Wednesday, 29 May 2013


During my recent trip to Florida I was lucky enough to visit the Halcyon Factory so I thought I’d write a few words about it.
Firstly; Why Halcyon?
Originally I thought Halcyon was overpriced and over-hyped and I vowed I would never spend that much money on kit, but how my opinions have changed.  Now, apart from a few bits ALL my kit is Halcyon; 40lb Evolve wing for twins, 30lb Eclipse wing and single tank adaptor (STA) for singles or 55lb Explorer wing for larger cylinders, weight pouches, stainless steel backplate (SS BP) and one piece harness (OPH), 21W HID primary light, Scout backup lights, spools, wetnotes, stage cylinder rigging kits and cylinder valves.  I also feel that my primary reel will soon be replaced with a Pathfinder as the imitation I have seems to unspool a little too quick for my liking and my delayed surface marker buoys (DSMBs) will be replaced as the Halcyon metal oral/suit inflation valves are easier to use than the plastic ones on the imitations.  I even have a 40lb Explorer wing, SS BP and OPH for my students.  You can pretty much say I’m sold.
The Visit
I had spoken to Halcyon before I left the UK and gave them a courtesy email prior to my visit.  On arrival we arrived at an unsuspecting industrial building; no signs or notices and nothing fancy.  If we hadn’t seen an employee walk out wearing a Halcyon t-shirt we would have thought we had arrived at the wrong place. 

Once inside we were confronted with the distribution centre where all the products were being packaged for shipping.  We were then given a tour by Ken and his only rule was no pictures allowed inside.  Fair one.

We started off in the testing area.  They’ve a pressurised dive tank where all torches are tested to 300ft (90m) and on occasion up to 1000ft (330m).  There are also rails on wings which are tested to see if they’ll hold pressure for a minimum of 24 hours.  From here we move over to the CNC machines and get shown the process of light assembly and backplate manufacturing.  There’s then a row of machinists sewing all sorts; DSMBs to wings, lift bags to gaiters.  We’re then shown the welding process for the bladders and the assembly area before moving onto the stock room.  I’m surprised we weren’t made to consistently clap our hands so we didn’t steal anything, although we did get to play with Defender Pro 200 spools and Henrietta also asked to try a cinch.  They also had some very cool digicam wings which were made as a special order. 
Unlike a lot of dive equipment manufacturers Halcyon make 90% of their products on site instead of the Far East.  Seeing this, along with the build quality and testing process only help confirms why I use Halcyon equipment and would strongly recommend it to others.  Since trying the cinch Henrietta now wants one as, well as a 40lb Evolve wing SS BP and primary light so I think she also approves!
The boring bit!
All opinions expressed in my articles are my own and may differ to other instructor’s and agency guidelines; by no means are they wrong and I would not wish to disrepute any of them.  This article is for information only and should not replace proper training.
Safe diving!
Timothy Gort
BSAC, PADI and SDI/TDI diver training
l Mob: 07968148261 l Email: l