Diving equipment: mask, snorkel, BCD, regulator, wetsuit, fins …
Scuba diving is an underwater activity that allows discovering the splendour of the aquatic landscape, and its rich flora and fauna. Before exploring the underwater world of the destination of your choice, it may be wise to properly equip and take advantage of appropriate equipment for more fun, safety and comfort during immersion. Some equipment is chosen voluntary by the diver; other equipment is required by the sports rules and part of the basic equipment. Diving equipment is expensive, purchases must be made advisedly, and therefore everybody should consider how long diving equipment will be used will you stop in a few weeks? Are you a real enthusiast?, in order to start the learning process with the own equipment.
Before adventuring into the depths
Before embarking on the great diving adventure, it is recommendable to try snorkeling first. Observing the seabed from the surface, it gives a first impression and feeling of how diving can be. The advantage of this hobby is easy access; it requires in fact very little equipment namely a snorkeling set fins – mask – snorkel, a signal device buoy … and UV protection with the help of a top, shorty or suit. With this few elements only you will learn to love the underwater paradise. Scuba diving requires a greater investment and specific training.
The equipment of diver
What are the basic equipment and accessories to practice scuba diving? For the beginning scuba diving equipment used for training sessions in the pool can also be used for diving in the sea, at least for a few dives. We will present the whole range for scuba divers as follows:
The basic material for underwater activities
To practice diving requires to be well equipped in order to profit at the utmost from boat trips or other aquatic trips. The scuba diving fins, used to move well balanced in the water and to stay on the surface; the snorkel, indispensable breathing accessory to keep the head under water and the mask for the perfect view under water. These are the three basic elements of a scuba diving, a snorkeler or a freediver… though the snorkel is not necessarily required in diving with tanks.
Concerning thermal protection, the choice will be either a shorty which is a wetsuit with shorts and short sleeves, generally used in the pool or in tropic waters, or a one-piece wetsuit for diving longer time under water. Although the water is warm in the beginning, you will feel cold after a while, same for the deep. The deeper you get, the more you are cold. There are different categories of diving suits: drysuits, semi-dry suits, wetsuit and material such as neoprene or tri-laminated… The different thickness depends on the type of diving and the water temperature. Beside the wetsuit, also socks or booties, gloves and a hood provide a thermal protection to the diver. Weight systems in diving belt and weights enable the diver to keep a good balance under water.
The specific equipment for the diver
For maintenance and budget reasons, the diving tanks providing the breathing air to the diver are often provided by clubs and diving centers, wherever your diving trip will go. No matter if day or night, a lamp or dive light quickly becomes indispensable to either better observe the underwater world, maintenance or your diving gear and, most important, for signaling. The scuba diving BCD Buoyancy Control Device allows the diver to go down, to stabilize, do dive, to go up and to remain on the surface by inflating or deflating the BCD. The diving regulator, which consists of a first stage attached to the cylinder and a second stage with a mouthpiece for the diver, transforms the compressed air from the tank to air of ambient pressure, ready for breathing.
Instruments and accessories
Most of the divers use instruments and accessories, which are more or less essential for a safe diving. Here we mention the dive computer providing depth, diving time and dwell time to respect in order to have enough time and air left to ascend security but also when you can take your next plane. In order to know how much air remains in the block, the diver use a pressure gauge, an instrument fixed to first stage of the regulator. For the orientation under water a diving compass is used. The buoy is mandatory for signalling to other people and boats on the surface the presence of a diver underneath.
Other accessories not mentioned here: diving knife, security whistle, octopus another second stage for safety reason, etc.
Once a diver decides to buy his own diving equipment, a waterproof bag becomes essential for transportation and storage of diving equipment and accessories. Some bags can be used to store the full equipment and others are designed individually for a specific product such as fin bags for long fins or regulator bags. It is almost impossible to resist the temptation to share the underwater impressions with your family and loved ones. Take photos and videos underwater for them and for yourself with the photo and digital video equipment namely a waterproof underwater camera, a camera, a waterproof case, flashlights and other accessories.
And for technical diving?
Dives called “technical” or “TEC”, require in most cases a specific material such as wetsuits for deep dives or long duration underwater, or even difficult access to ship wrecks or caves. The TEK diver can be equipped, for example, with a full-face mask, communication system, side mount BCD or wings, or even a rebreather… This high tech equipment provides more comfort to the diver, but requires also a particular training with corresponding certifications. The experience gained during numerous dives probably turns you into a TEK diver in the future… who knows?
Now, after having seen the essentials of diving equipment, it is up to you to find your personal equipment with the help and advice of professionals online or directly in specialized stores like dive shop.