When I first started scuba diving all the equipment looked daunting to me. Understanding how a scuba diving equipment list comes together is a learning process. Below are the essentials of what you will need for a dive, and additional accessories you may find useful.
BCD – Buoyance control
device, that’s literally what this is. For me, mastering this guy is the difference
between a comfortable dive experience or a challenging one. The BCD is put on
like a lift vest and regulates air in the vest so you can float and sink. The more
air you put in, the more you rise closer to the ocean’s surface. The less in
it, the more you will sink (provided you have weight belts – explained below).
Can also check out PADI for more information.
Scuba diving weights – This is what weighs you down. The larger you are the more weights you will need and the saltier the ocean the more weight you’ll need as salt makes you more buoyant. When in doubt take more weight or ask your dive instructor to take extra on the dive. I had the worst dive experience in Croatia where the Adriatic Sea was very salty and I kept floating to the top, zero air in BCD. The dive instructor started putting rocks from the ocean in the pockets of my BCD to try and weigh me down.
Make sure your weight belt is snapped on properly, mine came off midway through a dive. Don’t panic. Get your dive instructors attention, point at your waist and move your hand around – they know what that means. I took all the air out of BCD, went to a sandy patch and sat there while my dive instructor put it back on.
Regulator & pressure gauge (affectionately called the Octopus) – this is the life line of bringing your scuba diving equipment list together. The regulator (breathing device like a snorkel head) will be attached to your air tank so that you can breathe oxygen. The pressure gauge is also attached so you can see how much air you have in your tank.
Air tank – most of the time the dive shop will make sure you have a full tank of air and connect it to your BCD, regulator and pressure gauge.
Mask, snorkel, fins – these same items you use for a snorkel trip. Your mask is your best friend on a dive, if it’s not clear, constantly taking in water, you’ll have a less than perfect dive experience. For scuba diving you can leave the snorkel on shore. However, some dive shops request you take them on the dive in case you’re low on air, you’re on the surface and can pop in your snorkel and still breathe (sometimes the tide is too strong to just breathe on surface). Good fins help you save energy and allow you to swim more easily, particularly when there’s a current.
your mask before you enter the water, use defog or your spit. Yes. Spit. Your spit.
If your mask takes in water, it’s too big, or you haven’t tightened it enough. Note
that as you go deeper your mask gets tighter, so be gentle or be ready for panda
eyes. If it’s tight, blow through your nose to loosen the mask. I’ve also let
in a little water to add pressure back.
Wet suits – you can select from a range of thicknesses, 5mm or thicker. If you’re somebody who gets cold fast I recommend it. If you’re diving in warm waters sometimes a vest is good enough. If you’re dive includes tight spaces, or swim throughs (where you swim in wrecks or between rock formations) you should opt for a wet suit to ensure you don’t get scratched.
So that’s it for the scuba diving equipment list! There’s plenty of additional items you can take as well, but these are the essentials.