Dive Equipment 101
New to diving and bit unsure about all the new dive equipment?
Here is DIVE.in’s Equipment 101 where we tell you all about the scuba gear and what you need to know.
We have separated the articles into smaller bits, concentrating on one main theme.
Here you’ll find a quick summary of the equipment.
A quick link is given next to each piece of equipment so you can check each one out in more detail.
Here's a guide on When to Buy What Piece of Dive Gear
The BCD, also called BC, stands for Buoyancy Control Device or Buoyancy Compensator. It’s the vest that holds the tank. Most importantly, the one you use to control buoyancy.
The BCD has many different features to control the buoyancy, depending on the brand and type.
There’s an inflator and a deflator mechanism and on a typical BCD (this is used to add or release air to and from your BCD). The inflator and deflator are located on a hose connected to your left shoulder.
Do you know The 3 BCD's?
Most BCDs come with a few pockets and D rings for carrying gadgets on the dive; some having weight pockets as well.
BCD’s come in different forms and shapes: jacket-types and wing-types. The jacket is more popular for most divers and gives great comfort underwater and in the surface. The wing-type BCD gives better buoyancy and enables a perfect horizontal possession during the dive.
The regulator set consists of a 1st stage, which is mounted on the tank valve. Then there are two regulators in the 2nd stage: a pressure gauge and a low-pressure inflator hose that are attached to the BCD inflator.
- The regulators have a primary and an alternate air source. The alternate air source is for you or your buddy in an emergency or a back up is needed.
- A modern regulator is a demand valve regulator, which means it give you air when you want it. When you breathe in, air flows from the tank through the 1st stage and to the 2nd stage supplying air to you.
- The pressure gauge shows how much air is in the tank and usually has a caution area that warns you when air is getting low.
This article will show you How To Choose A Scuba Regulator.
Suits used for diving
Keeping yourself warm under the water isn’t the same as keeping warm above the surface. While diving, your body always needs protection because water contracts heat twenty times faster than air does.
Wetsuits are used when diving in warmer water. These are made of neoprene and keep the body warm by sealing the water around the body. It’s then heated by the body depending on the thickness and length of the wetsuits.
Drysuits are more commonly used when scuba diving in cold water. Theses are airtight suits that keep the body dry during the entire dive. Dry suits act like incubators and keep the warmth inside against your body.
Scuba Diving Mask
A scuba diving mask is the piece of equipment that helps you with your view while diving. Masks are made of tempered plastic and the seal around the face is made of silicone.
Read about the Full Face Mask.
Diving masks come in any size needed from small low volume to large masks with extended vision. There are even masks with valves to empty out excess water.
When selecting a mask the most important thing is the face seal. If the mask has a bad seal, water can seep in. An irritation like this isn’t something you want happening during your dive so make sure it’s good quality. Just because the mask has a big price tag doesn’t always mean it’s the best choice.
Snorkel for scuba diving
It’s not always common for divers to have a snorkel, but having one on hand is always a good idea.
On a long surface swim, you’ll swim better using the snorkel plus it’ll save your air for the dive. Having a snorkel can also come in handy if you run into something amazing. You’ll still be able to put your face down to take a look, even if you are out of air.
If you want to know more about the gear used for snorkeling, read more here.
Snorkels come in all types: from basic tubes with a mouthpiece to more advanced snorkels that can fold up and be put in the BCD pocket. The most popular snorkels today come with valves in the bottom making it easier and quicker to empty out water.
When diving you want to move through the water easily without wasting a lot of energy. This is why you need fins. There are many different types, varying in from, shape, and brand, used for scuba diving.
Basically there are 2 types of fins: Open-heel and Full-foot:
Full-foot fins completely fit around your foot. The foot pocket is usually made of soft rubber, which makes it the most comfortable. And the tighter fit makes it the best for swimming. However this option is not recommended for cold-water dives.
Open-heel fins are open at the heel with a strap securing them. Boots are used with this type of fin to protect the foot. This fin provides better protection against cuts and cold water. Open-heel fins are the most commonly used for diving, giving great protection while still being able to kick well.
Here's our Basic Scuba Fins Guide.
If you are into gadgets then you’ll be happy to know that the diving industry is full of cool accessories.
Diving knives, dive lights, dive gloves, uw communication equipment, uw photo gear, SMBs, rings, hooks, extra pockets, tank bangers, pointers, scooters, heated wetsuits, computers, and on and on it goes.
As long as your wallet can handle it if you can imagine it, you can probably get it.