Scuba diving equipment is designed to offer divers the most practical benefits for breathing and navigating as easily as possible in the deepest regions of the ocean. In seawater, diving equipment needs to cover three basic necessities that make it a practical asset: breathing, safety and mobility. From flexible, lightweight scuba diving suits that also come with excellent aerodynamic features, to high grade, complex breathing equipment that is designed to adjust to the diver’s breathing pace, necessary and useful diving equipment can come in many shapes and sizes.
The most important type of scuba diving equipment includes scuba diving tanks that have primary and emergency cylinders, as well as valves designed to regulate the high pressure of the supplied air. Scuba diving regulators and rebreather systems are in charge of fully adjusting the air supply according to the diver’s breathing, and recirculating the air for the purpose of prolonging the time divers are able to stay underwater. Helmets and full sized masks can also be used optionally, in order to offer a comfortable setting for the air supply, and ensure additional protection during the diving process.
To safely navigate the depths of the ocean, divers also need to be equipped with proper protection gear, such as dry suits, wet suits and hot suits (used for water of varying temperatures) and diving gloves, boots and hoods, that are able to protect a diver’s extremities from low or high temperature, or from the risk of injury near abrasive surfaces or of being stung or bitten by various marine creatures. Secure helmets, diving chain mail or even diving cages are also available for divers who need added protection when engaging through extremely dangerous waters.
To move as easily as possible through water, especially at greater depths and in areas where obstacles could pose significant difficulty, equipment such as buoyancy compensators and diver propulsion vehicles are also used. A backplate is one of the simplest, most practical pieces of scuba diving gear designed to hold tanks and buoyancy controlling devices, while maintaining the diver’s maneuverability through deeper areas. Also, various measuring devices, such as compasses for underwater navigation, as well as depth gauges and dive computers, offer divers all the information they need to stay on track. Scuba diving equipment for making it easier for you when exploring the ocean can be as diverse as fins, for effective propulsion, diving weighting systems to properly counter neutral buoyancy when needed, and diving flashlights for easier navigation.
Scuba Diving BCD
Scuba diving BCD (buoyancy control devices) are available in a number of different varieties, from simple back-mounted gear, such as the wing style BCDs, to more complex systems designed for high accuracy. The latter may include different types of technical diving systems. Whether used for recreational scuba diving or underwater photography, these devices may be some of the most essential safety and convenience measures for deep ocean divers.
A scuba diving BCD is generally designed to compensate for buoyancy and allow divers to avoid its effect when having to move on extremely accurate trajectories while underwater – or even stand completely still. BCDs work by using an inflatable bladder to establish neutral buoyancy underwater and positive buoyancy near the surface, when needed. These “hovering” devices will give you a virtual feeling of weightlessness while diving, making movement easier and reducing the amount of effort divers have to submit to. BCDs are often provided as part of entire systems or kits that control the water’s effect on your weight and buoyancy, while ensuring you can complete feats such as kneeling, sitting or even walking on the bottom of the sea with ease, or drifting comfortably to the surface after completing a dive.
There are a number of different BCD styles and designs of devices geared toward fitting any particular requirement that divers might seek to fulfill. Jacket-style diving BCDs are most popular for recreational divers, and there are BCD jackets specially designed for women. Back-mounted, “wing” BCDs and traveling buoyancy devices are made to be lighter and less difficult to manage, while there are also technical diving systems including harness systems that offer improved support and safety, as well as a higher level of accuracy when adjusting your movements. To make BCD systems more practical, a number of features are usually included as standard, such as adjustable straps, buckles and tank bands, expandable bladder and a low-pressure inflating mechanism.
Aside from considering optional features like D-rings, integrated weight systems or an alternate inflator regulator, when choosing a BCD, it’s very important to know exactly what you will need. Consider a jacket that suits your wetsuit as conveniently as possible in terms of size, while offering accurate, fine-tuned control for adjusting the inflator and deflator mechanisms. Ensure that all standard features are included and also make sure to check to see if the inflator hose is compatible with your existing scuba diving gear. Once you find a few scuba diving BCD designs that offer all these benefits, narrow your choice down based on comfort provided, and you’re all set to go.
Scuba Diving Cameras
If you are a photography enthusiast looking for the right scuba diving camera, you are certainly overwhelmed with the choice. However, choosing the right equipment should not be stressful, you must know that the perfect camera is out there for you, so here are a few aspects to consider when browsing the available products.
