Scuba Gear is absolutely necessary to be able to dive, you will at least NEED:
- Mask – To be able to see.
- Scuba Regulator – To be able to breathe.
- BCD – To control your buoyancy.
- Fins – To propel yourself.
There is so much scuba gear on the market that the mind boggles. Where does a beginner begin, where does anyone begin. If you go and have a look at your nearest scuba diving gear outlet, you will see just what I mean.
Cost is obviously a major factor in choosing any dive gear and not always is the most expensive gear right for everyone. In fact you can get some real bargains if you keep your eyes open, especially these days with various reasonable dive outlets online.
The most singular important thing about purchasing dive equipment is to find the piece which fits you and is comfortable. Comfort is absolute paramount, with every piece you buy.
Being a dive instructor myself I know full well the consequences of a badly fitting mask or tight fins. It plays on the divers’ mind the entire dive, taking their focus off what they should be enjoying and learning. Take your time when choosing dive equipment.
Making sure it is comfortable for you and that it fits you well, and it will be a long-term investment for the type of diving you plan to do.
Scuba Gear You Need Depends on Where You Dive
There is so much scuba gear for varying kinds of dives; here we talk more about the regular scuba gear we use here in Phuket Island, Thailand.
As we are in a tropical climate we do not use as much dive stuff as say those diving in Europe for example.
As the water temperature is about 28/30 degrees here all year round, a full length semi-dry suit is not needed. Although we recommend that everyone uses some kind of wetsuit protection from the elements, it is unlikely you will get cold out here on a dive.
Most professional divers in Phuket wear either a short wetsuit of 3mm thickness, some do wear a 5mm suit, as they can be in the water the best part of the day and on the liveaboard, we do do, up to 4 dives every day.
Board shorts and a rash vest are very popular here in Phuket and can be purchased from any decent dive equipment out.
Using these two items have benefits too, you do not have the movement restrictions underwater that you may have using a more rigid wetsuit, also they dry very quickly, and as we all know, there is no joy in putting on wet clothes of any description now is there?
Scuba Diving Mask
When buying or trying on a mask this is the most important piece of equipment. Because if it does not fit correctly, you can spend the entire dive clearing the mask, and that is no fun, no matter how good you are at clearing it.
Try the mask on, making sure there is no hair inside the silicone seal and breath through the nose, making sure all the while no air is sneaking in, if air gets in, then so will water. Make sure it is comfortable around your nose and forehead areas.
There are many different kinds of snorkel on the market many many. I would strongly recommended you get one that clears water very easily indeed and if you are diving in the sea, where there may be swells, get one that does have a closed valve on the top, to stop any water leaking inside.
Buoyancy Control Devices come in many shapes and sizes. Out here in Phuket, we use the jacket style which is very easy to slip on and off. They have a few pockets for storage, with metal rings and other places where the diver can clip items on as not to lose anything, you can spend big money on a Bcd.
I recommend a mid-range priced bcd, making first sure that it is not too big for you. Bcd’s which are too big tend to move around a lot underwater and on the surface, making it a little awkward to control. Also the bigger the bcd, the bigger the air bladder is inside. Now a small woman, does not need an extra-large Bcd, as it not would look ridiculous and it is very difficult to control.
Usually regulators like the ones we use here, have four hoses attached to them. However, if diving in other countries where the conditions are different, you may need additional hoses like for a Dry Suit inflator hose etc etc…
A very important piece of equipment is the regulator, without it you cannot dive. It’s that simple. The reg allows you to breath underwater and the more expensive ones even make coffee in the morning for you (joke).
It is recommended that again you spend decent money on a set of regs and I would strongly say that buying a second hand reg although cheaper, is not always a good idea. Unless you know who has been using it and how they have been using it and where and when was the last time it was serviced.
There are more fins on the market today than probably anything else in scuba save maybe the masks section. They come in all sort of shapes and sizes. A colleague of mine recently bought a bright pair of tangerine orange fins, when I asked him why so colorful, he wisely told me, ‘so my divers can see me even in low viz.’
Usually there are two kinds of fins, the closed heel fin and the open heel fin. The closed ones are ideal for places like Phuket. The water temperature is very warm and close heels fins do not require the additional cost of booties and they are also easily taken on and off, also they are used in swimming pool too.
The open heel fin does need booties, thus creating that little extra cost and added weight to any baggage; also they tend to be stronger, and heavier. There are many designs to choose from and as they will not let you try before you buy, it is very important getting it right the first time.
Choose the strongest and most durable pair that propels you through the water with the greatest amount of ease.
Additional Scuba Gear
There are other pieces of equipment which we talk about in other articles but here is a short list of other scuba gear you may need:
- Dive watch – Used to monitor the dive time.
- Dive computers – Checks your depth and time underwater allowing you to stay within established limits.
- Weight system – Needed to offset any positive items you may use
- Dive light/ torch – Used to look dark places and crevices, and for diving at night.
- Dive knife – A handy tool as well as an important safety device.
- Dive flag/float – Keeps boaters away from where you’re diving.
- Digital underwater photo system – Used to take pictures of your adventures to share with your family and friends.
- Accessories – like underwater slates, lanyards and other items make diving more fun.
- Signaling Devices – Whistle, signal tube get attention of other divers or the dive boat from a distance.
- Scuba gear bag – Used to carry your dive equipment to the dive site.