SFLAG.GIF (21682 bytes) Equipment SFLAG.GIF (21682 bytes)


   I am not yet an experienced diver so I can't tell you about tricks and gimmicks, but in this page I'll describe the basic equipment used for scuba diving, I'll present the steps in obtaining the "Open Water Diver" certification, I'll describe some common skills you have to acquire in order to pass your Open Water Diver exam and I'll put some links to scuba stores, scuba diving places and scuba diving gear dealers. I hope you will enjoy it.


The mask

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The mask is usually the first piece of equipment you by for scuba diving or snorkeling. They come in two basic forms: high volume (up) and low volume (down). A successful dive depend allot of the mask you have. Take your time to choose your mask and NEVER buy it by internet. To chose your mask press your face in to the mask's skirt and inhale gently through your nose. The mask should stick to your face and if you don't breath through the nose the mask should hold in position.


The fins
The fins are the propelling mechanism of each diver or snorkelers. You couldn't dive or snorkel without them. They come in two basic forms; close heel (up) and open heel (down). The close heel could be used without a diving sock but in the open heel usually you should use neoprene socks. This is another item you might consider to buy before starting snorkeling or diving. My opinion is that you don't have to invest to much in fins because maybe some "bad" fins will not propel you so fast but ... what's the rush  : - )

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The snorkel

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The snorkel is the tube through which you breath wen you have the head in the water (only the mask and you are looking straight forward). You can find a lot of models and shapes, with purge valve or without purge valve, with firm shape or not. I suggest a normal snorkel. Don't spend to much for the snorkel even if you will use it a lot if you do only snorkeling instead of scuba diving. This piece of equipment is also something you will buy at the beginning of your scuba career.


    All the previous items are necessary/desired for snorkeling so if you only want to snorkel you could stop with your buys here but if you want to be a scuba diver you could rent your diving equipment or you might consider buying it. Here are the pieces of equipment you will need to go scuba diving.


The wet suit
After you will try to snorkel or dive for a couple of hours you will know why you need a wet suite. It is known that the body louse heat 25 times faster in water that outside water so you need to be protected wen you are in water for some time. The wet suite is usually made from neoprene a material who fill with water wen you dive. Your body heat is heating the water inside the wet suite and it keep you hot. You could find different types of wet suites: full body, shorty (right picture), farmer Joe etc.

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The weight belt
The weight belt is used to compensate your positive buoyancy. It is very important to chose the weight you put in the weight's belt pockets very well. If you will have to much weight or to less weight your neutral buoyancy under water is very hard to establish.

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The BC
cobra_bc.jpg (27054 bytes) The BC or Buoyancy Compensator is a very importance piece of equipment who is used to compensate your negative buoyancy induced by your air tank and your weight belt. I have a Genesis Cobra BC and I am very happy with it. The BC is also used to keep the air tank in the right position. On the left hand side it has a inflator hose which connect to a hose from the air tank. It could be inflated from the tank or by the mouth inflator and it could be deflated by a button or by puling the string of the overexpansion valve.


The first stage regulator
The first stage regulator is the piece which you mount on your air tank and who reduce the pressure from your tank to an intermediate pressure, and keep that pressure as constant as possible as the diver descends and ascends and surrounding pressure varies. There are two basic designs: the diaphragm and the piston. Each can have internal mechanism which are balanced or unbalanced.

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The second stage regulator

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The second stage works similar to the first stage, but reduce intermediate hose pressure to a more breathable ambient level. Air from the hose is let in the second stage through a small valve. Most all valve mechanisms manufactured today are designed to open with the flow of air  (downstream air). Wen you buy a second stage regulator you are looking for something small and very reliable.


The pressure gauge
The pressure gauge is the fuel gauge of the diver. This instrument is attached through a hose to you air tank and is  monitoring   your air tank pressure. On the instrument you have zones of air. The green zone is the zone where you are safe to breath the yellow is the zone where you should be hitting the surface and the red zone is the zone where you should never be. If you get in to the red zone, you didn't plan correctly your dive so pay more attention the next time.

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The air tank

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The air tank is not hard to figure, is the bottle where you keep your compress air from which you breath under water. They come in two basic material: steel and aluminum and in multiple volume: 80 cu. ft. (2264 liters), 100 cu. ft. (2830 liters), and 120 cu. ft. (3396 liters). They usually weight between 30-40 pounds (13 - 18 kg) and they keep pressures between 2250 and 4400 psi (150 to 300 bar)


    Al the previous items are necessary for scuba diving. I will suggest you to buy all the items except the air tank. The air tank is the only big and hard to transport thing and is wery easy to rent one. If you own your own tank you might want to buy a "air for life" supply which is arround $50 or you have to pay $4 for the air filling each time you go diving.
    The last thing you might consider to buy is the diving computer. Those days everybody is diving with diving computers or diving watches.


The diving computer
The diving computers are wonderful instruments who make your dive MUCH more safe. They give you all the information you need for a safe dive: actual bottom time, residual nitrogen level, current depth, maximum depth, temperature, maximum ascent rate, dive planing capabilities, time to fly and more.

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    You can also buy some nice gadjets, some rather useful in some circumstances: knifes, underwater cameras, carry bags, flotation bags and more.

    I could not be hold responsible for any information from this page. Use this page as your own risk. Make sure that you know that scuba diving is a dangerous sport and you should be certified to dive


You are visitor  from 23 August 1998