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Scuba Diving


Lessons & Associations Catalog The Basics


 

Gear

There are several great diving magazines on the market. They're worthwhile subscribing too for a number of reasons including regular reviews of the latest equipment, tips to improve your diving skills and technique, monthly safety stories, dive site reviews, and great pictures. They're also a great way to keep your interest through those cold winter months.

When buying diving equipment, don't bargain hunt. Choose a reputable company that is known for providing the highest quality products. Most manufacturers offer a full range of equipment from masks to regulators. Below you'll find a list of good dive equipment manufacturers that are carried by dive shops.

Keeping your scuba diving equipment in good working order is vital to your health. Always rinse off your gear after a dive, and be sure to follow a maintenance program with regular servicing.

BC (Buoyancy Compensator)

A BC must fit correctly, function appropriately and as promoted, and have the appropriate amount of lift. The right amount of lift isn't exactly a science. You want to avoid either extreme, too much or too little. You need enough lift on the surface to float you with all your gear, weight belts and a full tank. It must also have enough lift during the most extreme diving you'll do. This would include colder dives where you'll need a thicker and more buoyant wetsuit with more weight on your belt.

Manufacturers are beginning to make BCs for women, improving the fit. A Proper fitting BC is important to keep your tank and other equipment secure, unmoving and close to your body. If your equipment is shifting around on your back it is more likely to get caught on objects underwater creating a dangerous situation. With women's BCs, ensuring they have the right amount of lift is very important. The following are some of the manufacturers that are designing women's BCs and the name of their women's model.

Forte, Sirene
Oceanic, Isla
Sea Quest, Diva QD
Sherwood, Luna
U.S. Divers, Elan


Wetsuits

You may want to get a wetsuit sooner than later. After 3 hours in the pool, even if the water is 80°, you'll be freezing. That's because water conducts heat faster than air. You're body temperature drops quicker in the water and you'll experience initial signs of hypothermia.

For warm water diving or diving in the tropics, a lightweight 3mm-neoprene wetsuit will work well. There is also a product called a Diveskin, which is much thinner and more flexible. It works as well for warm water dives.

Most dive shops carry a decent selection of wetsuits for women. You can also find warm water wetsuits at surf shops. As in all equipment, fit is very important. If it is too big, the water will flow right through the suit, providing no protection from the cold. If the wetsuit is too tight it will constrict your movement. Unfortunately trying on wetsuits is exhausting. They feel like putting on a straight jacket. Luckily they are a lot more comfortable in the water.





Body Glove, Tel. 1-800-678-7873.
Web site: www.bodyglove.com.
Body Glove Logo



Diveskins by Oztex, 7709 SW Nimbus Avenue, Beaverton, Oregon 97008 USA.
Tel. 1-800-827-DIVE.


O'Neill, Tel. 1-800-538-0764.
Web site: www.teamoneill.com.
O'Neill Logo



Mask, Fins & Snorkel

For a mask to fit properly it must seal easily and completely on your face. If it doesn't seal correctly water will leak in while you're diving. The simple test is to lightly place the mask on your face without using the strap, inhale slightly through your nose. If the mask stays in place with the slight amount of suction, it is a good fit.

Dive fins are much larger than regular swim fins. This is because they are a divers means of propulsion. There are two styles of fins, full heel and a heel-strap fin. The full heel is usually used for warm water and doesn't require a dive boot. These are not widely used by divers. A heel-strap fin does require a dive boot. The dive boot keeps your feet insulated from the cold water and can protect your feet when walking around on the boat. When buying fins look for fit, stiffness of the blade and size.

Divers use a snorkel to conserve energy and air while on the surface. A snorkel should be easy to breathe from and have a comfortable mouse piece.



Regulator

A scuba regulator takes the pressured air from the tank and delivers it to the mouthpiece at the surrounding pressure. Using two stages, the high-pressure air from the tank is reduced to a breathable level. A pressure gauge or air level gauge, depth gauge, and a BC inflator hose are also attached to your regulator. The most important criteria a diver should look for in a regulator is ease of breathing.



Computers

Even though you've been certified, chances are that you've never had the opportunity to use a computer. You've just heard that "you must have one". Using the standard dive tables, your dive time is calculated on the lowest depth reached for your entire dive time. Even if you were only at that depth for 2 minutes. A dive computer will allow you more dive time by continually calculating your changing depths and the nitrogen absorbed at that depth.

Different computers use different mathematical models. These range from conservative to more liberal dive profiles. The more conservative your dive profile, the less likely you'll get decompression sickness.

There are lower costs computers that have less functions and features. Some of the features you should look for in a low cost computer include easy to read, manipulate and understand, graphic display, display of nitrogen levels, time available, and ascent rate, ability to make the limits more conservative, warnings for decompression violations. It's also important that complete and easy to understand instructions are included. Waterproof prompt cards with instructions on how to use your computer should be in your dive bag.



Accessories

There are many accessories that are considered mandatory. At all time a diver should carry a knife strapped to the inside of their leg, as well as a dive watch, compass and have decompression tables in their dive bag. Other handy accessories include an underwater light and underwater writing slate.



Ikelite Underwater Systems, 50 W 33rd Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46208 USA.
Tel. 1-317-923-4523.
Web site: www.ikelite.com.
Waterproof flashlights.
Ikelite Logo



Scuba Equipment Manufacturers

Apollo, Tel. 1-800-231-0909.
Web site: www.apollo-sports.com.
Apollo Logo

Dacor, Northfield, Illinois.
Tel. 1-847-446-9555.
Web site: www.divedacor.com.
Dacor Logo



Forte, Tel. 1-800-500-8292.


Genesis, P.O. Box 3098, Boynton Beach, Florida 33424-3098 USA.
Tel. 1-716-741-4789.
Web site: www.genesisscuba.com.
Genesis Logo



Mares, Shore Pointe, One Selleck Street, Norwalk, Connecticut 06855 USA.
Tel. 1-800-874-3236.
Mares Logo



Oceanic, 2002 Davis Street, San Leandro, California 94577 USA.
Tel. 1-510-562-0500.
Web site: www.oceanicworldwide.com/index2.cfm.
Oceanic Logo



Poseidon by SEArious Fun Inc., 175-H1 Commerce Drive, Hauppauge, New York 11788 USA.
Tel. 1-516-231-4475.
Web site: www.poseidon.se/.
Poseidon Logo



Scubapro, Tel. 1-800-Go-Scuba.
Web site: www.scubapro.com.
Scubapro Logo



Sea Quest, 2151 Las Palmas Drive, Carlsbad, California 92009 USA.
Tel. 1-619-438-1101.


Sherwood, Tel. 1-888-SHERWOOD.
U.S. Divers, Tel. 1-714-540-8010.
Web site: www.usdivers.com.
U.S. Divers Logo



Zeagle, Tel. 1-813-782-5568.
Web site: www.zeagle.com.
Zeagle Logo



Please send your suggestions and comments to gearadvice@shegear.com.

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