The Ultimate Underwater Camera Housing Endurance Test


Annie Greenbergs Associated Press story of the underwater camera housing that kept its Nikon camera in pristine condition and survived a 2,000-mile voyage, including a possible turtle attack, kept me chuckling this morning. Sounds like a good protocol for a Practical Sailor test.

According to the story, the camera and its housing were lost off the coast of Aruba by a diver, only to arrive months later in Key West, Fla. The housing was encrusted with barnacles, but the camera was nearly pristine. When the discoverer, Paul Shultz, downloaded the images, he found some mysterious footage that suggested a violent encounter with marine life. Only after some super sleuth work did he find that the owner, Dick de Bruin, was alive and well, in Aruba.

The mysterious footage? Sometime during the course of the camera and housings oddysey, a sea turtle mistook the floating object for lunch, it seems.

We will be looking at a few underwater camera products this summer, including the Liquid Image Video Mask, but the testing will be more controlled.

The housing that protected de Bruins well-travelled camera looks to be made by Ikelite, a longtime manufacturer of underwater housings and lights for divers. The camera, we believe, is a Nikon Coolpix series. The two are sold as a package by Ikelite.

For the Youtube video from the camera, check out this link.

For photos from the camera are here.

Thanks to alert PS reader Rob McLaughlin of Freehold, N.J., for the heads up on this story.

Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him by email at