You may have just booked your vacation on the coast, or perhaps you’re picking up a new hobby. Regardless of your reason, scuba diving is one of the most thrilling experiences of a lifetime.
Together, marine researchers, professional oceanographers and recreational divers explore life beneath the surface. And while all divers have different goals for their excursions, they each benefit differently from the newest developments in dive gear and technology.
New to Scuba Diving? How to Choose the Right Gear For You
As you’re just starting out, it’s important to know what’s essential and what is not, as well as what to look for to accommodate your specific needs. If you’re new to scuba diving, consider the following tips when choosing the right gear for you:
1. Determine the Essentials
The first (and most important) thing to do when preparing for your first dive is to make a list of the essential items you’ll need. Regardless of your location or skill level, there are certain things any diver will need to be safe and efficient in the water. These include:
A diving mask is necessary to protect your eyes while exploring ocean life in saltwater.
Gloves help protect your hands from any injuries or snags while exploring caves and plant life underwater.
Fins allow you to have control of your underwater movement and speed.
A snorkel is especially important for new divers to carry as a measure of safety. While you’ll be using an oxygen tank and regulator for the bulk of your dive, a snorkel can help you preserve air when swimming out from the shore, waiting for a dive boat or diving with a partner.
An oxygen tank and regulator take over once you’re deep into your dive. These ensure that you have a constant, smooth flow of air, even when the pressure changes.
A buoyancy control device allows you to float to the surface once you’re ready and keeps you from sinking as well.
A depth and submersible pressure gauge tells you how far down you are at any point in your dive and how much oxygen is left in your tank.
A dive computer can tell you how long you’ve been underwater, how deep you are, and how long you can stay at that depth safely.
These items can be purchased or rented, depending on the nature of your dive. If you’re planning to dive once or twice while you’re traveling, you may not want to invest in your own gear.
However, if you plan to make diving a regular hobby or activity, it’s definitely worth looking into gear that is more suited to your personal preferences.
2. Consider your Dive Location
Another factor that may determine essential items you’ll need is your location. Different types of dives require different gear. For instance, a deep-water dive requires more durable tools than a more shallow dive, or a coral reef dive.
You may need more lights for exploring underwater caves, or a camera if you plan to capture ocean life in a coral reef. There are even some steel-plated backpacks that help you keep control of your gear while diving deeper.
Take some time to plan your first few dives to determine exactly what kind of equipment you’ll need. Even within the essentials, there’s a vast variety of options available on the market that can ensure a safe and successful venture in any underwater setting.
3. Shop Around
Once you’ve determined the essentials you’ll need and the location of your dive, shop around to find the best equipment prices, combos, and discounts. You’ll often be able to get a discount on rentals or purchases if you are a certified scuba diver.
Do some research online and ask your local surf shops or scuba instructors for their recommendations. Combining your own research with the trusted insight from experienced divers, you’ll be able to get the best quality equipment for your money.
4. Look into New Technology
The last thing to consider when finding the right scuba diving gear is any new technology you’d like to try out. As a beginner, you may not need all the bells and whistles, but depending on your goals, there may be a few extra items you’d like to add to your list.
For instance, there are underwater people movers available on the market, as well as a variety of dive computers with various capabilities, underwater drones, and advanced snorkels and breathing apparatuses for every occasion. These are not all necessities but can be a fun addition to your dive.
When you’ve decided to embark on your first underwater journey, make sure you take some time to find the right scuba gear for you to ensure a safe and successful dive