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.
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 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.
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.