

  • Open circuit helmets

Examples:  Gorsky, Kirby Morgan Superlite-17 from 1975, Ratcliffe helmet, often known by its nickname “Rat Hat”

photo credit: Tres Fitzgerald
photo credit: Tres Fitzgerald
Photo Credit: Carson Dive Report


Other Notable Manufacturers: Savoie, Miller, and Swindell.

  • Reclaim helmets – use a surface supply system to provide breathing gas to the diver in the same way as in the open circuit helmets, but also have a return system to reclaim and recycle the exhaled gas to save the expensive helium diluent. Which would be discharged to the surrounding water and lost in an open circuit system.

3. Free-Flow Helmets

Examples: Desco “air hat” –  a metal free-flow helmet, designed in 1968 and still in production, Sea Trek surface supplied system, developed in 1998 by Sub Sea Systems, is used for recreational diving. Lama, developed by Yves Le Masson in the 1970s, has been used in television to let viewers see the face and hear the voice of the presenter speaking underwater.



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