The day has finally come, and after months of research and training, you’ve been certified to scuba dive. But even though you have your certification card in hand, there are still some things that will make your first few trips easier. These five items should be the first purchases that any scuba diver makes.
1. Weight Belt
Even if you’re snorkeling, it is important to wear a weight belt so that you sink to the bottom quickly and don’t have to fight against your buoyancy all day. It is even more essential for scuba diving because you must carry all of your gear while underwater. You need enough weight so that you won’t float up too much when ascending or descending in the water column, which could cause a dangerous situation with the bends.
Your fins are essential to getting around the waters quickly and efficiently. They also allow you to move away from sharp objects that you don’t want near your legs, including urchins, sea cucumbers, corals, rocks, and shells. Without them, you could easily get hurt by touching any of these things without being able to feel them through your boots. For beginning divers who may not be very strong swimmers yet, a fin with a split toe will give more support for kicking through the water so that they can swim using less energy. Even if you have great swimming skills, investing in good fins is still important because it lets you move faster underwater when exploring, especially when you want to get back to your group or make it to the boat in time.
3. Mask and Snorkel
For your mask, make sure that there is a good seal between your face and the rubber around the edges of the mask so that all of the air inside it will keep it afloat if you let go. You can test this by placing it underwater while holding onto both sides of it, then gently letting go without taking a breath. The popped-up goggles should remain on top of the water until you’re ready to put them on for snorkeling or scuba diving. A good-fitting mask will also prevent a bad case of bubbles from forming around your nose when you take it off after diving, which can sting and irritate.
4. Regulator and Octopus
One important rule while scuba diving is that no one should be more than 50 feet away from a buddy, who will always carry an octopus or regulator on them in case of any problems with the primary equipment. The regulator lets the diver breathe from either air tanks on their back or a gas tank on their belt, while the octopus contains an alternate mouthpiece for sharing air if necessary.
5. Wetsuit or Dry Suit
A wetsuit will keep you warm during cold ocean dives, while a dry suit protects against rapid temperature changes, which can happen when diving at high latitudes. Not only is a wetsuit perfect for many locations around warmer waters, but they are also much less expensive than a dry suit – so if you’re not sure which type of diving might interest you more in the future, go with the cheaper option. If nothing else, wearing a wetsuit will help keep your skin from getting sunburned on those hot, sunny days at the beach.