How do I attach a bolt snap to diving gear?

Attaching bolt snaps to dive gear like SPG hoses, regulators and backup lights makes for easier stowage. Now the question is: Should you use cable ties or nylon lines?

For me, the choice depends on where and how they will be used. Nylon lines are definitely superior to cable ties in most situations, however, they take some practice in order to be tied correctly and securely. Cable ties are quick and easy to secure, and are found everywhere, so they are a quick handy solution to connecting a bolt snap when you’re out diving.

Let’s dive in to the various situations in which either of these options might be suitable.

Attaching bolt snap to SPG hose: Cable tie


A bolt snap attached to an SPG hose with a cable tie.

The connection between the bolt snap and the SPG hose tends to be a static tie, that is, it would not move much in the course of its lifetime. The clip on the SPG hose need only flip forwards and backwards, and there would not be much turning along its vertical axis.

For static connections, a cable tie would be sufficient. A cable tie has strength along the length of the plastic tie, but does not handle rotational forces well. If a connection has a high possibility of rotating or turning sideways during use, then a cable tie is not ideal.

Attaching bolt snap to long hose or backup lights: Nylon line


The long hose is traditionally tied to a bolt snap with a knotted nylon line.

The long hose connection occasionally has some rotation, but will not be excessive. Likewise for backup lights, there might be some movement when they are clipped on. A cable tie is generally sufficient, but a knotted nylon line connection is definitely superior.


An SPG hose can also be tied to a bolt snap with a nylon line. This particular knot is probably 4 years old now.


The backup light should be tied with a nylon line connection to be secure.

Attaching bolt snap to backup lights, cameras and other large equipment: Nylon line + Cable tie


Due to the way the camera housings move in the water when clipped off, an extra cable tie over the knotted line is a good idea!


Alternatively, make sure your line is thick and tied really well! You wouldn’t want to lose a few thousand dollars worth of camera equipment due to a failed knot!

Connections to large, bulky or heavy equipment will certainly have rotational forces involved. Picture your camera dangling from the bolt snap attached to the D-ring of your shoulder straps. The weight will cause your gear and its connected bolt snap to sway in various directions as you move, and when your hands are busy with something else. The equipment will also rotate as you clip on and off. So, for a camera and other heavy equipment, I would say a knotted line is mandatory. I might even put a cable tie over it to be doubly sure that the connection is secure!

Looking at the camera housing when it’s clipped off to a d-ring gives you an idea of how it will move and swing when diving. I’d rather make this connection a secure one!

Leon Boey is a GUE, HSA and PADI instructor based in Singapore and Bali. He runs the dive education centre Livingseas in Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. Diving since 2005, he first fell in love with wrecks. He enjoys all sorts of diving, and loves being surrounded by fish.

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