Top Tips: Adapting To The Underwater World
Adapting To The Underwater World is something we all need to do as scuba divers. Unfortunately, we have not been born as aquatic organisms. Because of this, we use technology to adapt ourselves to the aquatic world.
Every adaption (breathing, seeing, warmth, etc) requires one or more pieces of equipment. This is what often makes Scuba Diving appear as ‘gear intensive’ compared to many other sports. Depending on how and when you intend to dive can often determine what pieces of equipment you will buy and which ones you will rent from the local dive school.
How we adapt
Breathing - The use of scuba tanks filled with compressed air, first and second stage regulators (which regulate the flow of air being delivered) allow us to breathe underwater.
Seeing - Humans cannot see very well underwater so in order to adapt we use diving masks. Without one, seeing that whale shark swimming past as a giant dark blob just wouldn’t be the same!
Warmth - Our bodies cool much faster in water than they do in air. Because of this, exposure protection is worn to reduce heat loss and ensure that we stay warm whilst diving. The water temperature will usually dictate if a drysuit, full length wetsuit or shorty is required and it is important to ensure that you are wearing the correct protection.
Your own gear
Your personal dive gear has a very important role to play. Not only is it your lifeline. It also has to be comfortable, providing flexibility and ease of movement.
There are a couple of personal items which in my opinion should be purchased by all divers.
Mask and Snorkel
- If there is one single piece of dive gear you should call your own, it has to be your own mask and snorkel. Having a mask that fits well is extremely important. Not lending/wearing a mask that constantly fills with water will definitely improve your diving experiences.
- Along with the mask and snorkel, your own personal dive computer should be one of the first purchases to consider. Having your own computer will ensure that you are diving to your own no decompression limits (NDL) and not that of the diver who carried out four dives yesterday wearing the same computer you rented this morning. It is also extremely important to know and understand your computer. What will happen/show if I exceed my NDL? What do certain symbols mean and where can I find additional information?
A dive computer is much more than just a depth gauge and a three minute safety stop timer. Be sure to read the instruction manual and ensure that you fully understand how yours operates.
Be smart with your budget
We all have budgets but it is important to understand the difference between the ‘need to haves’ and the ‘like to haves’. Ensure that you invest in a good quality drysuit, wing/bcd and regulators before even considering that shiny new 3D camera!
Modern dive equipment
During the early days of diving, equipment was primitive. Dive gear was made for the purpose of breathing underwater. There wasn’t many considerations for good buoyancy and trim as well as safety. Diving gear wasn’t readily available. The further away from the ‘average sized, physically fit young male' you were, the more difficult it would be to find gear that fit.
Thankfully these days are over!
Modern dive gear is tried, tested and built to last. The use of webbing on wings make these infinately re-sizeable (almost). This ensures a great fit for divers of all shapes and sizes. Cold water rated regulators from the likes of Apeks
are bomb-proof and allow us to enjoy diving in much colder waters than ever before. There has been so many great advances with dive gear over the years and to top it off many of the modern day drysuit and wetsuit manufacturers also provide a 'made-to-measure' service to ensure a perfect fit.
In terms of dive gear availability and comfort, there really has been no time like the present to get introduced to diving.