Scuba Diving For Beginners – 4 Items You Should Own

When you first start diving it might be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what equipment you should own, and what equipment you should rent. There are many different pieces of equipment that go in to a dive, but there are a lot of different options on what you can rent vs. own.

I recommend you read my article, Scuba Diving Equipment List – The Basic Setup, so that you have a better understanding of all the different pieces of equipment you will need to dive safely.

In this article on scuba diving for beginners, I will be reviewing the 4 items from that list that you should own yourself and where I recommend going to buy them.

Renting vs Buying Equipment

My advice to anyone who plans on making scuba diving a hobby, whether it’s on vacation one week a year, or once a month in your hometown, is to buy your own equipment. Not every piece of equipment, but the items that I believe are the most important for you to own.

One of the most important factors in being able to enjoy scuba diving is to make sure you are comfortable underwater. One way to accomplish this is to own your own mask, snorkel, fins, and dive computer.

By doing so, every time you dive you will have the same experience and feeling with these pieces of equipment. Sure, you could buy more gear and take all the guessing out of the equation. I think anyone who has been diving a while and plans to dive for much longer should ABSOLUTELY buy their whole setup.

However, if you are just a beginner I think it is smart for you to not buy the entire setup until you are more experienced. It is a large investment to make at the very beginning of your diving journey, so I hope to offer some advice on how to buy your first pieces of diving equipment.

Mask and Snorkel

I’ve never heard of any diver complain that their mask is “too nice”.

Ensuring that you have a high quality mask is very important for all divers, regardless of experience level. If there is one thing that I could go back and change about my first few dives, it would be investing in a high quality mask.

One of the most annoying things that can happen underwater is when your mask starts fogging or water keeps leaking in due to poor sealing. When you are 40+ ft. underwater, there is no stopping and going to the surface to fix it. You will be stuck with the foggy mask for the rest of the dive.

This makes it next to impossible to enjoy the dive because you can’t see very well and are missing out on everything going on around you.

So take it from me, don’t make the mistake of buying a crappy mask! Invest in a high quality mask and thank me later.

I also recommend buying a mask and snorkel together in a set. You don’t have to, but this way the fit is uniform and you don’t have to worry about possibly renting a terrible mask and snorkel and ruin your dives.

Fins

In addition to a high quality mask and snorkel, I also recommend buying your own set of fins. I know in the grand scheme of things they can seem not too important, but they are.

Fins allow you to move freely underwater. You want to be able to cover a lot of ground and feel like you have a large range of motion. Whether it’s for moving quickly or for control while squeezing in between large reef structures, fins are what will allow you to do this.

If you have your own set of fins, you know that they will fit your feet correctly underwater. If you rent them, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong: they don’t fit, aren’t comfortable on your feet, don’t work well for you, too short, too long, etc.

So invest in a good set of fins and give yourself the comfort of knowing that you will be able to move comfortably underwater.

Dive Computer

Dive computers are very important in making sure you are comfortable underwater. Many people, especially beginners, struggle with staying calm and feeling safe on their first few dives.

One way to overcome this is to have your own personal dive computer on your wrist. It attaches and looks like a watch, and can have so many different functions for diving. Your basic dive computer will tell you the following: current depth, required safety stop times, dive time, log book of past dives, timers, alarms, etc.

The higher price range you look in, the more functions the computer will have. However, they all accomplish the same goal: providing you with all the necessary information to ensure you are diving safely.

These can get very expensive, but ultimately you get what you pay for. However, if you are wondering about what price range you should look at to be most cost-efficient, I recommend looking in the $250-$450 range. I would advise you to stay away from purchasing a computer for anything less than this.

If you don’t have your own, you will rely on your diving instructor to keep you safe and keep track of the numbers. By having your own, you will feel much more in control of the dive which will allow you to relax and enjoy the experience even more.

Where To Buy These Items

There are several ways to buy the items listed above: a local dive shop or some big box retailers might have some (although I don’t recommend doing this). However, a very common way, and by far the most convenient, is to buy them online.

