Understanding Scuba Diving Equipment Basics
A well-fitting diving mask will enable you to see clearly underwater through the large clear plate on the front. It is important that you choose a mask that forms a firm seal against your face to prevent water from getting in. A good choice will be one that is designed to let you breathe out into it so you can avoid the “squeeze” that the pressure causes as you descend.
There are various types of diving masks available. For those wanting to communicate verbally while underwater a full face one may be the best choice. Diving helmets are also available if you intend to scuba dive using a surface supply. For those who require prescription lenses there are diving masks that can accommodate your particular need.
Just as the diving mask must fit your face so must the fins you choose fit your feet properly. It is important that they not be too tight or too loose as this can make it more difficult to swim underwater. Not only will they be uncomfortable if they don’t fit properly but they could also become a hazard.
Maintaining buoyancy when first beginning to scuba dive can be difficult. A weight belt is recommended to help with this.
Wet suits / dry suits are diving suits designed to keep your body warm while under water. As the body loses heat 25 times faster in water than in air it is important to consider how cold the water is where you will be diving. Choose a diving suit that will provide you with enough thermal insulation to prevent hypothermia from occurring.
SCUBA Sets - Open Circuit or Closed Circuit
The more expensive closed circuit scuba set is a more complicated system that consists of a rebreather. The user exhales and the air is then processed through the rebreather to make it suitable to be inhaled again. The closed circuit system is the better choice for someone wanting to dive for longer times. There are 3 different types of rebreathers available: the oxygen rebreather, the semi-closed rebreather and the fully-closed rebreather.
Accessories Worthy of Consideration
A buoyancy compensator is an essential item for helping you to control depth and maintain neutral buoyancy. These are available as a stabilizer jacket or as a ‘wing’ that is worn mounted on the back.
A dive watch or dive computer can be particularly helpful for measuring your depth and for gauging how long you have been under water. The dive computer is more expensive but does provide a higher degree of accuracy.
Once you have mastered the basics and discovered that you want to take scuba diving to the next level there are a number of handy accessories you can add to your equipment. A surface-marker buoy lets boaters know you are underwater in that area. A light will make seeing under water easier. A knife is always a handy item to have in an emergency, as is a compass.
There are a number of resources you can refer to when looking for the right scuba diving gear for you. Ask an experienced diver for their recommendation. Scuba Dive centers are staffed by knowledgeable people who are willing and able to assist you. You can also refer to scuba diving websites and dive magazines for more information.
Some people aren’t looking for SCUBA at all. Instead they prefer a more leisurely way of exploring the underwater world. For that, you may only need a good pair of snorkel gear.