A scuba diving camera is a digital device that you can use underwater to take shots of the wildlife and formations around you while diving. You can either choose a camera designed especially for underwater photography or you can buy a camera designed for being used outside aquatic environments that comes with waterproof accessories. While the cameras that have been developed for underwater photography are usually compact and they come with inbuilt waterproof features, the other option will allow you to use the latest high-performance cameras during your dives. If you already own a camera, the easiest way to waterproof it is to look for a waterproof housing for it – if there are such accessories available for your model, you are good to go.
The two most important factors that should determine your choice are camera features and accessory characteristics. Here are the three basic camera types with some features to help you choose:
Compact cameras – these models are lightweight, making usage comfortable. Most models allow for shooting macro as well. Choose an advanced model equipped with a manual function, because the auto shooting function is not always suitable in underwater environments;
DSLR – the choice of many professional photographers, DSLR cameras can shoot perfect pics in low light conditions and you can use them to shoot macro and wide-angle as well;
Mirrorless cameras – coming in between the two camera types above, these cameras usually come with a lot of accessories that make them as versatile as DSLR devices, but much cheaper.
The cameras designed especially for being used underwater are waterproof, but if you choose a standard camera, you will need a waterproof housing for it. The most common materials used for making waterproof camera housings are polycarbonate or aluminum. Polycarbonate housings are more affordable, but they tend to fog the lens, while aluminum housings are more expensive, but they are rugged and durable.
There are a number of accessories that will serve you well underwater – lenses, filters, flashes, strobes, continuous lighting devices are all available in waterproof versions. When you select your scuba diving camera, make your final choice based not only on camera and housing type, but also based on the availability of accessories.
Scuba Diving Computer
Scuba diving computers are devices used by divers mainly to determine the time they have spent underwater and the depth of their dive and are, therefore, among the most important safety devices used underwater.
Before dive computers were invented, divers kept track of their dives using a number of devices – they needed separate dive watches, depth gauges and dive tables, and they needed to divide their attention among all the devices they were wearing. Dive computers integrate all these functions and many more, too, making dives not only much safer, but more comfortable as well.
Here are the basic functions fulfilled by scuba diving computers:
Tracking nitrogen uptake and elimination – dive computers monitor the diver’s decompression status to help avoid decompression sickness, a condition caused by too rapid ascent from too deep;
Tracking depth and duration – to be able to dive safely, you need to know exactly the depth you are currently at and the time you have spent underwater;
Calculating decompression stops – your dive computer will also tell you how many stops you will need to make from your current depth to be able to avoid decompression sickness.
Dive computers vary considerably in terms of functionality, so here are a few of the additional features you can choose with your device:
Air/nitrox integrated – a function that will inform you about how much gas you have in your tank;
Compass – not a basic feature, but certainly a very important one. Advanced computers equipped with a compass function will allow you to replace your separate compass, informing you accurately about which way you are heading;
Audible signs – many computers use buzzers to warn divers that they have missed a decompression stop, that they have exceeded the safe depth or that they are ascending too fast.
Here are some factors to consider before you make your final choice:
Information display – dive computers come in many forms, allowing you to choose from wrist-watch, wrist-mount or console types;
Level of complexity – some dive computer interfaces are self-explanatory, while others require more experience on the side of the user;
Display type – you can choose to have multicolored displays that highlight important information or simple displays. Some devices use large fonts on the display, while others require really good eyesight to read the information, but are able to display more on one screen.
Keep these aspects in mind and choose your scuba diving computers wisely, to ensure your safety and comfort during your dives.
Scuba Diving Ear Plugs
Scuba diving ear plugs are not absolutely essential, but certainly very useful components of any diving gear. While submerged into water, divers are exposed to increased pressure – pressure that is much easier to equalize with the help of the right ear plugs. The other important function of these special plugs is to prevent salt water from entering the diver’s ears, thus reducing the risk of ear inflammations and ear infections and increasing diving comfort as well.
The ear plugs designed for being used underwater are somewhat different from standard earplugs. While underwater, the ear is exposed to increased pressure – therefore, these special plugs are able not only to keep the water away from your ear canal, but they are also fitted with a vent that starts working under certain depth and it allows some water to enter the ear in order to facilitate equalization. The vent is a very important component of the underwater ear plugs. You should never use solid, un-vented plugs when submerged because they are not able to equalize pressure and they can cause irreparable damage to your ears.
