Do you look like an underwater yard sale while diving? Are you losing pieces of gear during your dives? Have you ever had a piece of dangling dive gear entangled? If so, this article will help you get your gear all cleaned up and streamlined.
The more streamlined you keep your gear and body in the water column, the more efficient and safe you will be. Also, if you keep your gear from dragging around and dangling all over the place you are less likely to damage aquatic life!
Here are some ways to stow your gear that will keep it in the same place each time you dive. This helps develop muscle memory which in turn results in faster response times to deploying gear when needed.
When divers add flashlights to their kit it is usually tied off to their wrist or dangling around somewhere. With the use of a bolt snap, line, and bungee you can get it out of the way when not in use. Check out the pics below and see how you can adapt these modifications to your own gear.
Attaching Line Cutters
Unless your spearfishing, pumpkin carving, or a few other random activities that I can think of, you probably don't need a dive knife. If you decide to use a knife for your diving activities you can do a lot with some cable ties and your bcd to keep it nice and tidy. Also, the inside of your calf is a pretty good place to stow it with knife straps. Line cutters are a much more efficient tool to use to cut yourself free of entanglement. They are much easier to stow and keep streamlined to your body. Try attaching them to your dive computer to keep them out of the way and easy to get to. Check out the pics below
Attaching Slates and other accessories.
Many divers employ the use of underwater slates for more complex communication underwater. They are normally bulky pieces of gear that dangle all over the place. Instead of buying a big slate, consider a wrist slate. My personal favorite is wet notes that I can stick in my thigh pocket. My drysuit has a thigh pocket on each side. If you don't own a drysuit that is no big deal. We sell glue-on thigh pockets that work nicely on wetsuits. We also sell a pair of shorts that go over your wetsuit that have thigh pockets on it. Thigh pockets are a great addition on how Check out the pics below.
Snaps VS Retractors
I believe that bolt snaps are a much better option than retractors and lanyards in most cases. Bolt snaps are much less bulky and keep gear more streamline. Some divers are intimidated with using a bolt snap and fear dropping gear and losing it. However, just some above water practice deploying and stowing equipment will prove that it is not a problem. Buy good quality stainless steel snaps. Zinc snaps will corrode and the gate will jam or you will be unable to open them just in a few dives in salt water. Even in fresh water the cheaper snaps gate spring will begin to rust and you will have trouble using them. We sell SS snaps that are always available at the dive shop.
Octo and Boat Snaps
Try using a small bolt snap with some bungee or large o-ring to clip off your octo to avoid dangling. This works better than most manufactured octo holders. All you have to do it pull the octo off and it will pop away from the bungee with ease.
Learn a Hand Signal
Below is the hand signal to say, "You good sir, have a dangley". You should use this hand signal to help your dive buddy police their dive gear
I get this question often. My answer is always the same. If you are going to be a diver, yes! Owning your equipment plays a big part to you comfort and safety underwater. It makes your more confident and safe while diving. There are many benefits to owning your own equipment. Lets look at some ways that owning your equipment makes your a better and safer diver. Also, I've included some tips for your consideration when you decide to make your gear purchase.
Familiarity Builds Confidence:
Diving with the same piece of equipment every time that you dive will build confidence in yourself and in your gear. You can customize your gear and add accessories that stay put. When you rent different gear every time you dive, you will have to relearn where everything is. Being familiar with your equipment will drastically cut down response time to issues. For instance, knowing where your line cutter is during an entanglement issue will make the situation go much smoother rather than having to search for it. After purchasing your new equipment and getting your accessories placed, you should go to a pool or a familiar dive site and work on developing muscle memory and practicing skills with it. This builds confidence. I will put my BCD on in my house and practice taking on and off the line cutter, lights, reels, and etc. This makes me more efficient and confident when i’m diving. Never believe that without practicing these skills that you will be able to perform well when its needed. I’ve heard it said, “the worst you perform during training will be the best you perform during an emergency”. Practice makes proficient.
What should I buy?
Most divers already own their personal gear (mask, fins, snorkel, wetsuit, and boots). The life support system is considered: the regulator system, the BCD, cylinder, and the dive computer. In my opinion, you need to own the following at minimum; dive computer, regulator system, and BCD. There are generally 2 ways to buy your equipment. Piece by piece or a complete package. You will save a good deal of money when you buy a complete system. Many manufactures offer discounts that save several hundred dollars when you buy a gear package. Check out these packages below.
However, if you decided to buy your gear piece by piece I would suggest that your purchase a dive computer first. Not all dive shops rent dive computers and this is especially true if your going on a trip out of the country. Owning and learning your dive computer is one big part of your diving safety. The dive computer at minimum monitors your ascent rate, your no decompression limits, your depth, surface interval, and most even log the dive profile. There are many makes and models with tons of bells and whistles. Most entry level dive computers can be bought for around $250-$300. Chose one that meets your diving needs and don’t buy twice.
New or used?
Buying used gear sometimes can cost you more money than buying brand new gear. The first thing you must do when buying used equipment is to have it serviced by an authorized gear technician for that particular brand. Gear must be serviced yearly. Don’t chance it and kill yourself trying to save money. Die of something awesome instead. You cannot survive underwater without properly working equipment. There are parts that move every time you breathe and they take wear every time you breathe. It will wear out. If you cannot afford to have it serviced, you cannot afford to own equipment. Rent instead. Simple. Rant over. If someone local cannot do the service, the gear will have to be sent off. That generally takes at least 2 weeks. Most shops charges $35-$50 per stage (A reg set has one 1st stage and two 2nd stages) plus the rebuild parts. That can cost you around $200-$250 per year. Buy the time you pay for the used gear and have it serviced, you may have more invested than if you bought new gear. You need to take that into consideration when purchasing.
If you have any questions about purchasing gear please feel free to contact us! We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. Thanks!
The Dive Blog
Diving tips, techniques, and disciplines for safe diving.