Scuba gear

Dive gear or equipment allows us to enter the hostile environment of the underwater world that would be fatal without, basically we are not fish and can’t breath without help :) . Innovations that have allowed us to venture underwater have been around for a long long time since ancient divers using hollowed out reeds as snorkels and shells as goggles, but really dive equipment started in the 18th century with the invention of the air pump to allow sustained underwater activity. Today we no longer think of guys in big suits with helmets, lead boots and air hoses but of Scuba as invented in the 40′s by Cousteau and Gagnan then known as the Agua Lung.

Things have moved a long way since then, with hybrid materials making ones journey into the underwater world easier and more comfortable allowing one to dive in even extreme conditions and inhospitable environments, advanced gas mixtures allowing longer and deeper penetration (no sniggering guys) whilst reducing the risk associated with breathing gases under pressure and computers allowing safer diving through precision measurement of gas absorption.

Here is an overview of the gear you may need to blow some bubbles safely.

BCD

Buoyancy Control DeviceA Buoyancy Control Device or BCD is used to assist the diver with their buoyancy whilst underwater and keeping them buoyant whilst on the surface. A BCD is basically a jacket with a airtight bladder that is worn over the wetsuit, the bladder is filled with air from the cylinder via a low pressure hose.

Dive computer

Dive computerDive computers are common place in modern diving, although we are taught to plan our dives and dive our plans using dive tables many these days just rely on their computer to work out all the fine details and keep one safe. Dive computer in their basic form just process depth and time information against internal tables to tell you when to ascend, in advanced form they take into account body mass, heart rate, air consumption rate, air mixes, decompression etc. They may also include thermometers and compasses and when connected to your PC they draw pretty graphs of your dive profile.

Air tanks

Diving air cylindersAir tanks hold your air whilst underwater, these are highly pressurized up to 300PSI. They can be used to hold compressed air, Nitrox or any mixture of exotic gasses and used individually or in tandem. In addition many divers dive with a ‘pony bottle’, this is generally about a 3ltr reserve tank with its own 1st and 2nd stages that is intended to be used in emergencies or during deco stops.

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