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|Bruce Partridge, founder|
|Products||dive computers, rebreather electronics|
Number of employees
|50 (December, 2017)|
|Footnotes / references|
All products meet CE, FCC and IC international standards.
In 2004, Shearwater Research was founded by Bruce Partridge who produced their products in a spare bedroom at his home. As of 2014, Shearwater was producing thousands of dive computers per year in a manufacturing facility with twenty employees.
Shearwater Research began by building controller boards for the Innerspace Systems Corp (ISC) Megalodon rebreathers in 2004. There was a problem with the configuration and by the end of 2005, ISC was no longer offering the Shearwater electronics package. Since that time, the initial issues have been resolved and Shearwater electronics are again available for use on the ISC Megalodons.
Shearwater decompression computers began with an implementation of the Bühlmann decompression algorithm into their Shearwater GF in the Spring of 2006. It was available in either the partial pressure of oxygen with decompression or control versions. In January 2007, the Shearwater GF was the computer used with the JJ-CCR.
With the release of the Predator in 2009, Shearwater moved away from the old LCD display technology to the use of new OLED displays in their computers. This was the first color OLED diving computer available in the market with a user replaceable battery. Power was a major limiting factor in the development process to include the OLED technology.
With the Predator, Shearwater also introduced bluetooth to allow easier syncing with their desktop software. Their reason for the move to bluetooth was to make a computer that could be used on multiple operating systems. The Predator's two button design has been called "intuitive and easy to use". The top of the line Predator will also allow for up to five breathing gases for the rebreather and up to five bail-out gasses. The user can make gas switches on the computer at any point during the dive.
In 2011, Shearwater announced that they had licensed a technique to monitor carbon dioxide absorbent canister developed by the United States Navy Experimental Diving Unit. In collaboration with rEvo rebreathers, they were able to show that the thermal canister CO2 monitor would work with Shearwater's Predator dive computer.
Shearwater has continued to develop new ways to calculate decompression in their equipment by releasing an implementation of the Varying Permeability Model (VPM-B/GFS) in 2011. The "GFS" is for Gradient Factor Surfacing and indicates the combination were VPM and GF models are compared and the longer time utilized for the displayed profile.
The Shearwater Petrel has been called the "Predator with improvements". The Petrel was designed to allow a standard AA battery to drive the power it needs for calculations and OLED display with automatic brightness changing. The unit is 40% smaller than the Predator. The Petrel includes both the Bühlmann algorithm and their VPM-B/GFS algorithm. The Petrel also extends the profile data storage that was previously available from 200 to approximately 1000 hours.
With the release of the Petrel, Shearwater has also improved the educational materials available to their owners.
In 2013, Shearwater was presented with the International System Safety Society Award for safety in "Scientific Research & Development" at the 31st International System Safety Conference in Boston.
In 2015, the Perdix wrist mounted dive computer was released. The Perdix is similar to the Petrel but has a 30% longer battery life and a thinner and lower profile. The computer was named after a "grey partridge". (The Founder's surname is Partridge). Unlike the Petrel, the Perdix is only available in a stand alone configuration and does not have a version that can be connected to a rebreather.
In 2016, the Perdix AI was released. The Perdix AI built on the success of the Perdix by adding air integration features. The Perdix AI is designed to function in conjunction with Pelagic Pressure Systems wireless gas pressure transmitters. The Perdix AI allows for 2 cylinder pressures to be reported simultaneously.
In 2017, Shearwater launched the NERD 2. A successor to the original NERD heads-up dive computer, the NERD 2 eliminated the brain box from the NERD system, incorporating all of the electronics into the eyepiece. The NERD 2 contains a rechargeable lithium ion battery, heads-up compass, and dual air integration capability. Unlike the original NERD, the NERD 2 is available in a stand-alone model, making it practical for open circuit diving for the first time.
In 2010, Shearwater was one of the founding manufacturers for the Rebreather Education and Safety Association. Shearwater's Bruce Partridge served as Secretary for the founding board of the organization.
In 2016 Shearwater funded a rebreather sorb absorption research study by Harvey and colleagues.
A Shearwater Predator was used to calculate decompression on a 2010 expedition that lead to the identification of HMS Snaefell that went down on July 5, 1941.
Shearwater also supported research by the University of Connecticut and Ocean Opportunity to explore the Tongue of the Ocean. This project, funded by the National Geographic Society/ Waitt Grants Program to explore the mesophotic zone between 200 ft (60 m) and 500 ft (150 m) carried The Explorers Club flag number 172. The Shearwater electronics were utilized to record the diver profiles.