Advice for Buying Scuba Equipment

Scuba diving is a fantastic way to explore the underwater world and witness the beauty of reefs and marine life up close. When it comes to SCUBA diving, having the right equipment is crucial for both your safety and enjoyment. The gear you need can vary depending on the type of diving you plan to do, your skill level, and your budget. Below is a general list of equipment you might consider purchasing, roughly ordered from most essential to least:

  • Mask: This is one of the first things you should buy, as a well-fitted mask can make a huge difference in your comfort and visibility underwater. It's also a very personal piece of equipment that you'd want to fit perfectly, so you should go to a store and try it before you buy. A comfort mask should not feel tight but not too loose. Of course, you need to ensure it doesn't leak!

  • Snorkel: Although not used during the dive, a snorkel can be very useful on the surface.

  • Fins: Just like the mask, fins are a personal piece of equipment that needs to fit well. They should be comfortable and give you the right amount of propulsion. If you are wearing wearing open-heel fins (which is recommanded if you are going to dive in cold water), then you also need dive boots.

  • Wetsuit/Drysuit: If you are diving frequently, owning your own dive suit can be more convenient and cost-effective in the long run. Depending on the water temperature where you will be diving, you may need a wetsuit or drysuit. For example, if you are diving in the Florida Keys, then a farmer john jacket is enough; on the other hand, if you are diving in Massachusetts, a 7mm wetsuit or a drysuit is required. We recommend you buy it at the store because you can try it on. When trying on the diving suit, make sure it fits you properly. A well-fitting suit will minimize the chances of water entering through gaps or loose areas.

  • Regulator: This is the device that delivers air from your tank to you. Usually, they are serviced annually.

  • Dive Light: Necessary for night dives, cave dives, and deep dives.

  • Buoyancy Control Device (BCD): This is the jacket that divers wear to maintain neutral buoyancy underwater and positive buoyancy on the surface. It's a piece of equipment that can be rented, but many divers prefer to have their own for comfort and familiarity. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to service your BCD.

  • Dive Computer: While not strictly necessary (you can use dive tables instead), a dive computer can make tracking your depth and bottom time much easier and safer.

  • Underwater Camera: For capturing memories of your dives.

It is not recommended to buy second-hand scuba equipment. One concern is the potential for hygiene issues, and another consideration is safety. You may buy second-hand equipment, however, if you know the seller well and know the equipment history. If you decided to buy second-hand scuba equipment, it's essential to thoroughly inspect it, ask questions about its maintenance history, and potentially have it serviced by a professional before use. Remember, the most important thing is not to rush into buying everything at once. Start with the basics and rent the rest until you're sure what you need and want. It's also highly recommended to take a certified course to learn how to use this equipment safely and effectively. You should always rinse your equipment with fresh water and air-dry after each dive!