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.
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.