Scuba Equipment 101
Scuba Equipment 101
Before you can start diving, you’ll need to purchase or rent the proper scuba diving gear. What you need will depend upon where you’ll be diving and what kind of diving you’re doing. Here you’ll find a basic introduction into the most commonly used equipment.
Masks allows your eyes to focus underwater by sealing water out and forming an air pocket. They are made from a tempered glass that is safer than regular glass but doesn’t fog up like plastic. Not to be confused with swimming goggles, they also feature an enclosed nose that enables you to adjust to different pressures.
A snorkel will allow you to breathe while swimming at the surface with your face underwater. This is useful when your tank is running low or you otherwise want to conserve your air supply. The scuba tank is part of your scuba unit.
The unit also includes a regulator, a buoyancy control device, and an integrated weight system. The regulator supplies you with air while the BCD and weight system enable you to float, rise, or descend while in the water.
Your exposure wetsuit helps the body maintain a comfortable temperature while diving. There are different styles to handle a variety of water temperatures. Scuba suits also help protect against cuts, stings, or burns.
To help propel yourself through the water more efficiently, you’ll need a pair of fins. Attaching fins to your feet provides a larger surface area for treading water so you can swim quickly using only your legs. They come in a variety of styles, sizes, and materials.
Using a dive watch will allow you to time your dives while a dive computer monitors your depth. Tracking these two factors helps keep the nitrogen absorbed into bodily tissue by breathing underwater at acceptable levels. Some computers are small enough to double as a watch.
A dive light can illuminate cracks and crevices or improve visibility for night diving. They’re also necessary when diving wrecks like the Vandenberg. Dive knives are carried for their utility and also to effectively free a diver who becomes entangled.
Another important piece of safety equipment is the dive flag. Some areas even require their use by law. They alert boaters to the presence of nearby divers and can be attached to a float dragged by the diver or visibly flown from the dive boat.
Signaling devices are carried to help get the attention of the dive boat or fellow divers. Spotting a scuba diver in the water can be difficult, especially in rough conditions. It is important to have at least one visible and audible signaling device on you at all times.
Now that you have all this stuff, you’re going to need a gear bag to carry it all in. Trying to make to do with an inferior bag will cost you in the long run with lost or broken equipment. Look for a sturdy bag with weight-supporting straps and large gauge zippers.