Bolt Clips, Double Enders and Carabiners – Which?

What is the difference?

Stainless Steel bolt snaps and Double enders.

These are common in the scuba world. They can be used to attach gear to your BCD, such as reels, torches, DSMB etc. A heavy duty #316 series, stainless steel alloy is suitable for all marine purposes. It has a long life and ease-of-use. The interior spring, which is very important is made of quality 304 grade stainless steel. These bolt snaps are polished and passivated. The passivation treatment will improve the surface condition of stainless steel; it will dissolve iron that becomes embedded in the surface when the bolt is formed. If the iron was allowed to remain, the bolt snap will form rust spots on the surface. Passivation requires stainless steel components to be immersed in a special acid solution, which leaves behind a thin, transparent oxide film.

The stainless steel version is by far the better option as brass (copper and zinc). Stainless steel, a good quality-marine grade, requires a rinse with clean water and is good to go. Brass tends to become stiff, hard and may freeze up over time. It is not as durable as stainless steel and can create sharp edges overtime.

Single ended bolt snaps.

The bolt snap is available in X-large. Often used for large scooters, lift bags, stage cylinders, etc.

Medium-sized ones are used to clip off consoles, SPG gauges, lights, long-hose primary stage regulator, etc.

Small ones for back-up lights, clip off regulators or small gadgets that require BCD attachment.

Bolt clips used to clip off regulators should be small enough not to cause interference with the diver mouth. It should be placed at least a hands width away from the hose to regulator connection. This allows enough room for the divers hand to grasp the hose and pass to a Buddy if required.

Double Ender (double-eye).

A marine grade double ender is an excellent clip. It is quick and easy to use and detaches at either end. May be used for gap spools, lift bags, camera equipment, scooter tow-line, etc. It is often used inside a two-zip pocket to attach spare equipment, but be aware that the ends do not open when it is removed from the pocket.

Bolt Snap Swivel Eye.

These swivel eye bolt snaps come in various sizes. They too can be used for stage-cylinders, large camera equipment, tool bags or other large equipment pieces. Small ones can be used to clip on to wet notes and other small gadgets.



When we dive there is always a chance we get entangled with fishing line, nets, cables, etc., which can snag and open the carabiner unexpectedly. If using gloves, they are difficult to open and can become a potentially life-threatening situation. Any spring-gated clips, like carabiners are often called “suicide clips” and should be avoided. An example: when you dive along at 10 meters, then suddenly feel a tug and cannot move forward. You look down and find you are fastened securely to the bottom through your carabiner, which has snagged onto a fishing line, an ascent line or other marine debris. Take a moment to think about the consequences if inside a wreck at depth! Carabiners can accidentally clip you to cables, floating wire,

etc. inside wrecks, which under tension, you cannot open. Often the spring-gate on carabiners deteriorates quickly and breaks or malfunctions. Some carabiners have a lock thread. Here the threads seize up in salt water and become very difficult to open.

Metal clips to metal surfaces?

If you attach a metal bolt clip to a metal reel plate, if you get snagged and under tension you cannot open it. The best method is to tie the bolt clip to the metal plate with thin rope. The prudent thing is if you get snagged, you can cut off the clip or reel, metal to metal, there is nothing to cut.

Tie off the clips.

If and when you tie off your bolt clips, make sure you use the correct size. A bolt clip that is too long, will only extend the length of the equipment. Equipment that dangles is also a hazard. There is a correct size for each piece of equipment – don’t be complacent.

My personal opinion is mounting any clip that is an entanglement concern is imprudent, whether it can be cut away or not. Better to select a clip that does not concern you at all and make it fast. The fact is that every D-ring, strap, and protrusion increases our entanglement risk and we must be prepared to deal with entanglement of all kinds… of course this applies to wreck, cavern, cave, closed environments and kelp divers even more!

Be prudent in what you modify and how you do it. Remember, in a panicked situation it is not easy to pick at things that do not open….time is of the essence!

Dive safely everyone

Dive Smart Gozo