There are a few online scuba retailers that I support and trust. For these items specifically, House of Scuba and Dive Toy are the ones I recommend you check out.

They are both authorized dealers, have best-price guarantees, and offer a large selection of the top scuba brands in the world. They make it very easy to find anything dive related that you might need. Amazon is another great place to buy scuba equipment (I know, shocker), you can never go wrong with Amazon!

I won’t dive in (pun intended) to too much detail about how great they are in this article, but if you are looking to buy scuba equipment I highly recommend you click on the links above and check them out for yourself!

The First Step…

The nice thing about purchasing these items for diving is you will also be able to use them for snorkeling. I use the same mask, snorkel, and fins for diving as I do for snorkeling.

If you own these items and rent the rest of your gear, you will put yourself in a position to feel very safe and comfortable while underwater. The more experienced you become, the more gear you can purchase for yourself.

These items are a great first step in the journey ahead, and I highly recommend all beginners follow this advice.

If you have questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. Happy Diving!

 

 

Snorkeling or Scuba Diving? Which Should You Choose?

There are so many different activities that you can do to enjoy and experience the beauty of the ocean. Surfing, wind surfing, free diving, boating, swimming, etc. The list could go on and on.

However, there are two that are similar and offer a glimpse into the underwater world: snorkeling and scuba diving. But which is better? Which should you do?

In this article I will be reviewing the differences between both and the pros/cons of each. My goal is to help you determine which you should consider trying.

What is the Difference?

Before I dive in (pun intended) to the details of each activity, I think it is important to outline the differences between the two. Although they may seem similar in concept, in reality they are two totally different activities.

 

Snorkeling (right picture) is when you are at the surface of the water and are looking underwater breathing through a snorkel.

Scuba diving (below) is when you are breathing from an air tank, fully submersed underwater for an extended period of time.

This is the easiest way to tell the difference: If you see someone fully submersed and breathing from an air tank, they are scuba diving. If you see someone with just a snorkel and mask at the surface, with no air tank, they are snorkeling.

Just remember, it is impossible to scuba dive without an air tank. No air tank, no scuba diving.

Snorkeling Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • See the underwater world
  • Minimal equipment needed: mask, snorkel, fins
  • Cheaper than scuba diving: no certifications required, no large equipment costs
  • Easier to learn
  • Fewer skills required: Swimming is the only skill needed
  • Relatively low risk
  • Physical health, swimming is a good way to stay healthy

Cons:

  • Can only see everything from the surface. Scuba diving allows you to immerse yourself with underwater life
  • Not as thrilling or adventurous as scuba diving
  • You have to deal with waves. If the ocean conditions are rough on the surface, you can’t escape it
  • Can’t go during the night, you need to the sun to see what is beneath you!

Scuba Diving Pros/Cons

Pros:

  • Get an up close and personal experience with the underwater world
  • More adventurous and thrilling than snorkeling
  • Be able to breathe underwater for large amounts of time (it’s an amazing experience!)
  • Be able to escape rough water conditions on the surface
  • Feel weightless (literally)
  • Major stress reliever, increases emotional well-being
  • Overall physical health, swimming is a good way to stay healthy
  • Can go at night (with a dive light of course)

Cons:

  • More equipment is needed than snorkeling. Click the following link to learn more about scuba diving equipment: https://topscubadiving.com/scuba-diving-equipment-list-the-basic-setup/
  • More expensive: certification, equipment, professional guide, etc.
  • Harder to learn: Certification required (mostly…read the conclusion and you’ll see what I mean)
  • More skills required than snorkeling
  • Higher risk than snorkeling

And the Winner Is…

The answer is: there is no real winner. I know, lame right? Actually, both snorkeling and scuba diving give you an amazing way to explore the beauty of the underwater world.

If you’ve never done either, I recommend that you try snorkeling first. It is an easier transition to the ocean, a way to see how comfortable you are with breathing through a snorkel.

