The best way to explore our underwater world is to scuba dive! We recommend that you get qualified and make sure that you have the right equipment to make the most of your time underwater while staying safe. When shopping for scuba equipment the three main pointers you need to keep in mind are fit, comfort, and suitability. Take your time and visit your local dive shop to try out different equipment options and don’t forget to use this checklist to make sure that you have your essential scuba diving equipment ready for your next dive.
- Mask. One of the most important pieces of your scuba gear which allows you to see clearly underwater. Buy a mask that fits you comfortably and has adjustable straps and finger pocket around the nose to clear your ears.
- A snorkel is essential for your breathing while exploring near the surface of the water. It should fit in your mouth and strap to your mask comfortably. Buy a snorkel with a self draining valve which helps in clearing the water from the snorkel.
- Fins made especially for scuba diving comes in two varieties. The open heel fins preferred in cold water requires you to wear wetsuit boots before you fit your foot in the foot pocket. Adjustable straps make the fin a snug fit. Whereas full foot fins can be slipped over bare feet as they have unique foot pockets. Your fins choice depends on the location of your dive. Also, a number of blade shapes like traditional fan, whale-tail, split fins, are available in the market.
- Wetsuits and dry suits are the two type of body suits to choose from. The bodysuit keeps you warm underwater. Wetsuits come in short one pieces, full body suits, and two piece suits, they come with an attached hood and prevent water from entering the wrists and ankles. Knee pads, elbow pads, pockets are the desirable feature of a wetsuit. Dry suits are ideal for cooler temperatures as they come with watertight zippers.
- Gloves, hoods, and boots are the accessories that complement your body suit. They come in different styles and thickness to suit your temperature needs.
- The Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) is what makes you and your equipment float underwater. Whatever you wish to do underwater, float on the surface, kneel on the bottom, you need a BCD that not only regulates your buoyancy along with your weight system but also helps hold the scuba tank. Buy a BCD that fits your size comfortably over your suit, has adjustable straps, inflator deflator mechanism, and sturdy back plate. BCD with integrated weight system makes storing and dropping weight easy.
- The weight system helps a diver to descend into the water rather float on the surface. To achieve this there has to be enough weight to help you sink in. Right amount of well distributed weights allows tuning your buoyancy as well. The weight belts help hold the lead weights that come in various sizes and shapes.
- Scuba tank are compressed air cylinders that hold large volumes of compressed air in small yet strong containers. Scuba cylinders come filled with regular air, or nitrox mixed air, or a three gas combination. You can choose between steel and aluminium tanks. Steel tanks carry more air and add to the overall weight whereas aluminium tanks are more lightweight in comparison.
- The regulator is the piece of equipment in your scuba gear that transports just the right amount of air from the oxygen tank for you to breathe. A regulator is what that connects you to your scuba tank, BCD, submersible pressure gauge, and an extra mouth piece. Get advice on your regulator from a dive shop before you invest in one.
- Submersible Pressure Gauge (SPG) displays at all times how much air remains in your scuba tank so that you can finish your dive without getting too low on the oxygen. SPGs are either mechanical or it may be built in your dive computer. You need to have a SPG that not only fits securely but is also easy to read.
- The dive computer is an all in one gadget that helps you track your dives, dive depths and most importantly tells you how much of safe dive time you have left along with your air levels. Dive watches these days serve as backup timers too.
- Dive knife to cut ropes and tangling lines.
- Dive light to navigate and helps observe underwater world in better light.
- Scuba gear bags to carry around your scuba gears.
- Dive float and flags to notify that divers are below.
- Signalling devices like inflatable signal tubes, signal light and flashers, whistles, signal mirror, air horns etc.
- Slates and wet books for underwater communication.
- Mesh bags are handy to dispose any rubbish you find underwater.