Diving is a unique sport in that it requires life support equipment. None of us can breath underwater by ourselves, so we need to trust our equipment to keep us safe while we are exploring the underwater world. This is why our team at Divetek takes it upon ourselves to put all our equipment through rigorous testing before we hand it over to our customers, friends and families. Diving as a sport is supposed to be fun. So while we test all the nitty gritties, here are some of the top pieces of equipment we believe divers should have.
We generally all rely on the Divemaster to carry the buoy line so we can make it to the surface safely without a boat riding over us and so our boat knows where to find us but what happens if we lose the Divemaster underwater? How can we guarantee that when we get to the surface that a boat is not driving in our direction and our skipper knows where we are? Well we keep a deploy buoy and a reel with us. If we get into the situation where we have lost the Divemaster and need to surface by ourselves we can deploy our deploy buoy when we get to the 5m mark so all boats know there is a diver surfacing in that location. Also your dive boat will be able to spot you easier than just a small head floating about in the big ocean. Deploy buoys and reels can range anywhere from R650.00 to R5,500.00 as a set so pick something that is going to work well for your kind of diving.
It is definitely never a bad idea to carry a dive knife, even if its only use is just for making sandwiches on the beach. A dive knife can also help you get out of an entanglement whilst underwater. Although this is very rare, rather be safe than sorry and always be prepared. In all the diving movies we have all watched we see the divers carrying rather large “Rambo” type dive knives. This doesn’t have to be the knife that we all carry around and in most cases having something small that you can tuck away is often preferred. Something like a small line cutter can still get you out of an entanglement from fishing gut or netting. Also it is probably safer for you as there is no way to cut yourself or one of your hoses in the process as you can only fit a small line into the opening to the blade. Remember if you are going to carry a dive knife, you want to always make sure it keeps sharp. A blunt knife is going to help no-one in an emergency situation. The two main types of blade you can get is Stainless Steel and Titanium. The main differences between the two is that Stainless Steel will hold a sharp edge for longer but has a high possibility or rusting, whereas the Titanium won’t hold its edge for as long as the steel one but has no possibility of rusting. So choose a knife that you know will best suit you.
I’m sure a big majority of us have had an o-ring pop on us or at least been in the vicinity when an o-ring has popped. If it happens while we are still kitting up, there is generally someone who has spare o-rings in their dive bag which can assist us in replacing the o-ring your Din fitting or on your insert for you Yoke fitting. If this happens on the boat though, unless you have a “on the ball” skipper that keeps spares, it can ruin your dive as you wont be able to get a seal on your set and you get to sit on the boat getting seasick. All this can be avoided though. If you keep a couple of different o-rings in a small and compact water tight container that you have clipped onto your BC, you will be able to assist anyone that has this problem on the boat. A little “Save a dive” kit. What this little container is, is a aluminium cylinder looking container with a screw on cap on the bottom with an o-ring seal so no water gets inside. On this cap is a Brass o-ring pick which will assist you in taking out the old popped o-ring and giving you the ability to now put a new o-ring in to save your dive. Make sure you are always stocked up with o-rings so you don’t get caught out while at sea again and you aren’t able to dive because of 1 little piece of rubber.
It’s a very common misconception that Dive Torches are only used for night diving and shouldn’t be taken on a day dive. It is definitely not a bad idea at all to take a torch on a day dive. Firstly having a torch on a day dive can bring back the colours we loose by going underwater. Remember from your Openwater Course that the first colour we loose is red. Which we start loosing from about 6 meters. If we shine our torch on the red object underwater, we will be able to see the red again. The second thing we can use our torch for is looking into caves and crevasses that may be too dark to see into without a torch. We can also use the torch at pointing something out without getting too close to it. For example, showing your buddy a Scorpionfish or something quite poisonous. Having a small and compact torch is often nicer as if you don’t need it, you can easily keep it in your pocket until needed. The higher the lumens, the better light you will have. A torch with a spot will be better for looking deep into caves than using a video light with a wide angle beam which won’t get the depth of the light. The brightest light you can afford is the best one to go for. You can never have too much light.
