If you love exploration and adventure, scuba diving may be perfect for you. Of course, you can just jump in the ocean and go — you need to not only learn how to scuba dive, but also the proper equipment.
While we can’t officially certify you, we can get you started out on the right path with a scuba diving equipment list that highlights all of the essential equipment you’ll need for your new hobby.
Your Official Diving Equipment List
There are some very specific things that make scuba diving possible, along with a certification. If you’re new to scuba diving and thinking of getting your own equipment, you should know that it can get pretty expensive. You can rent the majority of the necessary equipment, but over time that becomes even more expensive than buying your own equipment outright.
To save you time and money, we’ve put together the essential scuba diving gear list:
A Dive Mask and Snorkel
It goes without saying that we’re not meant to see — or breathe — under the water. So, if you’re planning on getting into scuba diving or doing any underwater activities, you’re going to need a decent dive mask accompanied by a snorkel.
To avoid tight scuba goggles that hurt, find yourself a mask that fits properly and allows enough air space in front of your eyes. Trust us, it’s better to have your own rather than a spit-filled rental.
The snorkel part is optional — it’s usually recommended for beginners but it can come in handy saving you some air in your tank while you’re at the surface. Plus, you can use it for snorkeling breaks in between those dives.
A wetsuit (or Drysuit) and Gloves
Wetsuits are made of form-fitting neoprene that allows for a layer of water to get trapped between the suit and your skin. This is what keeps your body warm below the surface. Wetsuits also protect your skin from the sun as well as anything that can scratch or cut you. Think of your diving gloves as an extension of your wetsuit, since they serve the same purpose.
Drysuits are typically used in colder waters, keeping the body dry and trapping air between the layers. Unless you’re an experienced cold-water diver, you won’t need a drysuit.
Scuba fins give you better control over your movement in the water. They also elongate your body making you look bigger and more like a predator rather than prey.
Scuba fins come in two types: open-heeled and full-footed. The open-heeled fins are typically used in cold water while the closed-footed in warm. Both come in variants of blade and split fins.
A Scuba Tank
There’s no diving without your scuba tank since it’s your underwater oxygen supply. The tanks come in a variety of sizes and styles, made of steel or aluminum. If you dive frequently, it’ll be more cost-effective to purchase your own. Otherwise, you can rent them at any dive shop.
Your regulator goes hand-in-hand with your oxygen tank. The part which connects to your tank is called the first stage and the part which you breathe from is called the second stage. The regulator is what converts the high-pressure air into ambient-pressure air, making it possible to breathe the oxygen
When picking a regulator, make sure you find one that suits your needs and level of comfort.
A Depth Gauge, Submersible Pressure Gauge (SPG), and a Compass
Depth Gauge records both your current and maximum depth reached during your dive and the SPG keeps track of the remaining gas in your scuba tank. The compass helps you navigate your dive, which is crucial in water with low-visibility.
These gauges come in both analog and digital form, and you can purchase them together as a 3-gauge console.
A Dive Computer
Your Dive Computer measures three things: how long you’ve been under the water, how deep you currently are, and how long you can remain at that depth. Some Dive Computers can also keep track of how much air you have left in your tank.
These can be pretty pricey to rent, so if you’re a frequent diver it’s best to purchase one.
A Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
Also referred to as a Buoyancy Compensator, your BCD is what keeps you at sea level. In other words, it keeps you from floating to the surface as well as sinking to the ocean floor during your dive. Even though it’s referred to as a device, it’s actually a vest that can be inflated or deflated to manage your buoyancy.
Your BCD also has straps and pockets to help you secure all of your scuba diving equipment.
The Non-Essential Essentials
Now that we’ve got the essentials out of the way, there are few more things you may find essential to your next dive:
- An Underwater Camera —There are some amazing things you’ll see on your dive that will make you wish you had one of these.
- Tank Bangers — These are made from hard pieces or elastic and wrap around your tank. If you need to get your dive buddy’s attention, you simply snap it against your tank.
- Dive Knives —These come with a serrated edge or a sharp edge, and they come in handy if you get tangled in a fishing line or underwater plants.
- Defogger — Rather than spitting in your mask before each dive, a defogger (or baby shampoo) comes in handy to keep your mask from fogging up during your dive.
- Dive Lights — These lights can provide necessary light when cave diving, night diving, or exploring under-the-sea crevices.
- A First Aid Kit — Keeping a first aid kit is just smart when embarking on any type of adventure. Especially with diving, anything can happen.
You can dive without these items barring the first aid kit — which should obviously remain on the boat. Of course, once you begin to add them to your dives, you won’t be able to dive without them.
Don’t Forget Your Sunscreen
Now that you know the diving equipment list items, you’re ready to scuba dive. Just as a reminder, water won’t protect you from the sun’s rays — so lotion up before getting out there.
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