It is not advisable to buy scuba diving equipment if it is a one time adventure. Even if you plan on going back a year later, it is safer and more economical to rent rather than buy. If you are a regular adventure seeker or you want to be a professional scuba diver or instructor, or you are looking for a career in marine life photography, then it is a good time to purchase your own scuba gear.
First of all, you should be aware of the names of different equipment as most of us use only acronyms or slang names of our diving gear. Shortened terms are very common in the diving culture. To shop for your very first set of equipment, it’s a good idea to know at least the basics of each piece of equipment to dive safely. So, today let’s learn how to buy the right scuba diving equipment.
Most divers wear wetsuits to protect skin and keep their bodies warm. Some scuba divers refer to their wetsuits as ‘spring suit’ or ‘shorty’ (short wetsuit), ‘steamer’ (long wetsuit) or ‘wetty’. Don’t get confused.
A neoprene wetsuit is a lightweight rubber wetsuit known for its great thermal retention. It does not allow the flow of water through the wetsuit.
If it is a sunny, shallow reef dive, choose a thinner and lighter wetsuit. You may need a thicker wetsuit for deep diving. The temperature of the water dictates the choice of a wetsuit.
Size and Fit
Before you spend a lot of money on a new wetsuit, rent one and test it in your pool. You can easily move freely in the water when you are in your wetsuit. So, to know if the suit is too tight, snug fit or good, you need to try it in the water.
Quality, fit, and appropriate thickness, your decision should be based on these three factors.
Buoyancy Control Device
Many divers use shortened terms BCD or BC for Buoyancy Control Device. The Buoyancy Control Device provides you with control and neutral buoyancy you need in the water. You can remain neutrally buoyant by inflating or deflating air into your BCD. It also serves the purpose of holding the scuba tank in place.
Your BCD must have the following features:
- Expandable bladder
- Oral inflation mechanism and low-pressure inflator
- Overpressure valve and deflator mechanism
- Sturdy back plate and adjustable tank band
- Adjustable buckles, straps, bands and releases
When you are deep in the blue, the pressure is very high. You need the most reliable regulator to breathe the air from the cylinder. A regulator has the following five parts.
It attaches the regulator to the tank. The air in the tank is at high-pressure. The first stage reduces the pressure to an intermediate pressure.
Primary Second Stage
This part goes in the mouth of the diver. There is a low-pressure hose that attaches the second stage to the first stage. This part is called the second stage because it reduces the intermediate pressure to ambient pressure required for breathing.
Alternate Second Stage
As the name implies, it is a back-up. Both primary second stage and alternate second stage serve the same purpose. However, the alternate second stage is used only when you have to share your tank with another diver.
Submersible Pressure Gauge and Gauge Console
This gauge tells you about the amount of air in your tank.
Low-Pressure Inflator Hose
This part of the regulator carries intermediate-pressure air from the first stage to the BC inflator.
Don’t skip a dive computer. It tells you about your depth and dive time. It tells you how long you can stay there.
Proper weighting plays an important role in achieving good buoyancy. Some divers use integrated weight system and some divers wear weight belts. You can carry weight in your BCD or wear a weight belt to get to the bottom.
Mask, Snorkel and Fins
You need a mask to see the beautiful marine life. Choose the right shape and size. The mask should fit properly.
With a snorkel, you can preserve air before and after your dive.
You can dive without fins, but you have to put more efforts to move swiftly and efficiently. If you are using fins, you do not need to use your hands to swim.
You can find a wide range of fins in every price range. To choose the right one, learn about the different types of fins such as open heel fin, closed heel fin, paddle fin, split fin, force fin, and flappable fin. Make sure that it fits properly.
Before you purchase your scuba diving equipment, you must join scuba diving classes to learn about diving and scuba diving equipment. You will not only learn the basics and advanced scuba diving skills but also try different types and sizes of scuba diving equipment. This will help you in choosing the right set.