The special vented construction of scuba diving ear plugs not only helps with equalization and prevents water from penetrating into the ear canal – these little gadgets have several other important functions as well:
They prevent debris from entering the ear;
They store the heat coming from the head, thus keeping the ear warm and preventing thermal shock;
They keep earwax in the ear canal, which prevents the exposure of the ear’s tissues to salt water;
They allow sound to penetrate the ear, so you don’t have to dive “deaf”, thus reducing the risk of getting disoriented underwater.
Make sure you choose ear plugs that are equipped with the special valve and are suitable for being used not only for swimming, but for diving as well. The best ear plugs are made from special, hypo-allergenic materials, so that you don’t have to worry about developing an adverse reaction to the alien object you put into your ear. However, you will still have to consider the size. Underwater ear plugs are available in several different sizes and you must choose the size that is the most comfortable for you and fits your ears snuggly. If your scuba diving ear plugs are too large, you will not be able to put them into your ear or they will start to hurt you after a while, and if they are too small, they will simply not do their job anymore, so getting the size right is very important!
Scuba Diving Fins
You can choose to dive bare-footed, but floating underwater with scuba diving fins is much more efficient and much more comfortable, allowing you to enjoy the scenery around you to the fullest, while also saving you a lot of energy.
When you are trying to propel yourself forward in water, you will have to counter the resistance of the water. The larger the surface you are using to push the water back, the more efficient your advance. While pushing against the water with your bare legs can be relatively okay as well, using a pair of fins in order to increase the size of the pushing surface translates into boosted efficiency and less fatigue.
Fins will give you a number of benefits – here are the most important ones:
Wearing the right fins can increase your speed with as much as 50%;
They make it possible to reach greater depths faster;
The channels you find on the surface of the fins will help you keep your direction or change directions more easily.
In terms of style, there are two basic fin categories:
Full foot fins – these fins look like slip-on shoes with a large extension in the front. They are the preferred choice of many divers because they are worn bare-footed, without requiring the diver to wear dive boots, and they make movement under the surface very efficient;
Open heel fins – these types are fastened onto the foot with a strap at the heel and they are usually worn with dive boots. You can wear them with really thick boots as well, making the fins suitable for cold water diving and making it more comfortable to enter and exit the deep waters from rocky or stony shores;
Fins are varied in terms of blade shape as well:
Paddle blades – these fins come with undivided blades, making underwater movement very efficient;
Split fins – these blades are separated into two parts and they make kicking under the water easier and less tiring;
Fins are available with various extensions and accessories as well. Vented fins, for example, are equipped with a small valve that allows some water to penetrate and then to leave the fin, making less powerful strokes more efficient, while there are scuba diving fins that come with removable blades or spring straps to increase comfort.
Scuba Diving Flashlight
Scuba diving flashlights are used in a variety of shapes and sizes to supply divers with adequate light intensity, in order to ensure proper underwater visibility. Scuba diving flashlights are, therefore, meant to be bright, to offer increased visual range, and to last as long as possible, so that deep ocean divers will never have to deal with the inadequacies and dangers of lacking visibility while exploring the deeper reaches of the ocean.
Dive lights are essentially sources of light – usually operating based on electricity – so that divers can increase their visual range during deeper dives. Below a certain point, even the brightest sun rays cannot penetrate the thick layers of the ocean. This is precisely why dive lights are needed in most cases. Also, divers commonly use them when exploring underwater caves or taking color pictures. Since the water tends to absorb the longer wavelength light frequencies (such as red or yellow), special dive flashlights can be used to compensate and ensure that photographs can be taken in full color.
There are three main types of diving flashlights, two of which are highly essential for diving safety: primary dive lights and secondary dive lights. The primary ones are used as the main source of light that divers rely upon while descending into the darker depths of the ocean, while secondary lights are normally carried in order to provide a backup – in case the primary light fails. The quality and reliability factor associated with these dive lights and the need for a secondary light are essential for diving into caves and shipwrecks, where navigation is made even more difficult by the limited amount of available space. A third type of flashlight that is not essential for safety is the video light – designed to be usually small and manageable and to provide adequate viewing quality for underwater photographs and videos.