If you were to jump right in to scuba diving, you might be a little overwhelmed and intimidated by the whole concept of being underwater for a long period of time.

It takes some people a while to feel comfortable underwater, and others not long at all. It all depends on the person. That is why snorkeling can help you determine your comfort and enjoyment levels before jumping right in to scuba diving.

If you’ve tried and enjoy snorkeling, then I would highly recommend you at least try diving. There is a way for you to try scuba diving without actually being certified, it’s called DSD dives. If you want to learn more about how click the following link: https://topscubadiving.com/how-to-become-scuba-certified-everything-you-need-to-know/

I know some people who absolutely love the underwater world, but don’t scuba dive because they aren’t comfortable with it. THAT IS OKAY.

I’ve found that diving is more enjoyable for me because it’s a much more immersive and up close experience with wildlife, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy snorkeling sometimes as well.

Even though this is a diving website, and I prefer diving to snorkeling, both activities can reach the same goal depending on the person: To experience and enjoy the underwater world.

I would love to know your thoughts on the topic, so feel free to leave any comments or questions you have below. Happy Diving (or snorkeling)!

Types of Scuba Certifications: The Big 5

If you’ve ever wondered about what the hierarchy of scuba diving certifications looks like, you’ve come to the right place. You may or may not know that there are A TON of different scuba certifications you can earn once you complete the basic open water diver.

It is worth mentioning that there are various scuba certification agencies, but in this article I will be focusing on PADI, who I am most familiar with and who is by far the most popular in the world.

You can simplify the certification ladder into what I like to call “The Big 5”. These are the main certifications that divers can earn that open the doors to many other unique options.

In this article I will be going over the typical certification path that divers take, from beginning to advanced.

My goal is to provide you with an overview of the different types of scuba certifications without weighing you down with all the nitty gritty details. I will save those for other articles.

Open Water Diver

This is the entry level certification that EVERYONE must have in order to open the door to other classes that PADI offers. I won’t go into much detail on this certification here because in another article I lay out everything you need to know about it in great detail. So if you want to learn more and access the post, click the following link: https://topscubadiving.com/how-to-become-scuba-certified-everything-you-need-to-know/

Just to give you an idea of what it looks like, there are three main stages. Classroom learning, confined water dives, and open water dives.

Once you finish the initial book learning and test, you move into diving in a pool. It is in this stage you fist breathe underwater and begin to apply what you learned in the classroom. After you are comfortable with some various skills in the pool, you move on to the open water dives.

You will typically go on 4 open water dives either in a lake or ocean. Here the instructor will test you on various tasks and skills underwater. If you pass that, you earn the open water diver certification.

This is technically the only certification that you need in order to scuba dive. It doesn’t have an expiration date, so if you didn’t want to earn any other certifications the rest of your life, you would still be able to dive.

Again, if you are interested or want to learn more about what this process looks like, I recommend you read the article I mentioned previously.

Advanced Open Water Diver

This is the second step in the scuba diving certification ladder. The name might sound intimidating, but you don’t need to be an advanced diver to earn this certification. In fact, as long as you are at least 12 years old and have earned your open water diver c-card, you can enroll in this course.

The main goal of the course is to “advance” the scuba diving skills you learned previously. However, the structure of this course is very different. You have the ability to choose your own path to earning the certification and will work with your instructor to choose the dives you want to focus on.

So here are the main requirements: 5 adventure dives, 2 of which are required, and the other 3 you get to choose. The 2 required dives are: Deep Adventure Dive, and Underwater Navigation.

The other 3 dives you get to choose from a long list…scratch that…a VERY LONG list of adventure dives. There are too many to name but keep an eye out for an article going over some options available to you.

I really like the freedom this certification provides you because it allows you to focus on your specific diving interests. So if you want to expand your diving knowledge and skill set, the advanced open water diver course is the next step to take!

Rescue Diver

The next step in the certification ladder is the rescue diver course. Many believe that it is the most challenging of the courses offered, but also the most rewarding.

