Investing in scuba equipment is a big commitment. Knowing which items are essential and which can be purchased later is helpful to ensure you get the best gear to ensure you get the best gear.
Help your favorite scuba diver stay comfortable with an insulated dive vest, or purchase a pair of unique scuba socks that prevent painful blisters. They’ll also appreciate a waterproof dry bag that can accommodate their essentials.
1. Dive Computer
A dive computer takes the guesswork out of managing your bottom time, depth, N2 loading, and decompression status. Modern dive computers are small and powerful, with features that help ensure divers stay within safe diving limits and return to the surface safely.
A good dive computer will show you your current depth in feet or meters and display a maximum depth on an alternate screen (or via a numerical display). It will have the ability to track your total dive time and allow you to set your dive profile. It will offer decompression algorithms with a no-decompression limit, and it may also have an oxygen saturation bar graph to indicate the nitrogen level in your blood.
Like any equipment, your dive computer can be a liability if you rely too heavily on it. Always review your dive computer’s functions and read its user manual thoroughly. Always rinse your dive computer after every use, avoid direct sunlight, and store it securely.
A wetsuit is one of the most significant innovations in dive gear, keeping divers warm and protected from abrasions, sun exposure, stings from marine organisms, and water temperature extremes. Made of foamed neoprene, wetsuits trap your body’s heat between the suit and cold water to help prevent hypothermia, a dangerous drop in core body temperature.
Wetsuits come in various thicknesses depending on the water temperature where you intend to dive. The thickness of the Neoprene is indicated by different numbers in the wetsuit’s description: X, Y, and Z. The thicker the warmer the suit.
A full wetsuit covers your entire body, from the neck to your knees and ankles. Other wetsuit options include shorties, spring suits, farmer johns and jeans with sleeveless arms and shorter legs, three-quarter suits with longer legs, and dry suits for the most extreme waters. The right wetsuit should be snug but not too tight to keep your body’s heat from escaping. It should also include a hood to protect your head and face from jellyfish and other stinging sea creatures that could injure you on a dive.
The BCD (buoyancy compensator device) is the most complex piece of equipment you’ll own as a scuba diver. It’s also one of the most important for safety and comfort. Choosing the right one for your dive is critical to the success of your Grand Cayman scuba diving adventure.
Most divers start their scuba diving journey with a jacket-style BCD. These are worn just like a comfortable dive jacket with adjustable shoulder straps, a cummerbund, and a waist buckle and can be fitted with integrated weight systems that remove the need for a separate weight belt.
A jacket BCD will feel familiar to most new scuba divers as they are often the ones their dive instructor taught them. They are easy to use and have a comfortable feel to them. Adding air with the inflator hose and then removing it by venting to adjust buoyancy can be quickly done.
This process allows you to achieve neutral buoyancy on the surface and maintain perfect neutral buoyancy throughout your dive. When this is accomplished through proper training, scuba divers will have ingrained muscle memory operating their BCD, allowing them to focus more on developing their buoyancy control skillset.
The regulator allows you to breathe compressed air in your scuba tank. The regulator’s first stage converts the high-pressure air into ambient pressure so you can breathe it. A diaphragm-style first stage is suitable for cold water diving since it’s protected from freezing conditions and won’t freeze up as quickly.
A balanced scuba regulator delivers a steady airflow regardless of tank pressure for an effortless breathing experience underwater. Getting a DIN connection for a more secure fit on tank valves is also a good idea.
An essential piece of gear, a mask protects a diver’s face and allows them to see underwater. The best masks fit perfectly and comfortably on the face without gaps around the nose and mouth. They also have a flexible nose pocket that allows the diver to equalize quickly.
In the wake of the Coronavirus, divers may opt for NIOSH-approved masks like the KN95 or N95 respirator. This mask is more effective than a standard diving mask, as it filters out airborne droplets and prevents respiratory transmission.
The best masks are durable, comfortable, and easy to clean. To keep your mask in good condition, sanitize it after each use and before touching it. When removing it, never touch the front of the mask, but instead pull it off using the ties or ear loops. Store it in a breathable bag to allow any remaining germs to die off before using it again. Be sure to try several masks to find the perfect one for you.
Before you buy a regulator, ask yourself where you’ll be diving most often. Do you want to explore icy depths or stick with warm tropical reefs? Your answers will help you choose a regulator that’s a perfect match for your upcoming adventures.
You’ll be happy to know that the top-tier models are lightweight, comfortable, and durable. Some even feature an environmental dry system to keep the main spring chamber free of ice, silt, and saltwater.