Choosing a proper scuba diving flashlight is not easy. While it obviously needs to be waterproof and to offer stable performance at high pressures, it also needs to be overall lightweight and manageable, while featuring a strong and dependable power supply, such as a high powered lithium-ion battery. The maximum depth of your new dive light is extremely essential, as it gives you the largest depth where the diving light can still operate, and allows you to choose only the lights that are suitable for your diving needs. The best scuba diving flashlight is one that offers a stable, homogenous and powerful luminous flux, while maintaining power consumption at a minimum.
Scuba Diving Gloves
Scuba diving gloves are among the most important components of your diving gear. Proper underwater hand protection is important not only in order prevent injuries resulting from touching or rubbing against edgy or rough surfaces, but also because you need to prevent heat loss through your hands in order to maintain the dexterity to use your diving equipment. Therefore, wearing the right gloves is absolutely essential for safe and comfortable dives.
Diving gloves are all made from neoprene materials, but they vary wildly in terms of heat retaining qualities. Some gloves are made from thin neoprene and are more suitable for warm water environments, where you don’t need so much thermal protection. If you are planning to dive in cold water, however, you should choose thicker gloves designed to protect you against lower temperatures. Choose gloves that are 2-3 mm thick for warm waters, but go for 5 mm neoprene if you will dive in waters colder than 20 degrees C (68 F). However, be warned that enhanced thermal protection comes for a price – the material that cold water gloves are made from being thicker, you will have considerably less dexterity when wearing your gloves.
Besides thermal protection, there are other aspects you should pay attention to when selecting the most suitable gloves:
Seams – seamed gloves are less watertight, so make sure you go for gloves with liquid taped seams or items that are stitched;
Choosing the right fit – the special material used in scuba diving gloves expands in the water, so choose gloves that feel a bit tight when you put them on outside the water. Most manufacturers use their own size charts, so consult the charts before you choose your gloves;
Secure fastening – some gloves come with straps that allow you to tighten them more securely around your wrists, thus providing more comfort;
Sturdiness with extra grip – choose gloves that have an additional grip layer on the palms, as they are more resistant to abrasion.
You can purchase your gloves from dive shops, stores that sell sporting equipment and from online shops as well. The scuba diving gloves are probably among the cheapest components of your diving gear, but if you are a beginner and you don’t know whether you will become a regular diver, you can rent your gloves before your dives from a local dive shop and buy your own later.
Scuba Diving Goggles
Scuba diving goggles, also known as diving masks, are essential components of any diving gear. No matter where or how deep you are diving, you need goggles not only to protect your eyes, but also to enhance you vision, thus making your dives more enjoyable.
The underwater world is governed by laws of physics that are different from the laws that govern the world outside the water. Light behaves in a completely different way under the surface of the water, making the objects you see down there look closer and larger that they are in reality and blurring your vision. Scuba diving goggles are fitted with special lenses and they create a pocket of air between your eyes and the lens, too, thus eliminating much of the distortion you would experience without the mask. This way, goggles not only make the dives more pleasurable and provide suitable protection for your eyes, but they also help correct hand-eye coordination issues, making your dives safer.
Good goggles fit well, without leaking or pressing against your face too hard, and they also provide the widest possible viewing angle. Besides these basic features, there are a number of other qualities that define a good pair of diving goggles:
They have lenses made from special, resistant plastic material or tampered glass;
They come with a flexible double skirt made from comfortable and durable material – you can choose rubber, but it hardens and deteriorates over time, so the best choice is silicone;
They feature an enclosed nose with finger pockets around to allow you to equalize the pressure you are exposed to underwater;
They have adjustable straps for easier and more secure fastening.
The only way to decide whether a certain mask design works for you is by trying on the goggles – here are a few tips about how to do it:
Hold the mask to your face with the strap hanging down in the front, then breathe in through your nose – the mask should hold into place;
Check the skirt – it should rest on your face securely and evenly;
Strap on the mask to check whether it fits, indeed;
If you have the possibility, simulate wearing the goggles underwater – try on your mask with a snorkel and a mouthpiece or with a regulator;
Move your head and your eyes around to see whether you have blind spots or to check for components that could disturb your vision underwater.
Don’t despair if the first pair of scuba diving goggles does not fit perfectly – there are so many models and designs available that finding the perfect fit is only a matter of time, so you must not settle for anything less than perfect.
