Scuba diving is an exciting form of underwater diving in which special equipment is used to allow an individual to continuously breathe.
Many other forms of diving require the diver to hold their breath or have a cord supplying them air (known as surface-supplied diving); however, these forms of diving can often be dangerous and restricting. Scuba diving is much easier and much more relaxed, it also grants the diver more freedom as they aren’t tied to any cords.
Throughout this article we’ll be looking at the special equipment that makes scuba diving so great, we’ll also be giving a few recommendations of manufactures to ensure you purchase only the highest-quality gear.
What Gear Do You Need?
The type of scuba diving gear you need will depend on where you’re diving and what type of diving you’re doing. In most cases, you will need a different set of scuba gear when diving in different temperatures such as tropical water or cold water. Listed below is the equipment you will need and every serious scuba diver should own.
Mask – This piece of gear is pretty self-explanatory, it’s simply the mask which covers your eyes and nose. There are many options you must take into consideration when choosing an appropriate mask but above all make sure that it is of high-quality and a good fit. A good method to ensure that you are getting a proper fitting mask is to place the mask onto your face (without using the straps) and inhale, if the masks stays in place then it is a perfect fit!
Fins – These provide a larger surface area around our feet which helps you move around in the water using only the muscles in your legs. There is an abundance of different features available and so it might be best to ask your local dive shop to help you find a pair which suits you best.
Exposure Suit – These are often referred to as simply wet-suits, dry-suits, or body-suits. There are different types of suits for different temperatures of water, for example body-suits are used in tropical water. The suits also help to protect you from any burns, scrapes, and scratches so make sure to invest in a high-quality exposure suit.
Dive Computer – This is a very important tool as it tells you how long you have been diving and how far down you are. It’s crucial to keep within certain depths in the water as failing to do so can result in decompression sickness. When choosing a dive computer ensure that the product has a display that is easy to read and also has a low battery warning.
Tank – Your scuba tank holds the compressed air which you will be using as your oxygen supply. If you plan to do a lot of diving locally then a good tank will definitely be a worthwhile investment; however, if you plan to do a lot of traveling, it might be more economically sensible to rent one upon arrival at your destination. When choosing a tank, you generally want to pick the largest one you can find, but ensure that it is comfortable and easy to carry. It might also be beneficial to dive with enriched air nitrox.
Regulator – The regulator is used in order to regulate the high-pressure air which comes from your tank and adjust it so it is suitable for breathing.The regulator is an expensive piece of equipment and doesn’t have to be a specific fit, this means that many divers choose to rent them instead of purchasing their own.
Buoyancy Control Device – In basic terms, it is used to fluctuate your buoyancy, meaning that you can hover, ascend, or descend at will. This is also a piece of gear which is most often rented out as it is expensive and can be quite bulky. If you decide to purchase your own buoyancy control device, ensure that you have tried many and researched options before making the purchase as they each have their own distinct pros and cons.
Accessories: Above are the mandatory pieces of equipment which you will need before going on your diving expedition. However, there are many optional extras which you should take into consideration based upon your diving experience and the type of waters in which you plan to scuba dive in.
Accessories include dive lights, which are especially useful for night diving; a dive knife, an important safety device but may not be necessary depending on where you plan to dive; underwater camera so you can take photos of your expedition; and a dive float, used to tell boaters that you are diving in the area.
Gear and Equipment Recommendations
There is an abundance of gear available on the market today and this can often leave a new diver confused as to what specific gear to purchase. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask for advice from professionals such as those at dive shops. Above all, ensure that the gear you purchase is made by a reputable brand and fits perfectly.
In addition to the above, the amount of scuba diving gear you purchase will be dependent on your budget. Sometimes it’s best to continue renting equipment until you can afford to purchase the highest-quality products.
It’s recommended that you don’t compromise on the quality of a regulator, exposure suit, dive computer and many other pieces of equipment. Some of the most well-known, respected brands are Aeris, Aqua, Mares, Scubapro, and Oceanic. Be sure to look for these brands when shopping for your equipment.
In conclusion, there is a lot of gear that you must take into consideration before setting off on your scuba diving expedition. Each piece of equipment will have to be made from a reputable manufacture to ensure that it is high-quality, but you should also take note of how the equipment fits. Because of the amount of equipment you must take into consideration, ensure that you do enough research on each type of equipment and ask around at local dive shops if possible.
If you’re not sure which brand to choose for your scuba diving gear then you can always go to your local dive shop and try on multiple pieces from different manufactures; however, the brands listed above (Scubapro, Oceanic, Aqua etc.) are some of the best brands in the industry so it’s recommended to take a look at these first.