Scuba diving is so much fun and exciting to do. To go scuba diving you will require some basic equipment first. These are the bare minimum you will need to be a safe diver.
As a rule of thumb, it is always better to keep things simple when it comes to equipment as the more bells and whistles you get the more complicated the dive becomes and it takes away from the pure enjoyment of scuba diving. So keep it simple.
Here is a list of the very basic gear you will need. The prices are just an average for the little better quality stuff than the really cheap stuff which is not worth the money. These prices are still for the low end of scuba gear though.
- Snorkel – $15
- Dive Mask – $35
- Fins – $50
- Dive knife – $15
- Wetsuit – $180
- BCD – (Buoyancy Control Device) – $300
- Regulator, Octopus, and BCD Inflation Line – $200
- Scuba Tank – $200
- Weight Belt – $20
- Pressure and Depth gauge – $200
- Dive Computer – $200
- Dive Light – $30
You might even get it a little cheaper if you buy combo packages of gear instead of each individual part.
If you are just starting out I would recommend using rental gear until you are sure that you actually enjoy scuba diving, even though I cannot imagine why not, lol.
Snorkels allow you to swim along the surface of the water without having to use your air in your tank. This is great for when you are doing a shore dive where the dive site might be a ways out and you have to swim. Or you surface away from your boat and have to swim back to it. Very handy.
There are many styles of snorkels and choosing one is really a matter of preference, so just pick one you like. Just make sure that the mouthpiece feels comfortable in your mouth.
Without a dive mask, everything underwater would be very blurry and irritating to the eyes. So a dive mask is really needed.
Choosing a dive mask is a decision based on what kind of diving you are going to be doing, the fit and comfort of the mask. There are various styles of masks but the three basic ones are ;
- Low Volume – Generally used for deeper dives
- Standard – These are the most common and universal of the masks and is generally what most people buy
- Three Sided – These give the best field of vision as they have side panels that give you a wider field of view
A good way to buy a dive mask is to tilt your head down and place the mask over your face, without the strap in place, and suck in through your nose so that the mask sticks to your face. Then let go of the mask and see if it falls off. If it stays on then it is a good fit for you. Make sure that when you do this that you brush all your hair out of the way first.
There are many other styles of dive masks but they are for more advanced diving and not really required in a basic scuba gear package.
Masks are made out of a variety of materials and you should look for the ones that give you the best seal and comfort for your face.
Just as a point of interest, when you are scuba diving, everything is magnified by about 3 X by the dive mask.
OceanPro Mako Open Heel Adjustable Scuba Diving Fins
Fins are also designed for different types of diving whether it is free diving, snorkeling, spearfishing, or scuba diving. There are basically two styles of fins, the closed heel fin, and the open heel fin. After that there are a large variety of styles and designs that will aid you in your dive, so choose according to where and what style of diving you will be doing.
For just regular sport diving any standard fins will be fine (Just like in the picture above). You can pick the pair that fits you the best and is the most comfortable.
A good dive knife is essential for diving. It is your go-to tool while exploring underwater and for getting you out of a pickle should you end up in one, like getting tangled in some line or entangled in some kelp while exploring a kelp forest.
Your dive knife should have a heavy blade that you can use for prying things, a good pommel to hit things with, a sharp straight edge, and a serrated edge.
Dive knives can be carried on the leg, arm or on your BCD. Always make sure that where ever you carry it, that it is easy to get to quickly.
The wetsuit! Wetsuits come in a huge variety of styles, thicknesses, and different kinds of material.
Choosing a wetsuit will depend on what kind of diving you are going to do and where. for example, the colder the water the thicker the suit and the more body coverage you want.
You can get them in all kinds of styles and fashions. So choose one that fits you well and will meet the needs of the area you plan on diving in.
Your BCD is what is used to control your buoyancy as well as act as a life preserver. Your scuba tank connects directly to it so that you can control the air bladders inside your BCD which control your buoyancy.
Your BCD also holds your scuba tank so pick one with a good strapping system for your tank.
They come in all kinds of styles and colors so choosing one depends on preference, functionality (does it have pockets, pouches, click on points etc.) and fit.
Regulator And Hose Attachments
The regulator is what attaches to your tank and feeds air for you to breath while under the water.
Choosing a regulator depends on how comfortable it is and quality. The higher the price, the better the quality.
You should also have a second regulator, called an Octopus, for emergency use if your primary fails or you have to buddy breath with a fellow diver who is in need.
And finally, a hose that connects from your tank directly to your BCD for buoyancy control.
Your pressure gauge and dive console are usually attached to the same value fitting as your regulator and other fittings (as seen in the picture above).
Scuba tanks are chosen by what kind of diver you are and what kind of diving you plan on doing.
Tanks come in either steel or aluminum and there a bunch of different sizes. The most commonly purchased tank for the Sports Diver is the Aluminum 80.
For an in-depth look at tanks and their different uses just click this link to my article on Scuba Tanks.
Your weight belt is just that, a belt with lead weights attached to it. There is not much to a weight belt.
As a rule of thumb when diving in saltwater, you will need about 8 – 10 percent of your body weight in lead weights. So for example, if you weigh say 160lbs then you would need about 16 lbs of weight.
They come in different styles from just plain lead weights to plastic-encased lead shot. Choose one that fits your fancy.
The most basic gauges that you need for Scuba Diving is the pressure gauge and the depth gauge.
The pressure gauge tells you how much air you have left in your tank and the depth gauge tells you how deep you are.
You can get them separate but is it is better to buy them in a combo console.
There are thousands of types of dive computers. Just make sure to choose one that is rated for deeper than you plan to dive.
A dive computer is important as it will tell how long you have been underwater and how much time you have left, based on your dive tables. It will also guide your ascent speed.
You will need to get one that has large markings, preferably illuminated too so that it is easily visible in low light as the deeper you dive the darker it gets.
A dive light comes in very handy at deeper depths to light up the sea life and see all the vibrant colors around you. Besides that the deeper you go the darker it gets so a good dive light is essential. Especially if taking pictures. One should also always a small backup light for those just in case times when your main light decides to go out.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below and I will gladly respond to you.