Anyone who is at least 12 years old and has completed the Underwater Navigation adventure dive (completed in the advanced open water diver course) can enroll in this course. You might also need to have CPR and First Aid training within the past 2 years, but you should talk to your instructor for more details.

The main goal here is to prepare you to handle both minor and major emergencies that can happen while diving. Being able to handle problems underwater will provide you with a whole new level of confidence as a diver.

Upon completion, you will be able to prevent and handle your own emergencies, as well as help others in those same situations.

The topics you will cover include: self rescue, rescuing unresponsive divers, rescuing panicked divers, how to help others with stress, emergency management, and emergency equipment.

Dive Master: Turn Diving Into a Career

Once you earn the rescue diver certification you might be able to work towards becoming a dive master.

The reason I say “might” is that along with the rescue diver c-card, there are a few other requirements you need to meet: 18 years or older, CPR and first aid training in the past 2 years, a medical statement signed by a physician, at least 40 logged dives to begin the course, and 60 dives to earn the certification.

The main goal of this course is to teach you how to organize and lead a variety of scuba diving activities. There are many different workshops and training sessions you complete in route to this certification.

This is a very well respected certification and is the first level of professional diving training. Upon completion, you will be able to turn scuba diving into a career, whether that is at a local dive shop or in some fancy tropical resort.

Master Scuba Diver: An Elite Group

This is the best of the best, a very small and elite group of divers. According to PADI, less than 2% of divers ever earn this rating.

In addition to earning all the certifications covered in this article so far, you will also need 5 specialty diver certifications and at least 50 logged dives.

This is no small feat, but that is no reason to not try at all. It is a valiant goal to have and along the way you will experience many amazing diving adventures.

Start Climbing the Ladder

I hope this article helped clarify the path you can take from the first step to the very top of the scuba diving world. There are so many different courses to take and skills to learn, there is always room for growth!

I promise climbing this scuba certification ladder will be infinitely more enjoyable than climbing the corporate ladder, so what are you waiting for? Whether you don’t have any certifications right now, or have a few already, there are so many more out there.

If you have any questions or comments related to certifications, feel free to leave it below. Happy diving and start climbing!

Scuba Diving Hand Signals Chart – Underwater Communication

One of the most frustrating things that happen while diving is when you are trying to tell another diver something but, well, you can’t because you have a regulator in your mouth (at least I hope you do).

If you don’t know what you’re doing you’ll end up staring at each other with wide eyes and a flurry of strange hand gestures.

I never really thought about this much until I actually started diving. I quickly realized just how hard it is to not be able to verbally communicate underwater. That is why what you learn when getting certified is so important, and why I am providing you with a scuba diving hand signals chart to give you an idea of what communicating on a dive looks like.

So How Do You Communicate Underwater?

As I mentioned before you won’t be able to communicate verbally once you begin your dive. Instead, divers rely on hand signals to communicate. There are some universal hand signals that 99.9 % of divers know and understand, and there are also some hand signals that are unique to certain dive shops or geographic regions.

One dive guide might have his/her own way of communicating something as opposed to the “standard” way you were taught.

Knowing the hand signals is one thing, but getting the attention of your buddy needs to be step one. If you can’t get the other person’s attention, the best way to do so is banging something against your tank. It shouldn’t be a violent motion, but gently using a clip or ring will create a noise loud enough for others around you to hear it.

Underwater Hand Signals

I will now go over a chart of basic diving hand signals to use underwater. These are directly from my PADI open water diver manual, and I highly recommend familiarizing yourself with each of these before diving.

It is very important for safety reasons to learn the basic hand signals to be able to communicate effectively underwater, especially in times of emergency. If something were to go wrong underwater, you need to be able to stay calm and know how to communicate what you are experiencing so your buddy will know how to help you.

 

*Pro Tip: The most common mistake I see new divers make is when their guide gives them the “Are you okay” sign, they respond by giving him/her a thumbs up. Save yourself from looking like a rookie and don’t do this!

