There are approximately 2.6 million active U.S. scuba divers at any given time. Like most outdoor activities, there are always new people looking to give the hobby a try. Unlike most hobbies, scuba diving is more common near coastal areas where the diving industry is concentrated.
Of course, new divers need more than just a willing spirit. They also need the right equipment for the task.
Are you thinking of taking up scuba diving or getting a loved one involved? If so, then keep reading for the scuba diving essentials that you’ll need to have before that first lesson.
Basic Scuba Diving Gear
There are some core pieces of equipment that no scuba diver can be without. Right at the top of the list is a scuba mask. The mask lets you get a look at the wonders beneath the surface.
You’ll also need scuba fins. Those will provide you with the thrust you need to get from place to place underwater.
Don’t forget about the wetsuit. Scuba wetsuits come in a couple of different materials and thicknesses.
They all, however, serve the function of providing your body with insulation from the cold water. You can see more here about wetsuits.
One final piece of indispensable equipment is your regulator. Your regulator converts the pressurized air in your tank to something you can breathe.
New divers typically rent their air tanks for a while because they’re one of the pricier pieces of dive equipment. If you find yourself hooked on diving, though, you will eventually want a tank of your own.
A dive computer essentially tracks your depth, time underwater, and how long you can remain at a given depth. It’s a safety device that lets you make informed decisions about when to ascend to the surface.
A buoyancy compensator is typically a vest or harness device. Its primary function is to help you maintain a specific depth, rather than sinking or rising in an uncontrolled manner.
Other Scuba Diving Accessories
There are a number of other accessories that divers routinely carry, such as a compass, submersible pressure gauge, and depth gauge. Many divers also prefer to use scuba gloves, as they can help prevent injuries to your hands.
You may also want dive lights and an underwater camera to help document your dives. As a basic safety precaution, don’t forget about a first aid kit. After all, you don’t want to wait until you get back to shore to treat minor injuries.
Scuba Diving Essentials and You
Before you rush out to buy the scuba diving essentials listed above, you should take a diving course with a certified scuba diving instructor. They can help you separate out the gear you absolutely need for a safe dive from the gear that is nice to have but not crucial.
Also, scuba diving is physically taxing. So, you may want to do some endurance training in advance.
Looking for more tips on physical activities? Check out our Health and Fitness sections.