As we all know, diving is an equipment based sport. With all this equipment, we are going to need something to keep it all together as well as keep it all safe when we are travelling to our next diving adventure. Best is to get yourself a bag that is designed for diving gear and can fit all your gear in one place. Another nice feature to look at when purchasing a dive bag is a bag made of PVC so it is completely waterproof and won’t leak all over your car after a dive. A bag with a few different compartments is always nice as you can keep your accessories and spares separate from all your standard everyday use gear. Another bag which you should consider is a regulator bag for your regulator alone. Try and get something with a lot of padding. Your regulator is often the most expensive piece of equipment you will own, so keeping it safe and protected should be a first priority. Remember with your bags to always keep the zips lubricated and clear of rust or corrosion. Being at the ocean most of the time, corrosion can get quite bad very quickly. Also always try to keep your weights and weightbelt separate from your dive bag. It damages you bag as well as the gear inside.
We don’t all need to be a diving technician to carry a few diving tools in case of an emergency. We don’t need to carry a full tool box but having a small multi-tool is never a bad idea. If its for something as simple as taking out the insert from a valve or changing a hose due to the hose being perished or popped. A small multi tool could also save your dive. These small multi-tools are also not expensive, or awkward to carry. Your can throw it in the spares pouch of your dive bag and forget about it until the day you need it. Someone may be very grateful to you for saving their dive or even grateful to yourself for being prepared.
Being divers, we often find ourselves in far out and remote places. Often the places we find ourselves in don’t have very many standard day to day supplies let alone any first aid equipment. We don’t all need to be qualified paramedics to carry a few essential first aid items. Diving first aid can also be very specific items that we need like oxygen. Carrying a full oxygen cylinder everywhere we go can often be impossible but there are other alternatives like a product called Emox. It is safe to travel with and small enough that it can fit into a dive bag with your other equipment. It may just save your life. Having a specific diving first aid kit can also come in handy quite often as well. Even if it is for small cuts and scraps from falling on the boat or even landing on the coral if our buoyancy isn’t how we want it to be. Having a small first aid grabber bag is always a good idea to keep around.
Probably one of the most annoying things that can happen to you on a dive is your mask fogging up. Even though adding a bit of water and clearing the fog off the lens works, it is very irritating having to do that every minute or two when you’re on a dive. Having a bottle of defogger will save you a lot of frustration while being underwater. Anti fog liquid can range from R50 – over R300. All you are really looking for is a liquid that is as thick as possible. When applying it to your mask, apply a few drops onto each lens, rub it around the lens and then rinse off. Try not to rinse all the liquid off as the thick liquid on the lens is what keeps the fog off your lens. An anti fog solution really does make your life much simpler underwater.
Venturing into a world where communication is limited to a few hand signals can be quite daunting to some. Especially when trying to get someones attention from a far is close to nearly impossible. Fear not as there are a few products you can purchase which will solve this problem. Before we get to these products though, remember that you need to be mindful and respectful to the others underwater before using your underwater attention getter to show people every little fish you see. Try and keep these attention getters for emergencies only and let the divemaster use his attention getter to show the group interesting marine life. Of course if you spot a whale shark or manta ray for example, I’m sure no-one will mind you getting their attention. The different attention getters that are available are the following: Rattles/shakers, Tank Bangers, tapping your knife on your cylinder or a power sound device (quacker). Any of these can be used to get your buddies attention underwater. Remember to be mindful when using one of these and to not irritate the rest of the group.
Oddly enough one of the most forgotten pieces of equipment we own is our towel. Most people are too busy remembering what dive gear they need and trying not to forget their mask or weightbelt that your towel is generally overlooked. We have added a towel to our last item of the list for that exact reason, it’s normally the last thing we think of. Any towel will do when going diving but some do prefer a sort of poncho styled towel, a towel we can wear, or a microfibre towel that will dry us much faster and can be packed away into a small bag that doesn’t take up too much space in our already full dive bag. Hopefully this is a reminder to everyone not to forget your towels next time you go on a dive trip.
I hope this has helped and makes sure you are always on top of your game for your next dive trip. Dive Safe.