Basics of Diving Equipment Explained
Basic SCUBA gear explained for Beginners
Scuba diving Phuket: If you are reading this article, then, like so many others, you have become intrigued by the wonderful underwater world of scuba diving. And like many others, you may have some apprehension by the apparent complexity of diving equipment.
The world of scuba diving can seem all too complex at the beginning. This is usually due to the diverse range of essential and non-essential diving equipment available that make this hobby appear so daunting… Never mind the fact that you will end up underwater!
For these reasons we are writing this article to give you the diving equipment knowledge to confidently start those scuba diving lessons.
Ok, so let’s talk about dive gear.
Main Diving Equipment
Masks – The scuba diving mask allows your eyes to see clearly underwater. Scuba masks start from as low as $20 and go up to over $1,000 for the full face mask with built-in communication system. As a beginner, a reasonable priced dive mask will be more than adequate. The most important feature is that the mask fits your face and you feel comfortable with the peripheral vision.
Diving Exposure Suit – They protect you from cuts and scrapes and retains heat so you’ll stay comfortable throughout the dive. The diving exposure suits are essentially thicker wetsuits than those used for surfing or wakeboarding, to offer protection from cold whilst underwater. Full exposure suits start around $60 and can go up to several hundred dollars depending on thickness and brand. In very cold waters, you may need semi-dry or even dry suits. If you are doing your Open Water Course in a cold environment, your Instructor will give you specific techniques how to use dry suits.
Snorkel – It let you breathe at the surface with your face in the water without wasting air from your scuba tank. They are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from as low as $10. For a few dollars more you can get a set which also includes the mask.
SCUBA unit. These are the components that make your SCUBA unit. SCUBA is the acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. SCUBA gear unit allows you to breathe underwater and to ascend, descend, hover or float at will. It consists of a regulator, tank, Buoyancy Control Device, harness and instruments. These items are available separately or as a set with a wide array of prices depending on size of tank, brand, technology used etc. The SCUBA unit is the main part of the diving equipment.
Dive Watches – These are simply watches used to measure the dive time. Many watches available from general stores can be used for this purpose providing they have the diving dial around the outer face and are, of course, water-resistant tested at 200m or 20 atm. These watches can start off anywhere from $70 and run into a few thousand dollars depending on brand and technology.
Weight and belts system – Offsets your tendency to float so you can descend gently underwater when you want to. They usually consist of a belt designed to hold specially designed lead weights. Both belts and weights can be found from $10 and are usually 800 gr. blocks.
Scuba diving fins – Allow you to swim using your powerful leg muscles. Fantastic to allow easy movement through the water, fins start from $40 and can go up to a couple of hundreds depending on design and brand. As a beginner, the most important factors are the comfort and fit. Consider the diving environment (cold or warm water, water entry and exit, sand, pebbles, boat dive) when you choose your fins.
Signaling Devices – Whistle, signal tube (SMB/DSMB) help you get the attention of other divers or dive boats from a distance. You deploy the SMB/DSMB during your safety stop and before you ascent to the surface. Surface Marker Buoys are very important when strong current exists or heavy boat traffic at the surface.
Non-Essential Diving Equipment
Dive Computer – Monitors your depth and time underwater to keep you within established limits of scuba diving as well of air supply for some high-end scuba computers. Dive computers can come in the format of gauge looking instruments or more conveniently in a watch format. They usually start from round $280 and can go up to over a thousand depending on the brand and the complexity of the software installed.Even if the dive computers are not essential, we highly recommend them for your comfort and safety during your dives. Many dive shops propose them as a rental service for around $5 to $10 per day.
Dive Lights – Used to look into cracks and crevices, and, of course for night dives. These can be in torch or spotlight format depending on whether you will be holding it or it be attached to the bottom of a boat. The price will start around $70.
Dive Knife – A handy tool as well as an important safety device – not used as a weapon. You can find them around $40. A good thing to have in case you get caught up in something such as fishing lines.
Dive Flag & Floating devices – Keeps boaters away from where you’re diving and act as markers. Dive flags can be mandatory in some countries, follow local rules and recommendations. Can be found from $30.
Underwater Camera – Take pictures and video of your SCUBA diving adventures and share them with your family, friends and on social networks. One of the most popular camera is the Go Pro Hero series, a fantastic camera for images and recording of your deep-sea adventures. These underwater cameras are available from a couple of hundred dollars. It’s a nice thing to have but not essential dive gear.
Accessories – Underwater slates, compass, lanyard and other items can be useful and let you communicate underwater with you dive buddy.
Dive Gear Bags – An obvious piece of equipment to put all your scuba diving gear in one place and carry it around.
Now that you know a bit more about the diving equipment, you can start your PADI diving course and learn more about them!
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