Humans can’t remain underwater without a minimum adaptation tools that help us to breathe, see, swim without much effort or keep our body warm. So, if we want to expend some time swimming around this unnatural habitat for us we need some diving equipment. But don’t worry, as we explain on a previous post this gear is no longer all that heavy and expensive stuff that used to we long time ago.
Basic scuba gear
Depending on where we plan to dive and its environment, we will need different equipments. For example, it’s not the same dive in Thailand with a water temperature of 28 oC than do an immersion in Canada. Also, the personal conditions of each one can require special considerations on choosing your diving equipment.
However, there is basic equipment that everyone will need.
Mask: you need it to be able to see what’s going on around you underwater. Our eyes can’t focus underwater and the mask creates an airspace to correct this problem.
Fins: eases your swim allowing you to use your legs and keep your arms close to your body helping on a better vision of what happens around you.
Snorkel: properly we don’t need it underwater but helps you to breathe at the surface, especially if you run out of air, you have a long swim to the boat or while you wait to be picked up.
Weight system: normally you will need it to help you swim gently downward, but not too fast. There are different systems to carry some weight but they need to be easy to release.
Gas cylinder: with high pressure compressed air (or enriched air) that you will use to breathe underwater.
Buoyancy Control Device (BCD): is a jacket that holds together your part of your diving equipment. You can inflate or deflate it to control your buoyancy.
Regulator: carries the air from the cylinder to your mouth as you demand it reducing the compressed air pressure to match your surrounding water pressure. It has an alternate air source, a submersible pressure gauge (SPG-that tells you how much air you have) and a low pressure inflator that supplies air to your BCD.
Dive computer: to check your depth and diving time and also helps to avoid decompression sickness by applying time and depth information to a decompression model.
Underwater compass: it will help you to navigate underwater, especially when the visibility conditions are not too good, and find your way.
Cutting tool: usually a knife that will help you on the uncommon event of getting entangled. If you are traveling or diving on a country with different regulations check in advance if knifes are prohibited.
Dive tables: to plan your dive and as a backup help in case your diving computer has any problem. The most popular one is the Recreational Dive Planer (RDP).
Signaling devices: visual and audible that will help the boat to find you in case of bad conditions, surfacing far from the boat or emergency.
Log book: where you will register all your dives. It is necessary to prove your experience to enroll in some courses or diving trips.
What to choose?
In future posts we will write about each diving equipment individually providing more information and some recommendations. However, you always have to keep in mind four general criteria when you selecting your scuba gear:
Safety: buy certified products form reliable manufacturers and choose always according the conditions of the diving sites.
Comfort: you dive for fun, not to worry about that fashion mask that not let me see what happens next to me or anything in your equipment that discomforts you.
Try it: or almost get some extra information about the product on internet forums and blogs and talking with any one you know that already try it out.
Service available: buying your equipment online usually helps you save some money, but remember that diving equipment needs to be served and revised periodically and it’s always better to get it done close to your home.