Scuba Diving Helmet
Divers have been using a scuba diving helmet since the 17th century, and professional divers, as well as diving enthusiasts use various types of modern helmets today as well. The classic image of a diving helmet is that of a round, sturdily built metal helmet with a hermetically sealed transparent window allowing divers to observe the underwater environment. Modern-day helmets have become significantly more lightweight than their predecessors and are also easier to use than professional grade helmets, allowing them to be used by virtually anyone who has at least a basic understanding of the diving process.
A diving helmet is generally used by professional divers who need to maintain constant communication with the surface, or are required to perform dangerous feats that wouldn’t normally be easy (or even possible, in some cases) to perform without specialized scuba diving gear. Deep water diving in areas where the depth, water pressure and temperature are at extreme levels also requires the use of a helmet. Since properly designed helmets are quite light and offer excellent protection and ease of movement, they can also be practical assets when it comes to exploring areas and habitats where divers need extra protection to avoid being bitten or injured by dangerous sea creatures.
Standard copper hat diving helmets are designed to be secured by strong bolts, while also offering proper neck protection. These are the most popular, heavy and highly protective types of helmets still in use. Lightweight helmets are easier to manage and are generally built from materials such as fiberglass or light metal. Examples include Kirby Morgan, Radcliffe and Gorski helmets. Finally. “air hat” free-flow helmets are a secondary design developed in 1968 and still in use today. They are considered the most practical and convenient alternatives to standard and lightweight helmet constructions.
There are many benefits to having a scuba diving helmet. First of all, it is designed to isolate the diver’s head entirely from the water, eliminating the chance of ear injuries or impaired vision. The helmet offers a perfect visual that allows divers to examine and explore the underwater world in perfect detail. Most importantly, helmets remain in place and continue to supply the diver with life giving air, even while he/she is unconscious. Also, a diving helmet allows for convenient communication with the surface and with other divers. Wearing a scuba diving helmet is generally not of significant necessity for most recreational divers, but if you’re serious about achieving the best results and enjoying the highest level of safety while scuba diving, it can be a helpful addition to your scuba diving gear.
The choice of design and functionality depends on your needs, but you must always pay special at how it fits: you will want a snug fit so that you won’t be in any danger it will pop off, but it shouldn’t be too tight either. Also, you will also want plenty of padding for increased comfort and safety, as well as high quality lining. Finally, make sure you can handle the weight of your scuba diving helmet and that it has an even weight distribution, so that it doesn’t disturb your balance.
Scuba Diving Knife
Your scuba diving knife can save your life underwater. Though knives are not mandatory components of diving gears and they are not made to protect you against large and dangerous creatures of the water, these special devices designed for being used underwater can help you solve potentially life-threatening situations such as getting entangled in seaweed, fishing nets or fishing lines, and can be used to grab the attention of other divers in your company in case you need help.
Dive knives are relatively small devices that are made from durable, lightweight and corrosion-resistant materials such as titanium or stainless steel and have a sharp edge that makes it suitable for cutting almost anything that can cause you trouble down under. To be able to attach the knife to your gear, you need a sheath for it – the best choice is a sheath with a retainer if you want to wear your knife on your buoyancy control device, or a strap, if you prefer to attach the knife to your arm or your leg. Some knifes come with a metal handle that can be used as a hammer – it is a very useful additional feature, but it makes the knife a bit larger.
Dive knives come in several different styles – here are the most common types:
Regular knives – these tools have a sharp edge for cutting and a serrated edge that doubles as a saw;
Dive shears – these devices look more like scissors;
Z-knives – knives with a cutting hook at the end;
Dive tools – knives ending in a prying tool.
The most important factor in determining the size of your knife is the place where you will be diving – if you will have to travel a lot to get there, small knives are more suitable. The style depends entirely on your personal preferences – all styles are suitable for freeing yourself from entanglements, so the best way to determine which one to buy is by trying out several styles to see which one fits your hand. Evaluate the grip of the knife – if you usually wear gloves during your dives, make sure you try the knife with your gloves on. Mount the scuba diving knife where you are planning to wear it, then try taking out the knife from its sheath and then put it back several times to see how comfortable it is to use it and how fast you can take it out in case of emergency.
Scuba Diving Mask
The scuba diving mask is definitely the part of the diving gear you cannot do without. The mask not only protects your eyes, but it makes seeing under the surface of the water possible; therefore, getting a mask that fits you perfectly is an absolute must for any dive. However, the choice of masks is so overwhelming that you can surely do with some help – here are a few things you should know about different styles and features.
