Scuba divers have access to lots of cool devices that allow them to communicate undersea, thanks to advances in technology spurred by the electronics industry and the military. These solutions range in price from pretty cheap to outrageously expensive. Scuba divers need to determine for themselves what’s worth it and what’s not.
Divers should remember that communications technology is cool and all, but no substitute for basic hand signals. Before even considering buying communications technology, divers should memorize and practice hand signals with diver partners.
The reason for this precaution is because when diving underwater equipment can malfunction and or obstructions can reduce its effectiveness. You need a back up plan and that’s hand signals. After you have hand signals ready and practiced adding communications gear can really add to the fun and additional safety of diving.
One of the best underwater communications tools is something called a slate. A slate is a small underwater chalkboard. Divers can use a slate to write messages to each other while underwater. A slate can be tied to a belt or hung around a diver’s neck. Slates come with pens that work underwater. Slates are small so you can’t write more than a few words at a time, but most often that’s all you need.
Today, you can even get telephones that work underwater that have microphones and receivers so you can stay in constant live contact with your dive buddies while underwater. Some of the more expensive models are built into your face-mask or just your regulator.
The range of these devices is typically 50 to 500 meters. That’s plenty of range because you should never be further than even 400 meters from your dive partners. These devices typically get battery life of between eight and ten hours, which should be more than enough for even the longest dives.
Full Face Masks (FFMs) can come with several different radio-style communications options. Although range of FFMs varies, it’s typically more than enough for your average dive. FFMs are great for use by expert divers to teach novice scuba divers.
Full-face masks make it possible for the dive instructor to talk in real time to the student. This helps the student be calmer because they can hear as well as see the dive instructor. This becomes key when visibility is low as often happens on dives.
If you want to go totally high tech, you can get underwater video cameras and or computers to complete your rig.
If your main goal is to do some underwater research and or photography, you really need this type of high tech gear. The gear available ranges from basically a plastic baggy for your camcorder, all the way to a fully integrated and totally waterproof solution.
The ultimate in high-tech diving is wireless underwater laptops. You can use them to take videos and or photos, process video and or signal your diving partners. How cool is that?