What Equipment Do You Need to Start Diving?

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What is diving or scuba diving?

It is the perfect sport for those who want to explore the wonders that are in the depths of the sea and the oceans. There are only two types of diving, recreational, the most widespread among those who practice it, and the professional, which refers to those who profit from this activity, whether as monitors, aquarium maintenance, water tanks or reservoirs, underwater photographers, biologists, etc.

What should you know before you start diving?

It is very important that it is clear that diving is not a danger-free activity, much less. It is an extreme sport underwater and your safety depends on the knowledge you have been taught (and learned), the environment where you dive, and the guide, monitor, or partner that accompanies you.

Due to the risk involved, it is mandatory to get a license in underwater activities. Before starting you will have to pass a medical check that authorizes you to practice scuba diving, since there are some limitations in the human body that prevent going down to great depths without suffering some kind of problem, such as in the ears.

Diving Equipment

Good diving equipment is essential for diving safely. It helps to breathe underwater, protects the skin, regulates buoyancy and makes swimming as easy as possible. A complete diving equipment is quite expensive but fortunately it can be rented at most dive shops and schools. This way you can first test the different parts before purchasing them. The following parts are part of the standard diving equipment.

First, we will detail the equipment that you must have before starting a diving course.

1. The diving suit – Wet and Dry

Also known as a wetsuit for the material from which it is made or simply diving suit, this essential component of the diving equipment fulfills the very important mission of maintaining our body temperature during the dive, that is, keeping us as warm as possible. Within the diving suits, we have several classifications. The main classification we can do is:

Wet diving suits: Pass a limited amount of water that is trapped between our skin and the wetsuit. They are the most common diver suits. These are usually made of neoprene and fit well to the body. Between the suit and the body there is a thin layer of water that is first heated by the body and then creates an insulating effect. A wet diving suit is between 2 and 8 mm thick and is also available in different models with coverage for the hands, head and feet.

Top wet suits for diving:

Dry diving suits are less tight to the body and are worn over a layer of clothing. Due to the tight closures (seals) on the wrists, ankles, and neck the water is kept out. Therefore, dry suits offer better insulation when diving in colder waters or during winter. Dry suits are more expensive and also cause more resistance to swimming than a tight wet suit.

Top dry suits for diving: 

2. Boots, booties and gloves

The suit can be complemented with booties (spines or booties) and diving gloves to keep warm. They are neoprene bootsThey prevent the fins from rubbing us and keep our feet warm during the dive, especially in cold climates. Like wetsuits, these diving equipment components have different thicknesses, the most common being 3 and 5mm. They can have a rigid or flexible sole and have a high boot or shoe type. Your choice will depend on the type of diving we practice and especially on the procedures for entering the water. If we usually enter the water from stone beaches or rocky areas, hard-soled scuba diving boots are usually very helpful, however if you frequently dive from a boat, without the need to walk on uneven surfaces, soft or semi-soled booties -Rigid will fulfill its function without problem.

On this page you can read more about booties and diving boots .

On this page you can read more about diving gloves .

Top boots, booties for diving: 

3. Diving and snorkeling mask

Wearing good diving goggles, divers prefer to talk about a diving mask, they are essential for diving. The ultimate goal of diving is to be able to see everything that is underwater. Therefore a diving mask has to be comfortable and allow a field of vision as wide as possible. The silicone edges of the masks fit in general very well to the diver’s face. A good mask also includes the nose and also has an adjustable strap so it can be adapted and the mask has the perfect fit. Read more about the components and materials of the diving mask and snorkel (tube).

It is better to use snorkeling if you stay on the surface of the water. Therefore, snorkeling is generally part of the standard diving equipment. See also the page on snorkeling material.

4. Diving fins

The fins are used by divers to move more flexibly underwater. A good diving fin has a firm length, which is often achieved using vertical and firm edges from the side of the foot towards the end. That also ensures that less water slides down the side of the blade, which will result in less resistance and therefore a lower speed. The width of the fin should be flexible. This is achieved, for example, by placing a series of rubber strips along the length, so that the fin becomes hollow during swimming.

Many times it is enough to have simple fins for snorkeling but for diving, it is important to have fins that allow you to move with speed and depth. When buying, an adjustable fin (open heel) is often chosen so that they can be worn with booties. Read more about diving fins.

Top Diving Fins

5. Regulator and diving bottle

A diving bottle is always carried when diving, also called a compressed air bottle or diving cylinder, which contains compressed air. The regulator regulates this pressure back to ambient pressure and conducts air through a hose to the nozzle of the diver. The ambient pressure depends on the depth of the diver. On the surface, the pressure is 1 bar and every 10 meters that go down underwater, the pressure increases with 1 bar. A snorkel is generally used when the diver remains on the surface of the water to save valuable compressed air. For sports diving, a regulator consisting of two stages is usually used (the first stage is connected to the faucet of the diving bottle and the second stage is in the mouthpiece). Read more about the regulator.

Top Regulator and diving bottle

second alternative stage (ALV), better known as octopus, is also part of the basic equipment. The octopus is actually a replacement regulator. This is used when the main automaton fails or as an air supply for another diver (if he for example has no more air). The octopus is usually yellow and has a long hose.

There are diving bottles made of different materials, such as aluminum, steel and carbon. They also come in various sizes, the most common are 10, 12 or 15 liters and usually have a loading pressure of 230 or 300 bar. It should be understood that both the diving bottle and the regulator are essential elements during diving. Always ensure that this material is in good condition. Rent or buy only at trusted addresses!

Important in standard diving equipment: Bottle and diving vest and regulator

6. The diving vest (BCD) and ballast belt

The diving vest is used to place the regulator, the ballast belt and the compressed air bottle. The ballast belt can be integrated into the vest or can be worn separately. The vest and ballast belt are placed on top of the diving suit and both serve to regulate the buoyancy of the diver. The more lead in the belt and less air in the vest, the more the diver will descend. To be able to climb again you must fill the vest with air.

7. Diving instruments in the diving equipment

Each diver needs diving instruments that provide data on depth and pressure in the diving bottle. Therefore the traditional diving equipment includes a depth gauge and a pressure gauge. The pressure gauge indicates the remaining pressure and in fact gives information about the amount of air or gas left in the diving bottle. The depth gauge and pressure gauge can be attached to a diving console. An underwater compass and a diving watch are often added to standard equipment. Nowadays you also dive a lot with a dive computer.