BLU3 designs and manufactures battery-powered tankless diving systems which are essentially floating air compressors that draw air from the surface and pump it underwater through a hose to the diver so that they can breathe underwater without a SCUBA tank. This type of diving, traditionally called surface-supplied air diving, has actually been around longer than SCUBA diving (diving with tanks) has, and BLU3 is part of a parent company that has been in the industry since the 1960s. While the original company under the umbrella, Brownie’s Third Lung, has focused on multiple-diver units that are great for boaters, BLU3 is focused on single-diver units that are as portable and user-friendly as possible. The advancements of BLU3 have been achieved with patented technology referred to as the Smart Reg. The portability of BLU3 products opens the product up to a much wider range of applications such as metal detecting, boat maintenance, fossil hunting, scientific research, traveling (airplane friendly), and swimming pool maintenance.

Interview with Blake Carmichael, CEO of BLU3.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Blake Carmichael: BLU3 designs, manufactures, sells, and distributes its products around the world. The design, manufacturing, and support facility is located in Pompano Beach, Florida. Research and development have been a prominent focus of the company in the last six and a half years since BLU3 was founded, as the company has released three products since then: Nemo, Nomad, and Nomad Mini. Nemo is being phased out to be replaced by Nomad Mini. The primary difference is the depth rating of the product.

On the marketing side, BLU3 is strongly focused on targeting boat owners and metal detectorists. However, the initial intention behind BLU3 was to expand recreational diving to more people, inviting more snorkelers to take their adventures underwater. Many people are hesitant to try SCUBA diving. BLU3 offers a gateway, or a middle ground between snorkeling and SCUBA diving because it is less intimidating than SCUBA for newcomers. BLU3 is working on expanding its guided tours and product trials to operators around the world who can take people diving alongside an authorized BLU3 Dive Guide who has a divemaster or greater certification level.

E.E: What’s the news about new products/services?

B.C: BLU3’s latest product, Nomad Mini, was launched in 2023 and started shipping in January 2024. With a maximum depth of 15 feet as opposed to Nomad’s 30-foot depth rating, Nomad Mini is smaller at only 12 pounds. 

Another exciting feature about Nomad Mini is the DiveBoost Kit for those who want to extend their dive time. Traditionally, lithium-ion batteries are unable to be connected in parallel to each other. But the DiveBoost Kit has special electronics to prevent current flow between the batteries when connected together, and provides for an additional battery compartment on the Nomad Mini unit. Users can double or triple their dive time (with one or two DiveBoost Kits.) 

E.E: What are the ranges of products/services?

B.C: BLU3 primarily manufacturers tankless diving systems. But another new product that recently entered the mix for BLU3 is called SeaNXT Elite. The SeaNXT Elite is an underwater scooter with a top speed of 13 miles per hour. It is made of carbon fiber and looks like it’s straight out of an action movie. This product is not designed or manufactured by BLU3, but BLU3 is the exclusive distributor and service center for North and South America. The product is manufactured in France. 

BLU3 added the SeaNXT Elite to its portfolio for a few reasons: (1) the product share the same mission of garnering people’s interest in the underwater world (2) the customer demographic overlaps, meaning marketing efforts can be shared across the company (3) BLU3 has built a capable team and facility with resources to take on distribution of additional products. It is the duty of the company to make the most of its resources so that it can continue to provide the best products at the most affordable pricing possible for the consumers. 

E.E: What is the state of the market where you are currently active?

B.C: There are many different applications for the BLU3 products, but all of them are related to outdoor activity in some way. Following COVID, there was a great increase in outdoor products, but since then it has dropped off slightly. We do see expect an increase in 2024 sales relative to 2023 sales. It helps that there are still so many people who have no idea about the product or the concept, so there is a lot of potential left. 

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

B.C: We do see some economic impacts based on current trends in the world. Many people do not have as much disposable income for luxury items. The company has focused marketing efforts heavily into the boating market which appears to be most consistent of all customer segments.

E.E: What are the most innovative products/services marketed?

B.C: The most innovative aspect of BLU3 products is how portable, lightweight, and user-friendly they are. Batteries power the unit for up to about an hour at a time and they can be easily swapped. The units and batteries are permitted for travel on airplanes, opening up many new possibilities for people to dive while traveling. Users are able to access many remote locations for treasure/fossil hunting or scientific research. 

What allows Nomad to be so compact, portable, and responsive is our patented Smart Reg™ – the first of its kind!

Here’s how it works: A silicone diaphragm inside the Smart Reg™ moves when the diver breathes. A waterproofed sensor measures the diaphragm movement – it then sends an electronic signal which triggers the compressor to pump air at exactly the time and speed that the diver is inhaling. This eliminates the need for an air reservoir and allows for the pump to be low-pressure which simplifies the design and reduces weight.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2024?

B.C: The goal is to increase revenue by about 50% relative to 2023 and right now this still seems achievable, especially with the addition of SeaNXT Elite.