Scuba diving masks are available in many different designs. However, most of them share some basic features that characterize good masks:
the lens made from composite material or tampered glass developed for being used in low-light underwater circumstances;
the wide skirt that attaches comfortably and securely to your face and makes the mask water-tight;
the enclosed nose part that also fits snugly or the adjustable, elastic strap that you use to fasten the mask to your head.
Dive masks share the basic features above, but they present wide variations in terms of style – here are the most common types:
Single pane masks, double pane masks and masks with extended view – single pane masks feature one large lens that runs in front of the eyes and on the sides, while double pane masks have a separate lens in front of each eye. The masks that provide an extended view have smaller panes on the sides, too.
Masks with or without purge – the masks fitted with a purge valve make it easier for the diver to clear the mask, while masks without purge have only a nose part and are somewhat trickier to clear;
Framed or frameless masks – most masks come with the lenses inserted into a plastic frame, but frameless models are becoming more and more popular for their flexibility and lightweight construction.
Dive masks vary not only in terms of style and level of equipment, but also in terms of the visual experience they offer. Light behaves in a completely different way under the surface of the water than it does outside of it and the eye can do with a little bit of extra help to be able to adjust to these circumstances. Many scuba diving mask manufacturers offer products that come with coated lenses that will improve your vision by blocking out certain light wavelengths and making others more intense. You can also choose a scuba diving mask with lenses tinted blue to sharpen your focus and make the color experience a more intensive one.
Scuba Diving Regulator
The scuba diving regulator is one of the most important pieces of diving gear you will need for a successful, safe dive. Its role is to regulate the air delivered either by the diving cylinder that comes with the scuba diving set you are using or a bank of cylinders on the surface. The regulator essentially makes the breathing gas manageable, so that vital air can be pumped at the perfect rate for the diver to breathe easily and have the gas pressure reduce to an overall ambient rate.
The regulator not only ensures that you remain safe and capable of breathing underwater, but also adjust the amount of air supply you receive throughout your dive, making sure you know precisely how long you will be able to breathe safely, before oxygen levels get too low, and you have to return to the surface. Another aspect that makes the regulator extremely essential is the presence of a demand valve that uses the pressure created by the diver’s demand for breathing gas to adjust the actual pressure of the air supply.
The demand valve is probably the most important component of any diving regulator. It is designed to immediately detect when the diver begins inhaling and ensures that the right amount of gas is provided. This feat is accomplished through a pressure differential sensor that regulates a special valve, allowing it to open just as much as the pressure difference would require it to. The demand valve is essential in any scuba diving regulator, regardless of its design or the type of supply it provides.
Free-flow regulators are basic, high powered industrial grade gas regulators used for surface supply diving along with free-flow helmets. Due to their inefficient design, however, these types of regulators are rarely used. Instead, rebreather systems designed to recirculate the air flow are most often utilized for added effectiveness and longer operation. A number of different designs apply here, including ADV and BOV, as well as manual and electronically controlled addition valve designs. All these various types of diving regulator designs are operating on the same basic principles identified by Dr. Manuel Théodore as early as 1838 – principles that are still in use today, allowing divers to explore the deep ocean unhindered by water pressure differences or any other challenges related to the diving process.
Regardless of the regulator type you are going for, make sure it is comfortable. If you need to bite down hard to keep it from falling off, you might want to look for another model. If bubbles go into your face when exhaling, again, you might want to look for something else. Finally, make sure the hose on your scuba diving regulator is not too short, making you feel like it’s pulling at your head.
Scuba Diving Shoes
Scuba diving shoes are available in many different varieties and, while not mandatory, they are important items you will want for a perfect diving experience. When diving with open heel fins, choosing the right shoes will give you the level of comfort you need and choosing diving boots that have the right features and qualities can offer further advantages, including better freedom of movement and the ability to easily pass through obstacles and navigate sharp objects that could normally cause significant injury to your feet.
When trying to select the right scuba diving shoes, it is extremely important to first consider their specific features and find out more about what makes them both practical and comfortable assets. Thickness is the first quality you need to look for. Warmer waters will usually demand a thinner design, while thick boots are normally used when diving in cold waters. For shore diving, it’s also a good idea to use boots with a thicker sole, in order to avoid sharp rocks and other obstacles. Finally, higher tops for diving boots not only provide additional ankle support, but also ensure that your feet and ankles are properly protected when diving in colder waters.
