The time has come to, quite literally, dive in headfirst, and if you are looking to start scuba, it is quite likely you may be overwhelmed by the choice of equipment on offer. In addition to this, you may be confused about what it all does.
To assist in your purchase of quality gear on any budget, we have provided a handy guide. Below, we discuss essential scuba gear and what you need to do to get the right equipment.
A scuba mask creates an airlock between your eyes and the transparent pane. This allows you to focus underwater. It will also have a nose pocket that allows you to regulate pressure as you go deeper underwater.
It is essential a scuba mask has a good, tight fit for your head. If not, leaking water can cause a myriad of problems. There are a number of shapes and sizes of scuba mask that you can purchase.
Generally, light colored masks with clear glass let in more light. These tend to be better for first time divers and those just starting out.
Testing a Scuba Gear Mask
When buying the best scuba gear mask, there are a few tests you can do to check its suitability. Firstly, face the ceiling and lay the mask on your face without affixing the straps. It should be flush with your face, containing no gaps.
Next, try it with a mouthpiece or snorkel. The fit should remain flush with your face. Now try breathing in gently and see if the mask seals easily on your face.
Now try the same test with a mouthpiece and, if it succeeds, try the straps. It should feel comfortable, particularly around the nose and your upper lip.
Types of Mask
There is an extremely wide variation of scuba masks available. You may find that some have vents to get rid of leaking water or some may have quick strap adjustments. In addition, some may have side, top, or bottom panes to allow a wider field of vision.
Good fins are essential for underwater control. Not only do they help you move, but they also increase your speed. Water is 800 times denser than air, and you need to have assistance transferring the movement in your legs into kinetic energy.
The most important factor when choosing fins is their level of comfort. If they do not fit perfectly, they will cause rubbing and blistering of the skin. Look around, try out numerous pairs, and do your research.
Fins should not pinch your toes, and you should have enough room to wiggle them. They should also fit the heel well and not rub.
Generally, the best fins do not have seams. This prevents any rubbing or chaffing. Fins with seams will also tend to come apart easier.
Types of Fins
Fins vary vastly in size and design. Stiffer fins are ideally best for experienced divers who have built up strong leg muscles. Fins that contain more flexibility should be left for newbie divers.
There are two main types of fins. They are open heel and full foot. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Full foot fins are the ones you slip your feet straight into. As such, they can get cold if you are not in temperate waters.
Open heel fins require boots. They do not take as much effort to slip into and, when combined with boots, provide more protection for your foot.
The snorkel is the tube that slots into your mouth and lets you breathe as you float on the surface. This helps you save air in the tank. When choosing a snorkel, comfort and fit are the deciders.
A snorkel should feel snug in your mouth and not rub on your lip or gums. It must also attach to your equipment easily. Also keep in mind that, though bigger snorkels will allow more air passage, they may also create more drag when you are underwater.
Wetty, steamer, and springy are all names applied to different types of wetsuits. However, all of them essentially do the same job and operate in the same way. This is to keep you warm under the water, insulating you from the ocean and trapping in body heat.
A good wetsuit should fit perfectly and should not hang loose anywhere. The neck, crotch, and limbs should all be tight so that the suit can keep in the heat.
The more you spend, the more feature will be included in your wetsuit. You may find some with extra seals or pre-bent arms and legs. All of these assist in keeping water out and body heat in.
A BCD is a buoyancy compensator. It is an all in one dive device, carrying your tank and gear and allowing you to float and achieve buoyancy.
When trying out your BCD, make sure you wear it with all of your other equipment. This includes your mask, flippers, and any mouthpieces. This will let you test the comfort level and see if you have any snagging or parts that do not fit.
Make sure the BCD does not squeeze too tightly once you have inflated it. It should not restrict movement or breathing.
Dive Right In
Now you have your scuba gear selected, it is time for your dive. Remember that many dive centers will rent full scuba gear to you, so discuss this with them before buying a whole set of brand new gear.
If you found our guide helpful, then browse the rest of our blog. We have some great articles on sport and recreation equipment to get you into the great outdoors starting today!