SCUBA GEAR 101

To have a safe and enjoyable scuba diving experience, it is a must to have some basic information and know-how when choosing the proper scuba gear. When buying your scuba gears always consider the fit and comfort and buy from reputable scuba stores.

1. Dive Mask

scubamask.jpg Your dive mask creates a pocket of air in front of your eyes and nose so you can see clearly under water and equalize the pressure on your ears as you go deeper. To test for fit and comfort, place the mask on your face without using the head strap. Make sure no hair is between the mask skirt and your facial skin. Now suck in with your nose and hold it. The mask should suck in towards your face and should stay in place as long as you hold in the suction. Pull the head strap over your head, positioning it above the ear line. Does the mask sit comfortably on your face; is your vision good?

2. Snorkel

zoom_ocean_mimetic-2.jpg Snorkel is a breathing tube that allows you to inhale and exhale when you’re swimming face down on the water’s surface. It should be comfortable in your mouth and not more than 12-15 inches in overall length. For scuba diving you may elect to choose a snorkel that hangs down away from your mouth so as not to interfere when breathing from the regulator. The snorkel is worn on the left side of your mask.

3. Booties

henderson-boots_ib30z.jpg Good pair of booties protects your feet from hard surfaces and unnecessary bruising. They should be as comfortable to wear like a good pair of running shoes. Fit should be snug but not too tight. Booties offer warmth and better foot protection and are much safer than going barefoot.

4. Fins

picture1.jpg Fins should be tried on with a pair of booties. It is generally better to buy fins that use a foot strap. The fins should allow your foot to easily enter the foot pocket. Test the fit of the fin, first without using the fin strap, for security of fit. Place the fin strap to where you find it most comfortable, usually just above the heel bone. Tighten the fin strap only until snug and do not over tighten to avoid cramps in your foot. Be familiar with how the fin strap buckle system works, how it releases and tightens and how the strap mounts to the fin.

3. Wetsuit

wetsuit.jpg Even warm water conducts heat away from the body 20 times faster than air. Wetsuits provide insulation against this cooling effect. The wetsuit is usually made of a neoprene material. The colder the water the thicker the suit required. You should always match your suit to the environment and depth to which you are diving. It is easier to cool down than warm up while underwater. Get a wetsuit that is snug and comfortable to wear given the environment you’ll do most of your diving in.

4. BC/Power Inflator

picture2.jpg BC stands for buoyancy compensator. It provides the diver with a means in which to achieve total freedom of movement when underwater and helps you sink or float as needed. Like any other piece of equipment, the fit and comfort when wearing a BCD is very important. BCD’s can be adjusted to fit. Choose your BCD for the type of diving you want to do; spending a little more now will save a lot more later. The BCD and regulator should be one of your first big equipment purchases.

5. Regulator/Octopus

picture3.jpg The regulator is the device, which allows us to breath underwater. Select a regulator by how easy it breathes. Each regulator assembly should include an octopus or alternate air source. An octopus is a backup regulator. Because the octopus may be needed by other divers, it usually has a longer hose and a bright yellow body. In addition to the octopus, the regulator assembly must have a console consisting of a depth gauge or computer, and a means to monitor your air supply.

6. SPG/Depth Gauge
5istminigauge.jpg Your instrument panel. SPG stands for submersible pressure gauge, and it tells how much air is left in your tank. Don’t let your gauges drag or float freely. Clip them to your BC.

7. Dive Computer

suunto_d9-thumb.jpg Computers when used in conjunction with dive planning tables add to your diving safety and provide a means of keeping track of all that dive data that you’ll want for your logbook following your dive. Computers monitor and display your depth, how long you’ve been under and how long you can safely stay. Some models will also keep track of how much air you have left. Computers may be used in conjunction with, or as a replacement for, traditional gauges. If you are thinking about learning to dive with enriched air, purchase a computer that will be programmable for enriched air diving and save the initial cost upfront.

REFERENCE: http://www.scubadiving.com, http://www.genesisdiving.com

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