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. Some companies like Oceanic and Hollis offer great warranties and free parts for the rebuild for LIFE! That will save you around $100 per year in service parts. Check out below some of these offers:
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.