Mask and Snorkel
Dive masks are different from standard swim goggles because they keep the nose and eyes in one air pocket. You need tempered glass that will not shatter or fog up, and a tight seal to the face is essential. Masks are often purchased with matching snorkels which are used for easy breathing on the surface of the water.
Scuba Diving Rig or Breathing Kit
This is the most important element of any scuba diving gear list. You cannot dive successfully without a high-quality diving rig or kit that allows you to regulate your breathing and remain safe while under the water. There are five components to this rig or kit:
- Compressed air tank
- Dive regulator or octopus
- Floatation device (also known as buoyancy control device, or BCD)
- Weight system
- Dive computer or watch
The tank holds your air reserve, and the air is delivered to your body through the dive regulator or an octopus unit. There are different regulator and octopus designs, but you should be able to keep it close to your body for fast access when needed.
The BCD and weight system allow you to lower or rise up in the water as necessary. There are adult and child-sized BCDs, and you can select from back units or units that fit like jackets. Weights are often attached to belts that fit tight around the waist.
The dive computer or watch monitors how deep you are diving and the amount of time you have spent in the water. You can find scuba diving kits that incorporate the dive computer, or you can purchase a separate dive computer. You may want to learn the difference between a hose-less computer, computer console and wrist computer. Lens covers, infrared devices and other accessories are available for diving computers.
You will pick between dry suits, bodysuits and wet suits depending on the temperature of the water you want to dive in. Dry suits are better for colder water while body suits are better for warmer water. A wetsuit is a good investment if you want to dive in warmer and colder bodies of water. Make sure you have a tight yet comfortable fit so that the suit properly holds in your body heat.
It is best to invest in high quality fins designed for scuba diving, since fins designed for other watersports are often too small and diminish your leg power against the water. You will select from fins that cover the entire foot and those that leave the heel exposed. Quick-release buckles or straps can be purchased separately.
Scuba Diving Tools
Every trade has its tools, and no scuba diving gear list would be complete without the following safety and convenience items:
- Scuba diving light
- Diving knife/sheers/cutters
- Diving floats or flags
The light will ensure you can see into small crevices you encounter under the water. A knife, cutters or sheers are safety tools that you can use to free yourself if you become entangled or trapped. You may find other uses for a sharp tool while you are diving. This is one of those tools that you always want to have on hand but will naturally hope you never have to use.
Flags, floaters and whistles are used to notify boats of your diving location while gaining attention of others when necessary. A compass will help you determine what direction to dive in.
You may also want to add underwater photography equipment to this scuba diving gear list. That does weigh you down a bit more, but it enables you to take your experiences home for later enjoyment and sharing opportunities with your loved ones.
While you can buy all items on this list separately, there are also scuba diving gear kits that will give you everything needed for safe diving in one package.