We Know: All About Buying Scuba Diving Gear

What Gear Do I Need?

Scuba diving requires the use of specialized equipment so that you can dive deeper and stay underwater longer than you would normally be able to. It is critical that your scuba equipment list is complete, and the gear must all be in good shape.

For normal dives, you'll need the following equipment:

  • Either a closed-circuit rebreather apparatus, or an open-circuit Aqua-Lung, developed by Jacqaues Couseau and Emile Gagnan
  • Tightly-sealing diving mask or goggles
  • Wetsuit or drysuit, unless the water you're diving in is very warm; in warm areas, ask a salesperson at a dive shop what you should wear in the area to protect your skin. Unfortunately, many previously diveable areas have been polluted to the extent that diving with no protection can damage your skin.
  • Diving weights and/or buoyancy compensators to help you dive and resurface at a controlled pace.
  • Diving gloves and boots in cold water
  • Fins and a backplate to help stabilize you in the water
  • Optionally, you can rent or buy a diver propulsion vehicle to increase your range
  • Dive computer (or wristwatch equipped with depth gauge)
  • Compass and distance line to help navigate

Optionally, you can opt for a variety of underwater tools to allow you to take specimens or pictures, to see better, and to communicate with other divers.

  • Underwater writing slate and pencil
  • Torch or flashlight/
  • Underwater camera and housing
  • Dry box, knife, and other tools you may need underwater.

Is Used Scuba Gear Okay?

Used scuba gear is fine, as long as it's sold by a reliable dealer or someone with dive credentials. It's probably a bad idea to buy scuba gear from, say, a pawn shop or a consignment store because the salesperson available doesn't necessarily know what makes the gear good or bad.

You should consider carefully whether you want to buy a wetsuit or drysuit used. These underwater garments work best if fitted to you, and while a qualified dive shop can ensure you get just the right fit, it's a little harder to do when looking at the wetsuit in some guy's garage.

Where Should I Buy New Gear?

Ideally, scuba gear should be purchased the first time in the area where you're going to dive from a qualified dive shop. The salesperson there can help you figure out what you really need in the area you're diving and make sure you're fully equipped. After the first time, if you're diving in the same area, it's fine to order replacement gear online.

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