Diving equipment for serious divers is a lot more complex than the casual observer might think. For the average person, the only things they think a diver needs are a mask, air tank, flippers, and a wet suit. While these are the basic components of diving equipment, safe and reliable scuba diving
is best done with other accessories to help ensure the comfort of the diver. Here are the components of a full scuba diver’s kit:
Air Tank or Oxygen Rebreather – this is the most important part of the scuba diver’s gear, unless you happen to have been born with fully functional gills. Without a good air supply, you’ll be in serious trouble underwater. Pressurized air tanks are the most common means of packing an air supply, though there are electronic rebreathers which recycle the oxygen you use. These are lighter than tanks but also much more expensive.
Masks – simple face masks with snorkels, or even just goggles for the eyes will allow for shallow water diving. However, more modern diving masks are usually full face mask types, with built in radios for verbally communicating with other divers underwater.
Wet Suit – a wet suit provides a lot of protection when diving. For one, underwater diving gets cold really fast, so it gives you ample thermal protection. For another, it also keeps you from getting mild abrasions and lacerations from sharp objects underwater like coral reefs. A suit can also protect you from aquatic life that stings like jelly fish.
Fins and Diving Motors – these are for moving around efficiently underwater instead of scrambling around like a drowned cat. If you want exercise, buy fins. If you’re lazy, get a diving motor which is basically a small jet motor that propels you through the water while you hang onto it. Diving motors often come with a light so that you can see your way around in deep dives or underwater caves.
Weight Plates – despite the fact that people fall and drown in water all the time, the human body actually has enough buoyancy that it will tend to float upwards instead of sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Steel plates on your belt are a normal method used by divers to let them descend to greater depths.
Navigation Gadgets – an underwater compass, thermometer, pressure gauges, and depth measurers are essential for people who are serious about diving. This is because the human body isn’t naturally suited for underwater travel, so certain extremes like water temperature or underwater pressure can cause serious damage to a diver.
Diving Buoys and Underwater Markers – These are little flotation devices that you send up to the surface to indicate to passing boats that you’re in the area diving below them. Without it you could find yourself in serious trouble if a large vessel like a freighter happens to wander overhead just as you run low on air and need to surface. Underwater markers float at a certain depth instead of the surface, and are used in the same fashion to let other divers know you’re around.
Diver’s First Aid Kit – underwater first aid kits often contain not only the basic stuff you’ll find in regular kits, but will have other items used especially for common diving injuries like decompression, thermal shock, and jelly fish stings. Bring one along just in case.
Diving Knife – it may seem militantly funny to pack a diving knife – after all, you’re not exactly out to wrestle with barracudas and cut their throats. However, keep in mind that there are ship wrecks underwater, and a good knife just may be what you need to cut your way out of a snarled rope, tough seaweed, or even the net of a passing fisherman (in case you forgot to set a diving buoy).