You’ve finished your open water course, maybe have a few diving vacations under your weight belt and are just pumped as a whole about diving! For a while, you’ve been thinking about getting your own set of dive gear, but as a beginner, it is difficult to know when to buy and what to buy, especially since there are so many different styles and brands to choose from. It can be both overwhelming and exciting! A… giant stride… some may say.
If you are still on the fence about investing in your newest passion, consider reading…
So where do you begin? There are a few key factors that you need to consider before purchasing your scuba kit.
Where Will You Be Diving
If you plan to dive more on vacations away from home, it’s important to consider baggage allowances. Some airlines have additional allowances for scuba gear, if not, you may be charged excess baggage fees at the airport.
You’ll also have to keep in mind the types of locations you will be travelling to. Different locations have different requirements. The 3mm shortie you wear in the tropical, warm Caribbean won’t be suited for the cooler waters of New Zealand.
We can’t recommend enough travelling and diving to all types of locations. The varying ecosystems and critters you can see are eye opening and incredible. To cover the wetsuit dilemma, it would be best to consider a 5mm wetsuit, with a 3mm shortie. You can use the shortie for the warm waters, 5mm for the temperate and the 3mm over the 5mm for those chillier adventures.
If you plan to stay more local and adopt the drive and dive concept, a heavier duty BCD might be the better option. Also, be sure to research the water temperatures at your local dive sites and pick a wetsuit thickness that would be best… wetsuited…
Servicing and Maintenance
Owning your own gear means you are responsible for taking care of it. This doesn’t just mean giving it a freshwater rinse after a dive. You will need to regularly service your regulators through a licensed operator, periodically replacing parts, change or recharge your dive computer batteries and ensure BCD inflators are taken care of to name a few.
It’s important to locate where you will be able to get these services done and if replacement parts are easy to get.
You will need a cool, dry place to store your gear when you are at home.
Try Before You Buy
While you are still renting dive gear, ask to use different styles and options during each of your stays. If a piece of gear works best for you, make a note of the manufacturer and model, so you can buy it later. Also, while talking with a retailer, be sure to let them know your diving intentions and they will be able to help pick a model that works.
When shopping online, make sure you are clear on the return policy for the retailer.
Diving is going to cost money regardless. Whether you rent gear or buy your own. However, in the long run, owning your own gear will save you money. There are many different options available that can fit your budget.
You can also ask retailers about package deals. Many offer mask, snorkel and fin combos as well as regulator and BCD combos. Though these reflect good savings, we don’t want you to buy something that is unsuitable just because of a deal. We can offer advice, but remember, it’s what you need and want.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy a full set of gear all at once. Most scuba divers gradually accumulate their sets over time. Also be sure you buy from a reputable dealer and follow the manufacturers’ instructions. The gear links found on this page take you to the Amazon store of a Vancouver, Canada based dive shop.
And lastly, as always, dive safe and have fun!
“The ocean is this beautiful, unexplored place. Why on Earth everyone isn’t down there, I don’t know.”
– Graham Hawkes