In the diving world, this means a totally different thing than on dry land. So do yourself a favor and learn the proper signal… you will thank me later.

Communicating with the Dive Boat via Hand Signals

There are also a few hand signals you need to know in order to communicate with the dive boat. As you can see in the chart below, you really only need to know how to let the boat know if you are okay or if something is wrong.

You will use these signals right after you jump in the water from the boat. You jump in, turn around, and let them know if you are okay or if something is wrong and you need their help.

Other Signals

The charts that I have provided so far only go over how to communicate feelings or situations to other divers. But how do you communicate about what you are seeing? Like different types of fish or other sea creatures?

The answer is… more hand signals! Yay!

Divers use various hand signals to communicate what they are seeing underwater. Sharks, different types of fish, stingrays, sea horses, jellyfish, turtles, etc. The list could go on and on, but there is no need to memorize all of them. This is where the signals can change slightly depending on your guides preferences.

Before you dive your guide will tell you each of the hand signals that he/she might be using during the dive. As a guide, they know all the different types of wildlife that you could encounter.

There is no point in memorizing a hundred of them before you go because more than likely you will only need to know a few unique signals that your guide will teach you beforehand.

You Now Know The Language of Scuba Diving!

Congrats, you can now say you know another language (although I don’t recommend adding it to your resume)! All jokes aside, you should be proud knowing that you have a basic understanding of how divers communicate underwater.

If you’ve never been diving before these charts are a very useful resource to help you prepare for your first dive or certification class.

If you’re already certified and been on a few dives already, these charts should be a great review for you. It never hurts to go over some basics, especially if it has been a while since your last dive.

I hope this article helped answer some questions you had and hopefully you’re leaving here feeling a lot more comfortable with how to communicate underwater.

As always, feel free to drop a comment below if you have any questions. Happy Diving!

How To Become Scuba Certified – Everything You Need To Know

If you’re reading this article…well…CONGRATS! The fact that you are showing interest in scuba diving is amazing. One of the best decisions I have ever made was getting certified, it’s opened up so many doors for me and taken me all over the world. My goal is to provide you with the necessary information to make the certification process as easy as possible.

I know it may seem a bit overwhelming to think about getting certified, but it is actually much more simple than you think. In this article I will tell you everything you need to know on how to become scuba certified.

Discover Scuba Diving

If you are a little intimidated by the thought of registering for a scuba certification course, Discover Scuba Diving could be for you. It is a great way to experience scuba diving before actually being certified. I should know, as it was the first dive I ever went on. DSD allows you to dive in a pool, on a beach, or from a dive boat with PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) instructors.

You will be able to experience what it’s like to breathe underwater and if you’re up for it, actually be able to go on a real shallow water dive. It is a program that introduces you to the equipment, teaches you a few key scuba diving skills, and also about how to get the PADI Open Water Diver Certification.

It typically lasts a few hours in preparation for the actual dive. Don’t worry about bringing your own gear, your PADI instructor will most likely provide you with everything you need. If you are curious about what sort of equipment you need to dive, check out one of my previous articles: Scuba Diving Equipment List: The Basic Setup

If this is something you are interested in, I recommend contacting your local PADI Dive Center for more details. If you hope to dive while on vacation (like I did), many resorts have scuba shops that offer the PADI DSD program. Again, this is a great way for you to try scuba diving before signing up for an actual certification course. I would highly recommend it!

Prerequisites

If you’re ready to learn what it takes to actually get your Open Water Diver certification, you first might want to know how much it costs or if there are any physical requirements. The main skill you need to have in order to dive is swimming. You don’t need to be an Olympic level swimmer, but should be very comfortable swimming and treading water.

As for the age requirements, you need to be at least 10 years old in order to get certified. PADI doesn’t go into much detail about physical condition, but you need to be in “good physical health”.

