A diver from Guelph meets a diver from Hamilton who uses scuba diving weights made by Bill Yates.
Adam Yates was diving with Kyle Schustyk and others at Welland Scuba Park (St. Catherines, Ontario) recently, and as they were packing up their gear, Adam thought Kyle had his weights. These weights were engraved with the name “Bill Yates,” and Adam had been using them for years. Once Adam realized he had all his weights, the question remained, how did Kyle get these weights that his father Bill had made?
Adam decided to seek answers from his father, a retired diver.
Bill, Adam’s father, began diving in 1971 as part of a firefighter rescue initiative and it became a hobby for him while cottaging. He made his own weights because he was good with his hands and was frugal. When he stopped diving, Adam and his brother took up the sport and claimed some of his equipment, including a pair of Rocket Fins and Bill’s homemade weights.
Bill constructed his weights with other firefighters at the fire station. They used old lead pipes and wheel weights from Guelph’s old infrastructure. The weights had a glittery effect due to the coating on the wheel weight clips. A close family friend, Stuart Irving, custom-made the mould for the weights. Stuart also created a custom mould for Bill’s instructor, with the inscription “Underwater Services” on it. According to Bill, he believes his instructor and the shop were located in Hamilton.
Bill told Adam that he had made a large number of these weights and had given them away. Adam believes that some of the weights are still in use by divers today, and he would like to communicate with these divers to discover when and how they got them. Adam believes the “Bill Yates” mould is tucked away in his father’s garage someplace.
If any of you divers have or used these weights, Adam would love to hear from you so he can find out how far they’ve traveled.
You can contact Adam at his Facebook Page.