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as of 12/11/14









All current production

DESCO helmets



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as of 12/08/14




Current DESCO,  CBE, & Viking price lists.



Third Party




Third party dry suits

sold by DESCO



Composite Beat Engel

Demand Helmet






Update 11-22-12 



Product warnings and

cautionary notes







Manuals & service guides





General Diving & Equipment




What gear it takes to dive.





What goes into making

a diving helmet



Real or Replica?



Features of the various

helmet models






How DESCO started



Those who built DESCO



General product history. Catalogs, significant orders, etc.



Discontinued DESCO Products



DESCO A, B, C Rebreathers Recirculating Helmets 



SCUBA Lungs, Water Skis, and Miscellaneous Water Sports Products








Magazine or News

articles related to diving.

Links to online diving videos.



DESCO company photos

and photos from our archives



Commercial Diving Photos supplied by customers



Classic equipment &

hobby diving photos



Photos of helmets from

other manufacturers



Photos of equipment

 in museums



Photos from some of

our repair projects



DESCO Historical Item Collection



Miscellaneous Photos,

Old diver and/or equipment photos



Gallery 3

Classic equipment diving, and photos we receive from friends and collector customers.


Classic Equipment Diving


Hobby diving of classic & historical equipment.


There are many individuals and several clubs which collect, restore, and dive antique & classic equipment. Often clubs hold events which bring hobbyists from near and far. The activity has become prevalent enough that in Australia HDS Australia Pacific offers a NAUI certification standard dress training course. As with any potentially hazardous activity proper training, preparation, and safety consciousness is a necessity.


Diving is a potentially hazardous activity, that if practiced incorrectly or with incomplete training, planning and procedures can expose a person to considerable risks including serious injury or DEATH. Never dive a antique or collectible piece of equipment without first assuring its authenticity, and/or functionality. It is recommended that any diving equipment undergo inspection and testing by qualified personnel to insure safe use.


Saturday in  Lake Michigan


Local diver & Wisconsin Marine Historical Society member Peter Scotland tries out an old home built shallow water helmet.

Christian Koellner dives Scott Kuesel's Commercial helmet.




 Leon Lyons takes the plunge in one of his old helmets.






John McCadden & Son diving his modified Chinese helmet.

Click on a picture to enlarge. Use your browser back button to return.




John and his dive buddy Bob put the helmet through its paces.




More photos from John.






Vince Scarponi's Custom Helmet



In late 2009 Vince Scarponi ordered a modified Mark V helmet. It has Browne Commercial windows, a Browne Commercial secondary exhaust valve, and mounting blocks on the bonnet.


Click the thumbnail to enlarge photo.





On a sunny June Sunday Vince give six year old Jack and fifteen year old Jonah a chance to try out his DESCO Pot in the backyard pool.


Vince says:


The DESCO Air Hat So Simple a Six Year Old Can Dive It.


Might be time to ship them off to OZ for the NAUI SDD course.







Latest photo from Vince taken at the 2011 September Labor Day Weekend Rally at Dutch Springs in PA.

Both helmets are DESCO Mark Vs.





NAUI Standard Dress Diving course held "Down Under"


Professional Diving Services of Portland, Victoria Australia held a course for NAUI certification for standard dress diving and standard dress diving supervisor. The course which consisted of classroom and in water training was offered to HDS SEAP members. Helmets by TOA, Siebe Gorman, and DESCO were used. This was the second year the course was offered. Our thanks to Stephen Taylor for supplying us the photos.


Click the thumbnail to enlarge photo.


Putting in the time in the classroom.





Now to the fun part.








Historical Diving Society Southeast Asia Pacific: http://www.classicdiver.org/

Professional Diving Services  Portland, Victoria Australia http://www.profdivers.com/



Some photos from Stephen Taylor





Photos of a dive at the Melbourne Aquarium by Stephen Taylor




Photos courtesy of  Stephen Taylor




Today (November 11, 2011) we received an e-mail from Steve and as usual it came with some interesting photos. Also we got a wonderful story. This being Veteran's Day we are placing the text of Steve's e-mail here. On this day as we remember the service and sacrifice of people like Steve's father maybe we should also take a moment to remember the wood, steel, and fabric veteran's who were just as much living things to those who's lives depended on them. Well done Saratoga. To all our Veterans - Thank You.



