Diving equipment includes fins, masks, buoyancy control devices, scuba gear, and snorkels. The equipment used depends on the type of diving. A wetsuit is necessary for cold water diving, and a BCD helps control buoyancy. Scuba sets can be open or closed circuit, with the latter being more expensive and used for military or research diving.
Diving equipment varies greatly depending on its use. The essential basics for diving are fins, diving masks, buoyancy control devices, scuba gear and snorkels. The equipment used will depend on whether the diver is scuba diving, free diving or snorkeling.
Shallow dives may use a snorkel, which is a shaped tube with a mouthpiece that curves above the water’s surface so the diver can breathe while the body and head are underwater. Fins, or fins, are used in shallow and deep dives. They are vital to underwater propulsion and control and vary in price and performance. The more expensive fins are usually used for more professional diving.
A mask is an essential piece of scuba diving equipment from deep dives to snorkeling because it seals the face so the diver can see clearly and the eyes don’t get sore. A full face diving mask also has a snorkel that connects the diver’s mouth and nose to a source of breathing gas. These masks are mainly for professional diving and also serve to protect the diver from water pollution, cold and stings or bites from aquatic plants or animals, such as jellyfish. Also, when diving for long periods, a full face diving mask can prevent the discomfort that is felt when a diver bites down on the snorkel for too long.
A scuba set is an independent breathing set, meaning the diver is not dependent on a gas line attached to the boat, used in scuba diving. There are two main types of breathing sets used in scuba diving, which are the open circuit set and the closed or semi-closed set. The closed set, also called a rebreather, transforms the used air back into breathable air inside the device. The rebreather is suitable for long or deep dives and is more expensive than the open circuit set, so it is usually used for military or research diving and not for sport. In the military, the rebreather is often referred to as the Closed Circuit Underwater Breathing Apparatus (CCUBA).
In an open circuit set, the diver breathes air from the tank through the mouthpiece and the exhaled air enters the water without being recycled. Tanks were originally double-tube, like those used by Jacques Cousteau, but today most divers used a single set of tubes. It is a simpler and cheaper scuba equipment and, for this reason, more commonly used in recreational diving.
A wetsuit is protective clothing used in many types of water sports that can be suitable for cold water or warm water, which has inferior thermal protection. Cold water suits are an essential piece of scuba gear to prevent hypothermia. The wetsuit traps and uses body heat to warm a thin layer of water held between the wetsuit and the body which acts as an insulator. Because of this, they should fit snugly so that no water escapes. Wetsuits also increase a diver’s buoyancy.
A buoyancy control device (BCD), or buoyancy compensator (BC), can also be used on deeper dives. BCs help a diver float quickly in an emergency, control ascent and descent, and achieve neutral buoyancy in the water. Neutral buoyancy means the diver neither ascends nor descends and maintains a constant depth, which often requires BC adjustment due to the heavy equipment the diver is carrying. This diving equipment has three main types: wings, stab vests and diving life jacket.