So you’ve made the brave step to get certified, what comes next? If you’re anything like me, you’re itching to get back in the water. Maybe, like me, you did your certification in a lake and you’re ready to fry some bigger fish (pun intended) and dive the ocean. You may also feel a little overwhelmed with what gear you should or shouldn’t purchase. For your certification, you most likely purchased your mask, fins and snorkle. Unfortunately, that only begins to scratch the surface of all the possibilities out there. So, let’s take a deep dive (again, pun intended) into some inital scuba diving costs for other gear you may purchase.
When I first received my certification, I thought my instructor was a little crazy to insinuate we should purchase our own gear. It sounded a lot cheaper and easier to rent gear instead of purchasing my own and lugging it everywhere I traveled. But during a dive in Grand Cayman I was extremely thankful I did. We were on a cruise and decided to do a diving excursion with the cruise line while porting in Grand Cayman. The crew we worked with was awesome, there was about 25 of us on one boat, but they had a dive master per 4-5 divers and we all dove in groups. We had another couple diving in our group and the couple was the last to jump in the water. It was obvious from the start that something was wrong and her BCD was not inflating. Luckily, the dive charter had an extra BCD on board and they were able to get her switched out pretty quickly. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. I’ve heard horror stories of rental gear not working properly or not be serviced correctly and that can make for a very uncomfortable, even dangerous, dive.
I’m assuming by this point you’ve taken the open water certification and know what a BCD is, but if you don’t, think of it as a lifevest. This vest is what holds your tank to your back and also gives you the ability to control your bouancy by adding/removing air from the airpockets within the vest. There are many types of BCDs out there and your dive shop is the best place to find out what will work best for you. I’ll be posting another blog about the different types of BCDs in the future.
This little guy is your underwater breathing device. There are a ton of options out there ranging from all different prices. I’d venture to say you’re looking at no where less than $300 for something decent. Some dive shops will have an option that is a ‘try before you buy’. This will give you the ability to actually rent the regulator or something equivalent to make sure it feels right and is comfortable. Just like your mask, you want to make sure you get a regulator that fits properly.
If you’re a techy person like me, then you’ll love all the options for dive computers. A dive computer serves a few different purposes. It tells you how much air is in your tank, your depth, tells you if you’re ascending too fast, when to ascend (especially important if you’re doing deep dives), and most will also countdown your safety stop. Being comfortable with your dive computer is important and every computer is a little different. There are hand held computers that will attach to your air tank via hose and there are also watch dive computers that will read from transmitor attached to the tank. As with most of the other gear, prices will vary based on the features you’re looking for.
The safety octo will most likely be the cheapest purchase. It’s required and you can rent it, but it’s a lot easier to have everything already attached (see picture to the left). There isn’t much to say about the safety octo, just that it’s usually yellow and is used as a secondary to your regulator.
Getting involved in your local dive shop is going to be the best decision you could make when it comes to picking your gear. Bluewater Divers in Oklahoma has some of the best rental gear I’ve ever seen and every year they do a big sale where some gear is up to 50% off. I lucked out and was able to get my BCD, Regulator, Octo, and Dive Computer for about $600. This is a great way to start off and I now have my wish list for what type of gear I want next. So far, I’ve had the gear for two years and it’s still in great condition.
I hope this has helped! Happy Diving!