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Why you shouldn’t dock for onboard breathing air inspections

Well-functioning equipment for filtering your compressed onboard breathing air is vital, both for your crew’s safety and regulatory compliance. But is purchasing a quality compressor all there is to it?

Breathing air contamination at sea could be a potential headache for both crew and shipowner.

 Acquiring quality air compressors and cylinders is a good first step, but then what? As we all know, the seas can be a harsh environment for any equipment, wearing and tearing on them over time. Luckily, there is a way to make sure your equipment performance is up to date, safeguarding that your compressed onboard breathing air holds sufficient quality over time.

With Bruusgaard’s compressed breathing air test kit on board, worrying about air contamination could be a thing of the past. In addition to ensuring your crew’s wellbeing, regular use of our breathing air test kit keeps you well within both recommendations and regulations for annual testing. And best of all? It’s efficient, reasonable and easy to use.

Onboard breathing air - Photo

Why testing your compressed onboard breathing air is important

Keeping your crew’s lungs safe is an obvious priority for any ship owner and operator. There are several factors that can impact the air quality, and being aware of them is a good start. Our humble opinion is that implementing routines for regular testing of breathing air equipment are on a need-to-have basis, not nice-to-have.

Compressor filters age over time, in effect giving them an expiry date. 

Making sure they function at an optimal level should be part of your crew’s routines. Maintenance, high temperature, cargo emissions and technical operations such as welding or paint jobs on board impacts the intake of air to your filter. The more complex operations, the higher the risk for contamination.

Unfortunately, contaminated air isn’t necessarily easily detected by human nostrils. We know of unfortunate events where crew members have passed out due to chemical residue polluted air as a result of hull paint jobs in high temperatures. Are you absolutely certain that your compressor filter eliminates potential hazards? The golden rule of safety applies: if in doubt, check it twice.

Pressure gauge

Eliminate expensive third party inspections

We know it, and you know it. Your vessels pay the bills at sea – not while docked. Planning, booking and conducting third party inspections replaces valuable sailing time, ultimately affecting your bottom line. 

Finding certified third party inspectors on the spot can be both difficult and expensive. With the Bruusgaard breathing air test kit you can test your air quality at any time, without being dependent on external inspectors coming aboard. Hence, the kit from Bruusgaard ensures fast and flexible real time analysis, keeping your costs down to a minimum. 

The annual, mandatory inspection of your compressed breathing air quality is a lot easier when you have already conducted your own tests during voyage. Quite literally, you run your own self-diagnostics as a pre-operation, and can get into problem solving (if necessary) while at sea. To pass the actual inspection, you simply show them your log books. Let’s be honest, it’s at sea your crew’s time schedule is at its most flexible – make use of that availability instead of lingering at port more than necessary. Now, let’s get into the actual how.

Why you shouldnt dock for onboard breathing air inspections

Using your Bruusgard breathing air test kit

The premise is as simple as the process: we deliver the equipment, you do the testing. Our kit comes with a testing device consisting of a flow regulator, reduction valve and a testing tube holder to be mounted on the compressor or cylinder. In the handy carrying case, you’ll also find extra fittings, a ceramic tube breaker and a set of testing tubes. The kit also includes an easy step-by-step instruction manual and a log book where your results also serve as proof of compliance.

The test works as follows: You simply mount the regulator on the compressor or cylinder to be tested. Break the seal of a fresh tube and insert it in the tube holder. Attach the tube holder to the outlet of the flow control regulator, turn on the compressor or cylinder and check the correct flow rate and flow time for the corresponding Airtec tube in the table. Open the flow regulator to the correct flow rate and start the timer. Once sampling time is completed, close the regulator, turn off the compressor and remove the test tube from the holder.

You get the results immediately after the test is conducted – fast, simple and accurate. If no significant deviations are found, your crew can continue to breathe safely. The only consumables required after initial supply of the set are the Gastec (Airtec) tubes, of which we keep a fresh stock at all times ready to be shipped out to ports all over the world within a few days. The Gastec tubes are non-hazardous and have a shelf life of 2–3 years from production date. 

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the kit. We’re always happy to speak to others who care just as much about efficient safety measures as we do.

Features & benefits – the short version

  • Onboard testing – saves time and costs
  • Measures CO, CO2, NOx, water vapour and oil mist in compressed breathing air
  • Compliant with high- and low-pressure compressors and cylinders
  • Simple and reliable testing in accordance with purification standards
  • Accurate measurements based on the well known Gastec testing tubes
  • Low maintenance cost


Water testing does not have to be an obstacle course. Watch our live demo of our range of test kits in our webinar on demand.