Speaking from personal experience, it isn’t very physically demanding. Good swimming skills are required, and the tanks can be a bit heavy to stand up in for some. However, there will be others around you to help you up and make sure you get in the water safely.

The nice thing about this certification is that no prior scuba diving experience or knowledge is required. The cost to get certified varies depending on where you are, however, it will most likely be in the range of $250-$450. In the next section I will be going over what exactly happens during the certification process.

PADI Open Water Diver Certification

Time to dive in (pun intended) to the details on what the certification entails. It can be broken down into three main sections:

  1. Classroom learning
  2. Confined water dives
  3. Open water dives

Classroom Learning:

I know what you’re thinking, classroom learning?! Do I need to study? Will there be a test? It isn’t as bad as it sounds, I promise.

The fact is there is a lot to know about scuba diving and if you want to be able to dive freely and safely, there is some book-learning that you will need to go over. The nice thing is there are a lot of videos in addition to the written material, which is laid out very neatly and easy to read. There are a few different options on how to complete this section: online, independent study, or in a classroom.

I completed mine online at home and took the tests at a local scuba shop. This way I could watch the videos and learn the material at my own pace in the comfort of my own home.

You focus on the basics of scuba diving, like a breakdown of the equipment, how to properly assemble and disassemble the equipment, safety procedures, underwater hand signals, and how to properly plan a dive.

At the end of the learning there is a final exam, however, it is nothing to stress about. All the learning you do is very practical information and things you need to know, and the test isn’t designed to make you fail. It is only there to make sure you know enough to dive safely. So don’t stress! It isn’t difficult to pass.

Confined Water Dives:

This is where the fun begins because you will actually be diving in a swimming pool. The main purpose of this phase is getting you comfortable in the water and with the equipment. It is where you will begin to apply the learning you did in the book to a real life diving experience.

Some skills you will practice are setting up your gear properly and the various ways to enter the water safely. These are skills that you will need to be able to do without much thought in order to move on to the next phase, as they are very important in ensuring a safe diving experience.

Some underwater skills you will learn are how to clear water out of your mask while diving, buoyancy control, underwater hand signals, basic navigation, and safety procedures with a buddy. Once you are comfortable with each, you will then go on the final phase, open water dives.

Open Water Dives:

This is where you transition from a swimming pool to an open water environment. This could mean a lake, reservoir, or the ocean. By this point in the process you should be comfortable with all the skills and procedures you’ve learned, as you will be tested underwater on each.

You will most likely be going through these various tests over the span of 3-4 dives. Overall the process lasts however you schedule it. It could be 1 week from start to end, or up to a month by the time you complete all the open water dives. It is up to you and the shop you are signed up with to figure out the time frame.

You’re Certified! Now What?

Once you earn your PADI Open Water Diver certification, you are certified for life! It won’t expire, however, it is recommended that you take a review course every once in a while. If it has been years since you last dove, it would be wise to review some basics again. Even if this is on your own with your own materials, I highly recommend it!

Once certified you will be able to: receive air tank refills, rent scuba gear on your own, dive on your own with a buddy, schedule boat dives, and have access to other more advanced scuba diving classes!

With and Open Water Diver certification you are technically certified to dive to depths of 60 feet, however, this is not a strict number. If you dive to 65 or 70 feet you won’t have your c-card confiscated. As long as you are with a professional instructor/guide, it is more than acceptable to dive deeper than 60 feet.

The best piece of advice I can give you is stay in your comfort zone! If that is 40 feet then stay there, if that is 75 feet then that is probably fine too. I know that most guides won’t allow you to go deeper than 80 feet without more advanced certification.

A Whole New World Awaits, Go Explore It!

I hope this article helped answer some questions you had regarding the certification process. I also hope this encourages you to seriously consider going through with it.

Once you are certified a whole new world is out there for you to explore. It is one that many don’t get to experience up close and personal, but you now have access to. Take advantage of this and dive as much as you can in as many places as you can. It is such an incredible experience and each dive offers something new.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions. Happy Diving!

