Dive Gear – What should you really buy?

Just completed your Open Water course? Fallen completely in love with scuba diving? Fantastic! You’re probably now trying to decide if you buy your own dive equipment. If you are faced with an enthusiastic dive instructor giving you the hard sell, here is what you should keep in mind.

Firstly, try not to be annoyed by them. Dive instructors are paid notoriously low wages for working long hours with people who are often demanding! A lot of dive centres insist they meet certain sales quotas.

Do you need to buy your own dive equipment?

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. How often will you dive and use the equipment?

Nevermind the price tag, dive equipment requires proper care in storage and maintenance to continue to function safely. Will you use it enough to make all this maintenance worth it?

2. Would owning your own gear make you a more confident diver?

Being familiar with your dive equipment and comfortable in it decreases your stress levels. This means you are a more relaxed and confident diver, which leads to better diving experiences.

3. Are you good at packing light?

It sounds silly but if you are the sort of traveller who is always nervous about the excess baggage charge when checking in for a flight, then you will certainly struggle to take your dive equipment abroad without incurring these charges. The charges will soon outweigh (pardon the pun) any discounts offered by dive centres for diving in your own equipment.

If your answers to all these questions are positive then go ahead; go crazy in that dive shop and buy all the lovely shiny things!

If not, read on.

Diving in your own gear makes you more comfortable and confident

I always recommend my students buy at least their own mask. The mask is the one piece of equipment divers have the most trouble with. If the fit isn’t perfect you will get leaks and your mask will continually fill with water. Some divers cope with this better than others, but why put yourself through it? Even if a leaky mask doesn’t send you into a mad panic, it can be very annoying and distracting.

A Leaking Scuba mask can be annoying

It is good to have your own fins too, to avoid blisters or wasting valuable holiday time deciding which fins fit. I prefer the boots and fins combination, so that your feet are protected when shore diving (my ankles have met far too many sea urchins!) But at the end of the day, whether or not your mask fits is the most significant concern. You can ignore an ill-fitting fin, wetsuit or Buoyancy Control Device, far more easily than an ill-fitting mask.

If you invest in a mask, snorkel and fins then you are always certain to have a comfy fit for those items, but are also geared-up for snorkelling, without being weighed down by the rest of the heavy gear. You have to decide what is right for you. If money is tight I’d suggest you get a mask and leave it at that.

But if none of my questions raised any concerns, enjoy getting your own gear. It’s fun to indulge in your hobby and gives you your own diver identity afterall.


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