If you’re looking for information on scuba diving or diving gear, you’ve come to the right place. We feel that scuba diving is one of those experiences that should be on everyone’s bucket list to be tried at least once. It’s been described as the closest feeling you can get to the weightlessness of space. You have the ability to move freely in all directions. As you can imagine it does come with its own very definite rules on safety.
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As divers we are always looking for insights into new places around the world to scuba dive. As well as the more obvious tried and tested places, we look for the lesser known dive sites to bring you something different.
Scuba Diving Gear
Buying the right scuba gear is crucial as costs can soon mount up. We recommend that you make sure that you’re definitely keen on the sport before committing to such an investment. To mitigate the risk of poor investment, we’ve compiled our favourites into bite sized guides that you can consume at your leisure and buy when you’re ready.
Having a comfortable mask that doesn’t leak is vital to your enjoyment. It’s something that you don’t want to leave to chance as an ill-fitting mask will surely leak and will ruin your diving experience
There are many things to consider when buying a mask and we cover all the essentials in this complete guide.
Our top Pick: ScubaPro Synergy 2
Fin choice is a personal thing and your preference will probably evolve over time with experience.
Just bear in mind that the stiffer the fin blade the greater the propulsion but the more power and effort it will take to kick.
For a full run down on fin choice read our full guide.
Our top Pick: Mares Superchannel
There’s quite a lot to consider when buying a dive bag. Will you be travelling with it? How much gear will you need to carry?
A lot of divers will essentially have 2 dive bags, one large one to travel with and a mesh bag to enable you to rinse your gear while it’s inside the bag.
We wade through your options and help you to come to a conclusion that’s right for you
Our top Pick: Cressi Roller Bag
Are you a beginner to scuba diving? Or are you looking for a computer that can incorporate some technical diving?
These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before buying.
We take a deep dive into what’s available and do all the research for you.
Our top Pick: Cressi Giotto
If you are like us you’ll want to take your BCD with you on your trips, after all if you’re going to make such an investment you want to use it on your travels too.
If this is the case you may want to go for a design that’s targeting the lightweight travel market.
Our preference is to go for a good all round BCD. Our guide will assist in your decision making process.
Our top Pick: Cressi AquaPro
Dive lights are not just for night diving, if you’ve never used a good torch you are missing out.
Illuminating corel and tropical marine life with a good strong torch really brings out the true vibrant colours.
Some are definitely better than others though and it’s worth running through our guide.
Our top Pick: SOLA Dive 1200
This is not classed as an essential piece of dive kit but if you’re going to venture into wreck diving you wouldn’t be without one.
In fact some divers would not consider diving without a knife just for the security of knowing that it’s there if required.
There are many styles to consider and we walk you through them all right here.
Our top Pick: Promate Barracuda
I don’t know about you but I’m a bit of a sucker for a nice watch. I do like them to have a practical side though as well as looking good. I love my water sports so I tend to go for a good quality dive watch. Check out our guide for a full low down on what’s out there.
Our top Pick: Pantor Seahorse
Mitigating Risk when Scuba Diving
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Scuba diving is an adventure sport that can be thrilling and exciting, but it also comes with dangers. It’s important to train in a regulated environment with qualified instructors. Alternatively, there are opportunities to participate in what’s called “try dives” at holiday locations around the world, but you must still make sure that these try dives are provided by qualified dive instructors with experience of leading groups.
Once you’ve ascertained these details and you’re confident in your instructor – the incredible underwater world awaits with all its wonders.
Our goal with the articles in and around scuba diving is to provide you with the best guides on dive locations, up-to-date gear guides and general scuba news and insights from around the world.
What is scuba diving and how does it work
Scuba diving is an adventure sport that consists of wearing a scuba set to enable you to breathe underwater. This is done by using a regulator, which offers a supply of compressed air from the surface to the diver through a tube called a demand valve. Scuba diving gives you the opportunity to explore depths that are inaccessible without this equipment.
Scuba gear – what you need to know
If you’re starting out, we recommend that you don’t rush out and buy all the dive gear you can lay your hands on. This can be pretty expensive and if you decide that the sport isn’t for you then you’ve wasted your money. We recommend that you get the essentials such as mask, fins and snorkel, and rent the rest until you’re sure that diving is for you.
Scuba diving equipment includes:
- Dive mask & snorkel
- Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
- Scuba regulator
- Aqua lung (Air tank)
- Dive computer
- Dive Knife
- Dive Light
- Dive boots
- Dive watch
Take a look at our gear guides to get an understanding of the requirements and a rough idea of the costs involved.
Scuba Diving Courses
When you take a scuba diving course, there’s a lot that you can learn about the sport. The courses are designed to give you the skills and knowledge required for safe diving. As well as learning how to use the equipment, you’ll also cover things such as dive theory, safety procedures and first aid. You can usually find a course to suit your needs, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver.
There are different levels of scuba diving courses, and these are generally:
- Open Water Diver
- Advanced Open Water
- Rescue Diver
- Master Scuba Diver
- Instructor level courses
The above are relative to PADI dive levels but all agencies follow a similar pattern of grading experience and study.
There are lots of dive agencies to choose from, and it’s wise to be comfortable with your choice. Your best method for selection is to see which agencies offer training in your area, check out their website and get a feel for the course. A good starting point is to check out our BSAC versus Padi article which has a dive agency comparison chart.
Once you have chosen a reputable provider you can sign up for the course, which takes around four to six weeks. You’ll need to do some homework before you take your first dive and learn all about diving theory etc., but don’t worry – it’s really not as hard as it seems!
Scuba Diving Certification
When you complete your scuba diving certification, after having completed training with your agency of choice, you will receive your Open Water Diver certification which is internationally recognized. This means that wherever in the world you choose to scuba dive, this qualification allows you to do so without any additional training.
Types of Scuba Diving
Recreational Scuba Diving / Sports diving
Scuba diving for recreational purposes is the most common type of scuba diving. Non-commercial diving, it’s a hobby which you’ll perhaps do on vacation, mostly in an exotic location where the waters have great visibility and you get to experience lots of marine animals.
Most recreational divers will own a limited to modest amount of scuba equipment.
Diving on wrecks can be a very exciting but potentially dangerous activity. The allure of diving on sunken ships, planes or automobiles is the lure of something that’s forbidden, or awakens a curiosity to explore the site of a historical disaster.
There are many opportunities on wrecks for lines to snag, and for diver disorientation. For these reasons, training prior to diving on a wreck is a must.
Diving in caves is similar to wrecks, it’s potentially hazardous and must be trained for, diving with a buddy who has a great deal of cave diving experience is essential for your first dive after cave dive training.
This type of diving goes beyond recreational limits and involves more complex planning, dive gear and training. Technical divers often explore advanced wreckages, caves and other more challenging sites.
Technical divers will have a greater amount of equipment, which is often gas-integrated. In some cases technical divers can be self-sufficient on dives lasting many hours using rebreather equipment at depths much greater than recreational limits.
Commercial diving is the umbrella term for anyone working in and around diving as a profession. This can include anything from dive masters, to boat crew, to underwater photographers.
This is a big topic which we cover in very in-depth articles above, ‘scuba diving dangers’ and ‘what divers should do for their own safety’.