There are many different varieties of scuba shoes, with equally diverse pricing ranger. Some boots offer increased protection from stray debris, and are perfect for diving in tighter areas, where your feet could easily come in contact with sharper rocks or reef formations. Other designs focus more on providing thermal support, so they are better for deep ocean diving or diving in regions where colder currents are predominant.
When choosing your preferred diving shoes, it is essential to follow a few basic steps, such as considering the style, construction and brand, instead of just going for a cheaper cost or a good-looking design. Size is the first feature to look into, and it’s important to remember that your diving shoes have to be comfortable, without being either too large or too small. Thickness and durability are second in line, while the style of the boots’ construction will help you determine whether the scuba diving shoes you want to buy are easy to put on – such as basic pull-on; finally, determining whether the material, shape and overall design will allow you to move more easily underwater is highly important.
Scuba Diving Suit
A scuba diving suit is a piece of garment worn by divers to protect themselves against the harmful effects they are exposed to underwater.
Dive suits are usually made from special neoprene material that allows a thin layer of water or air to penetrate among the layers of the material. The film of water or the layer of air is quickly warmed up by the body of the diver and the gas bubbles in the neoprene retain that heat, providing thermal protection to the wearer. The neoprene used in the suits is also very strong and durable, providing protection against cuts and abrasions.
There are three basic types of diving suits:
Wetsuits – used not only by divers, but by surfers and other water sports enthusiasts as well, these relatively thin and elastic suits are made from foamed neoprene and they are used in warm to moderately cold waters;
Layered systems – these suits have replaced semi-dry suits and they feature a layered design that provide maximum protection in cold water;
Dry suits – these suits work by trapping air, not water, inside the material they are made from. Being designed to keep divers warm in almost-freezing waters, dry suits are usually available only in full-length versions.
There are a number of factors that will determine your final choice:
The dive location – the temperature of the waters you will be diving in will determine the thickness of the suit. If you are planning to dive in temperatures above 29 degrees C (84 F), a 2 mm thick suit will work just perfectly; choose a 3 mm suit for temperatures ranging between 21-28°C (69-82 F), such as the Caribbean, but go for 5 mm thick material for colder waters ranging between 16-20°C (60-68 F) and for 6.5 mm or dry suits for waters that are colder;
Suit style – you can choose to get a full suit that comes will full-length legs and arms to offer complete protection against the water and the sun or a shortie-style suit that covers only the body and is therefore more suitable for warm waters; you can buy one-piece and two-piece suits, and you can choose between hooded models (usually the choice of cold water divers) and hoodless ones, too;
Finally, getting the best fit is of utmost importance. Your suit must fit perfectly, without being too tight or too baggy. If the scuba diving suit is too tight, it will not allow you to move properly, while baggy suits will let too much water in, failing to give you the thermal protection that you need.
Scuba Diving Tanks
Scuba diving tanks are the most essential part of a diver’s gear. These tanks basically have the role of keeping you alive while underwater, and their construction, durability and steady pressure are extremely essential traits and qualities that will help make your diving experience as smooth and convenient as possible. Diving tanks are generally made from sturdy, lightweight metal, such as aluminum, and are utilized by divers through the help of rebreather systems and diving regulators that are meant to offer stability and safety when it comes to the actual supply of breathing gas provided.
Diving tanks are most often made out of aluminum, but they can also be built from steel for added support, or in order to withstand higher pressures. The reason why diving tanks are made to supply air under high pressure is a simple one: a greater amount of lifesaving breathing gas can fit in a small tank, offering divers a handy, practical and easy to carry portable source of oxygen. To make sure your diving tanks are as easy to use and safe as possible, it is important to make sure they are made from high grade aluminum or steel, feature proper specification for the amount of time they can be used before the air supply is depleted, and are also fitted with proper harnesses.
The scuba tank is more than just a container with a lot of air under high pressure. It is a complete system designed to fit conveniently on the diver’s body, and to conveniently be attached to the diving regulator system, so there are never any issues or dangers during its use. Special valves and sturdy DIN screw thread or A-clamp/yoke connectors may be needed for that purpose. Additional accessories, such as scuba tank holders and mesh protectors, also have the role of keeping tanks securely in place and properly protected during each dive.