Scuba Diving Equipment List – The Basic Setup

One of the most important things to do before diving is familiarizing yourself with the equipment. It can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but I promise you it isn’t as complicated as it looks.

To help you get your feet wet (pun intended) I have created a basic scuba diving equipment list, plus a few other items that you might want or need depending on the type of dive you are going on. I will go over the basic purpose of each item and why I have it on the list.

Whether you have been on 20+ dives or have never been diving at all, this list will inform you about all the different pieces of equipment that go into a successful dive.

Importance of Proper Equipment

Making sure you have the proper scuba diving equipment is essential in order to dive safely. Let’s face it, when you really think about the concept of scuba diving it sounds pretty insane. You are basically strapping a tank of air to your back and swimming around underwater for an hour without breaching the surface for oxygen.

A lot can go wrong in that scenario. However, don’t let your anxiety kick in. Ensuring that you have the proper equipment and are comfortable with each item will allow you to enjoy the incredible experience of diving comfortably and safely.

The more familiar you are, the better. You don’t want to be spending time figuring out how to use the equipment properly or worrying about what to do if something were to go wrong. The equipment should become second nature to you so you can focus on enjoying your surroundings on the dive instead. This scuba diving equipment list will provide you with the necessary information to dive safely and allow you to relax and enjoy your dives even more!

The Essentials

  1. Mask: Everyone needs a mask to dive. There are many different masks that would do the job, however, it is very important to buy one that covers both your eyes and nose. This will provide you with maximum comfort and allow you to equalize properly.
  2. Snorkel: While technically you don’t “need” a snorkel, I added it to the essential list because most dive guides will require you to have one. One reason is if something were to go wrong and the dive boat lost you, you could Mask, Snorkel, Finstread water without using your regulator for air. Generally, the rule is if you are at the surface you should be using your snorkel to conserve the air in your tank.
  3. Fins: Fins are extremely important for multiple reasons. The main one being speed and agility underwater. It is very difficult to move anywhere quickly underwater without fins, and you expend a lot more energy without them. The goal of every diver is to spend as much time as possible underwater, and fins allow you to move freely and easily so you can cover a lot of ground without much effort.
  4. Buoyancy Control Device (BCD): The BCD is the vest that divers’ wear that helps them reach neutral buoyancy at various depths underwater. In other words, it helps you not sink to the bottom or rise to the surface. By controlling the amount of air you store in the BCD, you can become neutrally buoyant and achieve the “weightless” feeling that you hear divers’ talk about.
  5. Regulator(s): A regulator is the piece of equipment that allows the diver to breathe from the air tank. It is the piece that goes in your mouth and connects to the air tank. Tanks are filled with high pressure air and the regulator reduces that air into a pressure that is breathable.
  6. Tank: There is no way around this one, you are going to need air in order to dive. While there are different types of tanks you can choose from, everyone needs an air tank. The standard is using simple compressed air, however, other options include nitrox, trimix, or heliox (I won’t be going into depth about the differences of each in this article).
  7. Pressure Gauge: The pressure gauge is essential to have because it is the device that allows you to see how much air is in your tank. You should ALWAYS check your pressure gauge before each dive to ensure you have the right amount in your tank. During the dive you should always be aware of how much air you have left, especially towards the end of the dive when you know you are probably running low. NEVER LET YOUR GAUGE HIT 0. You should always end the dive with some air left in your tank for safety precautions (I will go into much more detail in upcoming articles).
  8. Depth Gauge: This device allows you to see your current depth while diving. This is also essential to make sure you are following the plan for the dive and remain safe at all times. When you are underwater it can sometimes be difficult to know how deep you are, this will take care of that for you.
  9. Weight Belt: Divers need weight belts to help them “sink” toward the bottom. You have a positive buoyancy in the water and depending on the size and composition of your body, you will need a certain amount of weight attached to you in order to descend and ultimately reach neutral buoyancy. Too much weight and you will sink too fast, but not enough weight and you will have a hard time descending.