Thanks for the information on my latest order.

I have attached some pictures for you. They are of a US Navy Mark V found on the deck of the USS Saratoga (CV3), at the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb test site. They were taken by Allan Easter of Australia while diving on the Saratoga. If you would like to put them on your site, please credit Allan.

My father was at Bikini when when the USS Saratoga was sunk in 1946. Two atomic bombs were exploded as a part of Operation Cross Roads. The first one was exploded at the wrong altitude so, the test was repeated. The Saratoga  survived the first blast and was sunk by the second one. This 'hat' must have been lost after the test, as radioactivity made salvage diving too dangerous. In any case, it shows how well the Mark V can survive the elements.

My father had been transferred to the USS Saratoga when his own ship, the USS Honolulu, was damaged at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese on Dec 7th 1941. The Saratoga was torpedoed on Jan 11th, 1942 and he was transferred again and  he went to Australia. The Saratoga was part of the Operation Magic Carpet that returned troops to the USA after the war. It carried a total of  30,000 personnel on multiple trips. There was a great feeling of sadness when dad saw the Saratoga go down.




Photos by Allan Easter



Simon Lessels

from Hobart, Tasmania sent us some photos of his DESCO Mark V.


Hi Ric,

Here are some photos of the helmet in action, we are diving in the Derwent river in Hobart Tasmania. The water temp is approx 9 degrees as its in the middle of winter July when the photos were taken. Every one that has a go loves it and has a second go while there is still enough gas.



Photos courtesy of  Simon Lessels




12/05/11from Simon Lessels


Hi Ric,

Just some more photo's of the Mk V in use in Tasmania, I have written a short piece about what and why we were diving for. Please see attached letter which I hope explains it all.

The following list is the names of people and what is going on in each of the photos. I'm unsure how to get them attached to each of them but I quit / hope you will be able to get them to attach to the right ones please. The Mark V stole the show.

  1. Some Clearance Diving Equipment used for Salvage diving and repair from AUSTCD1
  2. Dressing ABCD Bowler in to the Helmet
  3. ABCD Bowler recruiting more divers
  4. Final checks before diving the helmet
  5. Locking the front window in on the helmet
  6. The 'New' and the 'Old', showing how it is done
  7. Both the New and the Old working together
  8. Mk V in all her glory
  9. Down dressing ABCD Bowler from the Mk V Helmet
 10. The 'New' and the 'Old', ABCD Fernadez in the KMMK17 and ABCD Bowler in the Mk V
 11. Children looking on in ore of the old diving equipment/diver
 12. LSCD Lessels taking a moment to look at the crowds
 13. LSCD Lessels adjusting the air flow through the control valve
 14. Royal Australian Navy display sight
 15. Team members on the day from left to right: CPOCD Price, LCSD  Lessels, CPOCD Van Denbroek (Mk V), PODV Taylor, LCDR Hichman,
     LSCD Bumford (KMMK17 in water).
 16. Desco Mk V the best there is...

Thanks again Ric everyone who has a go loves it



*Simon Lessels*

/Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Unit/



Military Barracks Turns 200 Years

Anglesea Barracks in Hobart, Tasmania Australia is celebrating 200 years of Military service.

It was established by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in December 1811.

Anglesea Barracks is Australia’s oldest military establishment still in use. Its historic and cultural significance is recognised in its inclusion on the Commonwealth Heritage List.

The architecture dates from 1814, shortly after the settlement of Hobart Tasmania in 1803 and 16 years before Port Arthur (a convict colony) was established. It reflects changes resulting from sixty years of British Military government in the 1800s, with their departure in 1870 and the federation of the Australian States in 1901.

To show there support all three services came together to celebrate this occasion with RAAF aircraft displays, Army military hard wear and the Navy Diving equipment all standing out as the best for the crowds.