Scuba diving tanks come in all shapes and sizes, and their design is quite simple, yet extremely practical in offering divers the kind of air supply they can survive off of for several hours at a time. The tanks are made to be extremely sturdy, in order to withstand pressures ranging between 184 and 300 bars (2,670 – 4,350 psi). Depending on whether they are used as standard tanks carried by divers, emergency air supply or breathing gas supplied from the surface, the tanks’ capacity can range between as little as .5 liters and as much as 18 liters. Most of the time, quality scuba diving tanks are fitted with air; however, in some instances, other types of breathing gasses are also added to help counter the problems created by regular air supplied under high pressure underwater environments.
When choosing a tank, capacity is important, of course, as the more air you get the better, but more capacity means bigger size and increased weight too, so keep these aspects in mind. Your body size and strength will determine how big “too big” is – thus, always try on the scuba diving tanks before selecting one.
Scuba Diving Watches
Modern scuba diving watches combine attractive design with functionality – these stylish pieces tell you exactly what time of the day it is and they also provide important dive-related information in an easy to read manner. What’s more, some of them can be used as complete dive computers, too.
You will be using your dive watch underwater, so the most important feature you should look for is water-tightness. Most watches are depth rated, which means that they stay water-proof only to a certain depth, usually around 300 feet, but most divers will not go that deep, so depth rating should not be a problem.
The other feature you should look for is quick time reading. The display you should allow you to find out easily about the time elapsed since you started the dive – analog watches usually display elapsed time on the bezel, while most digital watches come with a Stop Time function.
There are a number of features that make usage and readings on the watch easier:
- Look for a watch that comes with a strap or a special bracelet extension that allows you to wear it over your suit;
- Some watches feature illuminating displays – they are easier to read in low light;
- Some scuba diving watches include functions usually available only with dive computers – these watches will have thermometers, depth gauges and compasses, but they are usually more expensive;
- Self-wind watches or items that use solar power make usage even easier.
When it comes to choosing your timepiece, there are so many designs and styles available that there is no definitely good or bad choice – it all comes down to your personal preferences and needs. You can choose a watch with analog display or you can go for a digital item; some watches are bulkier, others are sleeker; you can choose to buy a watch that functions as a standard timepiece, but is equipped with features that make it suitable for being used as a dive watch, too. Choosing a dive computer that can be used as a watch is also an option.
Scuba diving watches are available in a very wide price range as well – some high-end watches can cost a small fortune, but there are inexpensive watches of impeccable quality, too, so you can find a suitable item even if you are on a tight budget.
Scuba Diving Weights
Scuba diving weights and weight belts are primarily designed to provide the diver with a simpler way of counteracting the buoyancy difference produced by various other types of diving equipment, such as diving cylinders and diving suits. These systems are meant for divers who need to compensate for their weight and composition, in order to be negatively buoyant at the end of the dive. This ensures that, once the oxygen supply is depleted, neutral buoyancy can be stopped when decompression occurs, whether as a standard or safety measure.
A well-designed weighting system will ensure that weights are fastened securely to the diver’s body through a dependable belt, and not even the quickest, most sudden movements can lead to the unwanted release of the weights. Controlling ascension through gradual, individual weight drops and ensuring that the total sum of the weight is properly distributed around the diver’s body for ease of movement are the most essential qualities of a reliable weighting system. Also, the average density and the constitution of the diver himself play very important roles in the selection of diving weights. When scuba diving in seawater, most divers easily reach neutral buoyancy with a lungful of air, while some will require additional weights, due to their larger size and overall lower density.
The weights themselves are generally packages based on lead that can easily be fastened to a sturdy belt and secured on the diver’s body. Choosing the right belt will generally depend on qualities such as size and the belt’s ability to naturally conform to your body. Features such as double needle seams and heat sealed material edges for the belt will allow you to benefit from perfect strength. Also, the best belts are designed to be neither too flexible, nor too fragile, so that they can offer a tight, secure fir while also remaining quite comfortable overall.
Quality scuba diving weights are designed to offer perfect control for divers to move underwater. Weights provided with a quick release mechanism can even be used as an effective and practical safety measure, in case you need to get to positive buoyancy faster and reach the surface as quickly as possible. Buoyancy control is essential, and it is also important to fine tune it with the help of the weights so that everything can be as smooth as possible. This will reduce the risk of decompression sickness and allow the diver to gradually and comfortably reach the surface with ease. Finally, scuba diving weights are also designed to fit snugly against the diver’s body, both for the purpose of comfort and to avoid unwanted inconvenience related to balance and buoyancy control.