Get Your Gear On – What Do I need?


So you have been certified and gone on some exciting, or maybe a little scary, dives using rental equipment. Which, by the way, is a good thing to do when you first begin scuba diving. You may decide (Though I can’t imagine why!) that scuba diving is not the right fit for you or there is some other reason that you decide not to continue with scuba diving. But if you know that you will pursue this incredible sport, you may want to start by purchasing some basic equipment.

Here is some suggestions on what scuba gear you may want to buy and at what point in your diving experience:


A wetsuit would be the first piece of scuba gear that we would suggest you purchase. The purpose of the diving wetsuit is to allow the water between you and your wetsuit to heat up and keep you warm and comfortable during your dive. Fit is very important here.

If the wetsuit is too large, the cool water will flow in and the warm water will flow out. In this case, you might as well not even have one on because you will not have the warmth you need to keep you comfortable. On the other hand, if the diving wetsuit is too small, it will be difficulty to get on and off and may cut off blood flow. That is not a good thing, obviously!  It is critical that the wetsuit fits you properly so that you are warm and comfortable on your dive.

Now for another very good reason to buy a diving wetsuit versus renting one: Mother Nature calls at the most inopportune times….we all know this. No matter what you want to think, at some point, all divers are going to have to relieve themselves during a dive.

I know it is not the most pleasant subject but it is reality. Although dive centers soak rental wetsuits in disinfectant and then hang them to dry after wetsuits have been worn on a dive, this process is usually inadequate to kill all the bacteria that may be present.

So you get the drift. I don’t know about you, but I would prefer to leave the pee pee suits for someone else! Nuf said.


Snorkel, Fins, Mask

When you are just starting out scuba diving, the dive equipment can get expensive and add up quickly, so you will probably want to buy a couple pieces at a time, beginning with a good-fitting mask, fins, snorkel, booties and other smaller accessories.

Of course, you can always rent these without a problem.


For more info on finding the right scuba mask, check out my scuba mask blog here.

Dive Computers

Although dive computers can be very expensive, it is a must-have piece of equipment to purchase early on. You do your planning before a dive but cannot plan 100% for possible unexpected events that may require a quick change in that plan.

Having your own personal dive computer can provide you data like dive depth, your bottom time, water temperature, ascent rate, decompression stops, and other information you may need. A dive computer can also make logging the dive easier by giving you the data about your dive.




For most scuba divers, a good mid-range cost BCD will be a good chose for most of their needs. You will want to purchase a BCD that fits you well and is sturdy. You should also familiarize yourself with  how the pockets are arranged on the BCD, how the weight system works if weights are incorporated in the BCD, and other features included with the BCD. If the weights are not incorporated in the BCD, you will need to purchase a separate  weight belt and weights. Knowing the features of your BCD well will help you have a more relaxed diving experience.



The pros to owning your own regulator includes being able to set it up the way you you want and having the assurance of knowing when and where your regulator was serviced last.

Consider all the features that you may need or want according to your diving style and needs. Because they can get expensive, you want to chose a regulator that will work for you for quite a while.

Now for the cons, you may want to hold off purchasing a regulator until you are diving on a frequent basis since they can be pretty costly and heavy.


Pre Dive Checklist

The most important pre-dive safety activity is to perform a Buddy Check. This is a Pre-Dive Safety check that should be performed by every diver no matter what their level of diving proficiency. To perform this check, each diver and his/her buddy inspect each others’ scuba equipment before descending on a dive.  The Buddy Check ensures that your equipment is working properly.  It allows you familiarizes yourself with your buddy’s equipment should you need to assist or receive assistance from him/her.

All divers should perform the pre-dive safety check before each and every dive to decrease the chances of having a scuba diving  accident or incident. It is never a good idea to skip the pre-dive safety check, even though many divers do just that! If you are renting your scuba equipment , you cannot be 100% sure that is was set up properly unless you inspect it yourself. Again, each diver should always inspect his own gear and perform a buddy check before each descent.


PADI’s  use the mnemonic “BWRAF” to make it easier to remember the components of the pre-dive check.

BWRAF stands for: 

  • BCD. Check your BCD. Make sure that it is properly adjusted, in good operational use, and that the low pressure inflator connection is tight. Also, make sure that your tank is adjusted properly so that you are safe and comfortable throughout your dive as well.
  • WEIGHTS. Check your Weights. The belt should be already set up with an ease of access for right hand release. Ensure that you are not over-weighing yourself and that your quick release is easily accessible should you need to quickly dump the weights.
  • RELEASES. Check your buddy’s Releases. This is of utmost importance for the safety of your buddy. Know where the releases are, and how they work. Go so far as to ensure that you can find them with your eyes closed; you need to find these in an instant should something go wrong.
  • AIR. Check your Air. Make sure that your tank is completely filled with air and make sure that you have enough for the dive you’ve planned. Make sure that the valves are open and that the regulators are fully functional. While checking your own air, also make sure you know where your buddy’s octopus is and how to use it.


PADI uses a mnemonic to help divers remember the pre-dive check list BWRAF: Begin With Review And Friend. Divers have also come up with several different mnemonics to help them remember.  Here are some examples:

  • Beans With Rice And Fish
  • Bruce Willis Ruins All Films
  • Breathing Water Really Ain’t Fun
  • Big White Rabbits Are Fluffy
  • Because WReally Are Friends
  • Blonde Women Really Are Fun
  • Burgers With Relish And Fries
  • Bunnies Will Run Away Fast
  • BWilling Ready And Fun



First Things First – Get Certified!

If you are not already a certified diver, you need to get certified by  a recreational certification agency. The two most popular and largest agencies are PADI and NAUI.

PADI is the world’s largest and most respected scuba diving training organization. They are ISO Standards Compliant and have courses for all levels of diver expertise, tons of  educational information available, and business opportunities and support. In addition, they are a growing force concerned with increasing environmental awareness and protection philosophies that emphasize the importance of protecting fragile aquatic ecosystems. You can check it out at and get more info at

NAUI’s  has a global reputation for the best in training and educational products.  They too have some of the highest training standards in the recreational diving industry and are also highly regarded for our Technical Diver Training. Like PADI, they are committed to preservation and conservation of our underwater environment.  See more at

Below is a complete list of all the agencies:

You have to choose which is right for you. So get out there, educate yourself, get certified and get diving!!! You will be glad you did!