Some 80km south of Copenhagen, about one hour’s drive, in what appears to be just some ordinary and inconspicuous farm buildings surrounded by fields out in the countryside, we find JJ-CCR—manufacturer of world-renowned closed circuit rebreathers.
I have known this company since its inception. JJ-CCR is founded and headed by Jan Petersen, whose expertise is in machining, but it was another Jan, surname Jørgensen, who certified me on the Inspiration Classic, a little over 20 years ago. Around that time, Jørgensen also happened to certify Petersen, and the two Jans—hence the name “JJ”—got into a fruitful discussion about designing and building a new rebreather, which led to the development of the first prototype in 2005. Jørgensen soon went on to pursue other business interests, but the two continued to dive together and confer on further developments.
By the end of 2006, Shearwater Research’s GF computer was added as a controller, and back-mounted counterlungs were introduced in late 2007. At this point, Petersen decided to mature what was still a prototype and make it ready for market.
The workshop was rebuilt and tooling was purchased. Final refinements and testing took place during 2009. By the end of 2010, the JJ-CCR was ready and CE certified. CE certification affirms that a product has been assessed to meet high safety, health, and environmental protection requirements, in compliance with relevant EU legislation.
The “JJ,” as the unit is fondly referred to by its enthusiastic user group, is not a rebreather intended for entry-level recreational divers—although Petersen contends it can also be used by recreational divers. It is more of a purist concept, doing away with some of the complications and added features such as an integrated bailout mouthpiece, which has become one of the requirements for closed circuit rebreathers to be designated recreational (so-called Type R), or permitted for entry-level dive training.
As such, a JJ is an advanced piece of kit made for advanced and technical divers who can appreciate its less complex, more rugged, and therefore, in theory, more fail-safe design. Or, as the byline on the company website states: “The JJ-CCR is a rugged and versatile rebreather developed for harsh wreck and cave environments.” It was never intended for the sports diving market but engineered to be a solid tool for professional wreck divers who worked in the deep, dark and cold waters of the Baltic Sea.
One of our regular technical diving contributors and columnists, who also happens to be a JJ-CCR instructor, explained that the oft-used description of the JJ as being “the 4 x 4 of the rebreather community” is fitting. The characteristics he foremost highlighted is its versatility and adaptability to a multitude of applications, a variety of environments and different users. It is also capable of being operated completely manually, and on off-board gas if desired. ■