Members who took part in the diving display were members from Australian Clearance Diving Team 1, Sydney (ASTCDT1) and the local Reserve Diving Unit ‘Diving Team 10’, which is comprised of retired Clearance Divers and Reserve Divers. The Diving Tank was supplied by AUSCT1 which contains 15000 Litres of water.

The following photos were taken through out the day of the divers in Mark V helmet and the more modern day Kirby Morgan Mark 17 helmet.






1. Some Clearance Diving Equipment used for Salvage diving and repair from AUSTCD1 2. Dressing ABCD Bowler in to the Helmet  3. ABCD Bowler recruiting more divers  4. Final checks before diving the helmet  5. Locking the front window in on the helmet  6. The 'New' and the 'Old', showing how it is done 7. Both the New and the Old working together 8. Mk V in all her glory  9. Down dressing ABCD Bowler from the Mk V Helmet 10. The 'New' and the 'Old', ABCD Fernadez in the KMMK17 and ABCD Bowler in the Mk V 11. Children looking on in ore of the old diving equipment/diver 12. LSCD Lessels taking a moment to look at the crowds 13. LSCD Lessels adjusting the air flow through the control valve 14. Royal Australian Navy display sight 15. Team members on the day from left to right: CPOCD Price, LCSD  Lessels, CPOCD Van Denbroek (Mk V), PODV Taylor, LCDR Hichman, LSCD Bumford (KMMK17 in water). 16. Desco Mk V the best there is...


More from Simon Lessels

The Mighty MK V Winter Dive

In Australia on the 14th of July in the southern part of Tasmania the skies were over cast with rain starting to fall on the horizon. This was not to deter or frighten off the divers. On arrival to the dive site which is situated 25 min south of at Hobart at Peppermint Bay, the site was set up with the sound of thunder in the back ground.

With the weather turning bad, the mighty Mk V made by DESCO was going in the water, as the divers had come all the way from New South Wales on the main land of Australia, and had battled and won the fight against customs and immigration to enter Tasmania.

With the rain starting to fall and no letup in sight the dive continued, Patrick Rodgers was to enter the water, not knowing what to see or how it would feel, with nerves of steel he entered the water to be greeted by the southern ocean current and a temperature of 10 degrees (50 Fahrenheit) and a visibility of 5 meters.

During the 35 minute dive of walking the bottom of the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, Patrick Rodgers was visited by myself diving a twin hose Aqua Lung US Navy Min Mag air set. The system dived beautifully and reminded myself of the old FGT 1A Drager mix gas set which I used whilst in the Australian Navy, as you had to push and pull the Air through the hoses to get the air/gas into your lungs. To make things all that much better I dug out an old Australian Navy rubber Fenzy and Bali mask as they can be seen in one of the photos.

After exiting the water, Patrick Rodgers had that smile on his face that everyone remembers from their first dive in the MK V helmet. And yes his smile was just as large as yours, to make things even better he came out perfectly dry.

Even with the water temperature at 10 degrees (50 Fahrenheit) and falling over the next month (to 8 degrees (46.4 Fahrenheit)), the weather was not the best, but a great day was had by all. On returning home for de-service of all the gear, a few ports were had to finish off the day. During the month of August there will be further diving in the MK V still to come.


By Simon Lessels

Hobart, Tasmania Australia



Ken Wheaton sent us some photos of the inaugural dive of his new Lightweight Commercial Helmet.


Ken narrates the photos for us.


A very brief explanation: That day was the virgin dive with our rig that so much love and heartbreak finally brought to happen.  There were three of us, my partner Kev, Lokey a pro commercial diver who had a bit of down time from his job, and myself, the only guy who couldn't dive due to sinus operation.  Kev went first, the Lokey, and then, because they felt sorry for me they dressed me for a photo shoot.  THE FIRST THING I NOTICED WHEN I SAW THE PICTURES WAS THE MISPLACED WASHERS! You can imagine how that made me feel after already being let down by not breaking in "our baby"  Lokey while a full on pro commercial diver had never done heavy dress. He was like a kid in a candy shop.  He loved the helmet!, tried every position, every valve and later when I told him part was modeled on the abalone, he said he could imagine, cause one of the positions he tried was if he was prying shellfish off the bottom.













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