Recommended Add-Ons:

  1. Dive Computer: This is a digital device that attaches to your wrist like a watch that tracks the dive time and depth. It can also calculate the required time for the safety stop based on the time and depth of the dive. While you don’t technically need one to dive, it can be very nice to have for safety and comfort reasons. If you are diving with a guide, he will have a computer of his own for the group. However, if you aren’t diving with a guide either you or your partner NEED to have one.
  2. Wet Suit: Depending on where you are diving and what time of year it is you might need a wet suit. It is always better to be safe than sorry because the temperature of the water decreases as your depth underwater does. However, if the water is very warm you would be fine in a regular swim shirt. If you aren’t sure on whether or not you need one, I recommend asking a local dive shop for advice.

Other Potential Items:

  1. Dive Knife: This is not an essential item, however, it is nice to have for extra safety. In case of tangling underwater in stray fishing nets or line, a dive knife would come in very handy. It is not used as a weapon.
  2. Dive Light: A dive light would be needed in the following situations: night dive, cave dive, or a wreck dive. It is an underwater flashlight that will allow you to see much better in those scenarios.

Review The List. Check It Twice!

There you have it, the basic scuba diving equipment list. As I mentioned before, learning your equipment is extremely important to dive safely and be able to relax and enjoy your dives more. While this isn’t an in depth guide it is a great way for you to learn the basic function of each piece of equipment so you can begin to get an idea of what goes into a successful dive.

Before each dive make sure you have everything that you need and that each piece is functioning properly. I hope you found this list to be very helpful and informative, feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions. Happy Diving!

About Brandon

Hello everyone, welcome to my Scuba Diving For Beginners website. Scuba diving has been a passion of mine since 2015 and my love for diving has only grown stronger over the years. It has taken me all over the world to some of the most beautiful and exotic places Earth has to offer, and I can truly say it has changed my life in many positive ways.

Over the past five years I have learned a great amount about diving and everything that goes with it: equipment, destinations, techniques, mindsets, safety, and how to get started. I want to share my insight into each of these and help anyone who is thinking about diving or is just starting to dive to enhance their overall diving experience.

My Introduction to Scuba Diving

Growing up in land-locked Colorado where the nearest ocean water was 15+ hours away, the thought of scuba diving never really crossed my mind. However, my family and I would vacation in Mexico or California every couple of years and my love for the ocean increased with every trip. My curiosity really grew when I started snorkeling. It was literally a whole new world with vibrant colors and creatures I had never seen before.

My Uncle was the first person I knew to scuba dive and he quickly became addicted. From that point forward our vacation destination was based on wherever the best diving was. After a few trips of hearing about his incredible dives, I decided it was time for me to join in on the fun.

I took the classes and passed the written and diving tests and got certified in 2015. That summer I had my first dive in Cozumel, Mexico. I was immediately hooked and could hardly wait for summer time, as I knew that also meant scuba time.

Diving is such a surreal and peaceful experience, it is difficult to put into words (although I’m doing my best). It provides an escape from the stresses of everyday life where you feel weightless, both physically and emotionally/mentally. You are able to immerse yourself into an underwater world with massive coral reef structures, vibrant sea life, and colors that you thought never existed.

A Glimpse Underwater

So why did I start this website? I want to provide you with valuable information on how to get started, and reasons why you should get started. If a kid from Colorado could get certified there is no reason why you can’t either, no matter where in the world you are.

It may seem daunting right now, but I am here to help you navigate the process and make your diving experience as pleasant as possible. I will be going over every aspect of diving: from getting certified all the way to when you are actually underwater.

I will be going over various techniques and offer real diving advice that I have accumulated over the years to make sure you are both informed and comfortable when you jump in the water, whether you have 10 dives under your belt or have never been diving once.

So have a look around and if you have anything to share in respect to diving please do so, I would love to hear it. If you need any advice/help, I am here for you!

 

All the best,

Brandon

Founder of Top Scuba Diving