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The Basics On Purchasing Diving Equipment

Oct 12, 2007
Your diving equipment is not going to be a small financial investment. For beginners, a trip to the local scuba dive shop can be an informative place to start with regard to learning about what equipment you need.

Masks can run anywhere from $20 to $150. You'll have to consider construction, size and lens. Low-volume masks provide divers with less distortion, as well as more light transmission and peripheral vision.

A double-flanged face seal is a nice variation that ensures your mask remains watertight. Other options for this diving equipment include: anti-fogging, purge valves (to keep water out), nose pockets and adjustable straps.

Fins can be as little as $30 or as much as $200. Length, material and design will all need to be taken into consideration.

Different design variations include split fins, force fins, self-adjusting pivotal blades and vents. This piece of diving equipment is crucial because choosing the proper scuba fins can save energy, air and unnecessary hassle.

Regulators are among the most expensive diving equipment, running from $150 to $500. The main reason we buy this piece of diving equipment is to ensure proper air flow in any condition with the least amount of effort on our part.

As you descend deeper, remember that the air will get heavier and more difficult to move from the tank to you, so a good regulator will deal with this physics problem effectively.

Experienced divers recommend regulators with swivels and adjustable airflow stages, such as the Aqualung Legend LX or Oceanic Delta 3. Warranties are important, so consider brands with lifetime warranties.

Divers in warm coastal waters may choose thin, clingy wet suits that allow water to seep next to the body and keep divers warm. They can choose between short, long or overall styles. Cold water divers (in waters 60 degrees or less) will want more heavy duty dry suits.

Looser dry suits can be made out of several different kinds of material: neoprene, membrane or a hybrid of the two. A proper body suit is one of the most important pieces of diving equipment, because the comfort of your trip depends upon a good style and fit.

Buoyancy Compensators can also run $150 to $500. The most important factor here is the fit. You can choose back-mounted, flow-through or wrap-around diving equipment.

Female divers will be happy to know that the Oceanic Isla, Seaquest Diva and Scubapro Ladyhawk are all BCs made exclusively for women, with shorter waists and more comfortable chest straps. Most divers won't need to worry about purchasing extra lift capacity, unless they're diving in rough waters.

Hefty tanks will set you back $100 to $400. Aluminum tanks are widely used for their light weight; however, some people still prefer steel. Neutrally buoyant tanks are widely recommended by professionals.

Lighting systems range from $30 for the most basic incandescent hand light to $800 for a professional HID torch system. Cave and wreck divers or night divers will especially need to look into this piece of diving equipment.

Safety recommendations require that every cave diver have three separate light sources present -- one main and two backups. A wide-beamed primary light will illuminate a large area and is ideal for overcoming total darkness, while a brighter, smaller secondary light will reveal coral crevices and nooks.

Each year, you should take your diving equipment to the dive shop for its annual tune up. This is especially important for BCs and gauges. Rinse all scuba gear with fresh water, dry in the sun and store them in a cool dry place.

It's not unusual to have scuba equipment for thirty or forty years. While you may feel comfortable renting, you might be more inclined to participate in more outings if you've purchased the gear yourself.
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