Scuba diving is an exciting hobby that many adventurous people would like to try. The Earth’s oceans are the last frontier on the planet, largely unexplored and mysterious. Scuba diving allows individuals to venture into the depths of the seas and experience a beautiful underwater world. Scuba diving, contrary to popular believe, requires more than just diving into the water with an air tank. Scuba diving requires lessons and a rigorous training process that informs divers about how to handle situations and how to maintain safety. After all, in the depth of the ocean, the diver is essentially on his own. For beginner scuba divers, several pieces of equipment are needed before any dive can be undertaken. These pieces of equipment are a diver’s lifeline and should not be disrespected.
The first essential piece of equipment is a mask. Masks are used to keep water out of the face and eyes in order to provide the diver with good vision while underwater. Masks should be highly durable with scratch proof and impact resistant glass. The seal around the mask should also be tight and waterproof to keep the diver’s vision unobstructed. One way to test the seal around a mask is to put on the mask and breathe through the nose. A well sealed mask will stay stuck to the person’s face, while a mask with a poor seal will fall off. Masks also come in one or two lens models, depending on the preference of the diver.
Next, a scuba diver needs to purchase a snorkel. Snorkels are long tubes that can extend above the surface of the water to allow access to air through the mouth. The snorkel should fit the diver’s mouth comfortably and should attach to the mask snugly to prevent it from becoming dislodged during the dive.
Fins are also essential scuba diving equipment. Fins allow divers to move freely and efficiently in the water, producing more power and speed than could be produced with feet alone. Fins come in several models that vary in price. Inexpensive fins should be avoided as they can be inefficient and make a diver work more than necessary to propel him through the water. Ideally, divers should purchase split fins which are the most efficient kinds of fins available.
Divers also require a buoyancy compensator (BC). A BC is a vest that allows a diver to control his depth and buoyancy while in the water by using air from the air tank. Most of these vests also have weight belts or weight pockets that allow divers to add weight to reduce buoyancy. The purpose of a BC is to allow a diver to achieve neutral buoyancy while underwater, allowing the diver to move around freely.
Wetsuits and dry suits are also important for the beginning diver. Diving suits should fit well and be comfortable, allowing the diver excellent freedom of movement in the water. Wet and dry suits keep the diver warm in cold water to prevent against hypothermia. Diving suits need to be durable and puncture resistant. Wetsuits and dry suits are rated for certain depths. Beginning divers should ask their instructors at what depth they will be diving in order to purchase the correct suit for the situation. For divers that are diving in particularly cold water, a dry suit may be required. These suits are like wetsuits except they are sealed around the neck and wrists in order to keep cold water out. They are also better insulated and thicker. Most likely though, beginning divers will not be scuba diving in conditions frigid enough to warrant the use of a dry suit.
Finally, beginning divers will need a regulator. A regulator is a device that the diver places in his mouth to receive oxygen for breathing. The oxygen inside the air tank is highly pressurized. The regulator depressurizes the oxygen from the tank to levels that are breathable by the diver. Regulators also have an extra mouthpiece that can be used in emergencies by diving partners.