Scuba diving is a unique experience that everyone should try at least once in their lives. It’s a chance to explore what lives under the sea, opening you up to a whole new world. There are so many excellent scuba diving locations for you to enjoy, but you need to ensure you’re kitted out with the right gear before you begin.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand what kind of scuba equipment you need when beginning scuba diving. From here, you can head out and rent the gear you need to get started!
Scuba Diving Equipment: At A Glance
As a summary of what you need when scuba diving, your equipment list will look like this:
- Scuba mask
- Wrist computer
This is what all beginners need to worry about, though you can find some extras that might suit you depending on where you’re diving. For instance, if you’re diving in very deep areas, you may need a special scuba diving torch to light your path.
When looking at this list, we can separate the equipment into two categories:
- The basic equipment
- The more advanced gear
Let’s take a closer look at everything, so you understand what needs to be bought/rented and why!
Scuba Diving Basic Equipment
This is a selection of things that you should buy and keep to go scuba diving whenever you want. When you don’t pair them with the more advanced gear, you can still have a mini scuba diving experience. In essence, you’ll be well enough equipped to go snorkelling underwater.
Here’s a closer look at what you need:
A scuba mask – also just called a diving mask – is an essential piece of kit as it protects your eyes when you’re underwater. You need a mask that creates a solid seal to prevent any water from coming in, keeping your vision as clear as possible. You can get these masks in all different variants, and there are even some that come with prescription lenses if you have bad eyesight. Realistically, comfort and practicality are the main things to think about when buying your scuba diving mask.
A snorkel is designed to help you breathe while swimming underwater close to the surface. It’s a simple contraption that pokes itself above the water, letting you take in air from above. You can get quite advanced and fancy snorkels, but they’re not always worth the money. For deeper scuba diving, you won’t use one anyway.
Diving fins are critical if you want to move through the water with ease. There is a lot of resistance underwater, particularly when you take currents into account. Fins help you propel yourself forward and stay in control when swimming. Here, you have two main variants to consider:
- Open Heel Fins – tend to be the heavier of the two options and are suitable for most types of diving. If you wear these, you will need some special diving boots to keep your entire foot covered.
- Full Foot Fins – tend to be the lighter of the two options, so don’t generate as much power. They are more suitable for warmer waters without much of a moving current. You can wear them barefoot or with scuba socks.
Effectively, a wetsuit protects you from everything underwater. It adds a layer of protection to keep you warm, which is essential as the deeper you go, the colder it gets. They can also protect your skin from all the different things in the water, and you pretty much can’t dive without one. Renting a wetsuit is often the best option as you never know the diving conditions on the day of your dive. You might need a slightly different suit on one day, rendering the one you bought pointless.
Scuba Diving More Advanced Equipment
Now, we move onto some of the more complex and advanced pieces of equipment you need to start diving. Let’s take a closer look at the items from the earlier list:
Naturally, you need a scuba tank – or scuba diving cylinder – to breathe underwater. Essentially, this contains highly pressurised air that will be delivered to you via a regulator. You need to be a certified diver to rent a scuba tank, so keep that in mind. Selecting the right tank will include a combination of assessing how light it is, how much pressure it contains, and the overall capacity of the tank. For longer dives, you need a tank with a large capacity.
In essence, this is the part that attaches to the tank and then to your mouth. It’s designed to regulate the pressure between the tank and your mouth, making the air suitable for you to breathe in. Ideally, you want a regulator that can provide a high volume of air when you’re deep underwater. It should be comfortable as well, seeing as you’ll have it in your mouth while you dive.
Buoyancy compensator devices are arguably the most complicated piece of equipment you need when scuba diving. They look like a rucksack, but they’re designed to help you carry your tank without it feeling too heavy, and they offset your wet to make you buoyant when you’re underwater. In essence, they prevent you from sinking!
A wrist computer is basically a complex watch that you wear on your wrist. They won’t tell you the time; they tell you how deep you are, how long you’ve been diving for, and when you will reach your maximum depth. Actually, it can do a lot more than just that, but this depends on how advanced your computer is. In essence, you need this to monitor your dive while you’re underwater, ensuring you don’t go too far out of your limits.
The more you dive, the more likely it is you will come across other little accessories that make your life easier. However, if you’re looking for a definitive list of what you need when scuba diving for the first time, these are the key things to purchase or rent.
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