Scuba Diving Equipment List

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. 

Scuba Diving Equipment ListZen Moment - Scuba Diving Equipment Helps Me Relax

Scuba Diving Equipment List Essentials 

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.  

Scuba Diving Equipment List Key Tips: 

BCD – make sure it fits like a comfortable glove, when on move your arms around, if it feels constricting you may need a larger size. If you’re floating in it after tightening the buckles you need a smaller size.

Weight Belt - make sure the weight goes evenly across your back, if you have 4lbs on one side and 2lbs on the other, you will float sideways. You may not feel the difference on land, but in the ocean, it’s enough to make you lopsided. Yes this has also happened to me.

Regulator - before you take the jump into the ocean, take a breath through the regulator so that you know the air is flowing fine.

Pressure gauge - be sure you have enough for a decent dive (for me 2800-3000psi). sometimes when the gauge is in and the reading is 0, it’s because the air tank hasn’t been turned on.

Scuba Diving Equipment List EssentialsScuba Diving Equipment List Essentials - Pink Fins!

Scuba Diving Equipment List Key Tips:

Air tank – be sure the BCD is well strapped in to the air tank. I’ve seen people’s air tanks push out of the BCD strap. It’s not alarming because you’re connected to the tank, but you must let the dive instructor know so they can fix it.

Mask  –  hair, hair, hair, by far the most aggravating thing underwater. Ponytail is a must. Anything that can fit within your mask and not come all over your face. Hair tie your hair all the way down your ponytail with multiple hair ties. Do not apply gel, hair spray etc. it’s the ocean it will wear off and likely do more harm to marine life than help you.  

Wet Suit – ask the dive shop how cold the water gets around 30-40 ft, surface level temperature will always be a lot warmer. Make sure you are comfortable in your suit, if you can squat, move your arms around the suit fits well. You can also opt for a sleeveless scuba diving wet suit for comfort.

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.  

Clean 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.