Learning to scuba dive is one of the most rewarding adventures in the world. As a new diver, you are inundated with information about the aquatic world’s physical properties, how to explore it, and the gear they will need to start diving. Although most dive destinations worldwide rent almost every piece of equipment you need to go diving, there are a few essential pieces of scuba gear we recommend that all new divers purchase to always be ready for every scuba adventure.
Scuba Gear Essentials #1: Mask
A dive mask is one of the most important pieces of scuba gear you will own. It is your window to the underwater world, and without it, diving is impossible. We recommend purchasing your own mask to ensure that it fits your face perfectly because nothing is worse than diving with a mask that constantly leaks.
Scuba Gear Essentials #2: Snorkel
Since you wear your snorkel in your mouth, it is a very personal piece of equipment. Not only is purchasing your own snorkel essential to ensure it fits comfortably, but it is the most sanitary option.
Scuba Gear Essentials #3: Fins
Purchasing a set of fins is high up on our list of must-haves for new divers. If you want a high-performing pair of fins that fit comfortably, buying instead of renting is the way to go. Frequently, rental fins are worn-down and not as efficient as those you can purchase for yourself. Having a nice pair of fins helps propel you through the water better, cutting down on fatigue levels and actually helping you conserve air and energy.
Scuba Gear Essentials #4: Booties
Most hard-working fins are of the open-heel variety and require the diver to wear dive boots (otherwise known as booties). Typically, dive stores do not rent out dive booties, so purchasing your own pair is essential. We recommend a 3-5mm zippered bootie with a thick yet flexible sole.
Scuba Gear Essentials #5: SMB
More and more dive destinations require divers to carry their own surface marker buoy (SMB) on every dive. Shore divers drag an inflated SMB with them while shore diving to mark their whereabouts, making boaters aware of their presence. Boat divers inflate their SMB when surfacing to mark where they are during live boat diving so the boat can spot them and pick them up.
Scuba Gear Essentials #6: Gear Bag
Purchasing a gear bag may sound like a given, but you would be surprised how many new divers show up to the dive boat carrying all of their gear by hand. A nice mesh backpack-style gear bag is perfect for hauling your dive gear to and from the pool, boat, or shore diving location.
Scuba Gear Essentials #7: Defog
The old wives’ tale of using spit to defog your mask can work in a pinch, but nothing works better than actual defog. Buy a bottle and store it in your dive gear bag, so you never leave home without it.
Scuba Gear Essentials #8: Dive Log
Whether you set up a digital dive log in the MySSI app or go old school and keep a paper dive log, logging your dives is an important discipline to start from dive #1. You will use your dive log to track your experience level and show it as proof of dive number when working on advanced ratings like Adventure Diver and Master Diver.
Part of the excitement that learning to explore the underwater world brings is getting to buy all the cool new stuff that goes with it. The best place to start is with your SSI instructor or to visit your local Training Center, where you can get outfitted with the best scuba gear for your dive experience level and dive goals. Welcome to the amazing world of diving!
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