Personal scuba diving equipment like wetsuit, mask or fins should be selected primarily on the basis of convenience and compliance with dive conditions, and water temperature. For this, equipment seasonality and extra pricing for “thingies” are very typical. Do not let yourself be caught on marketing hooks! You must always take into account tips from scuba diving experts, particularly if you are new to scuba diving. You can always ask your instructor. The person has years of experience and can definitely help you choose wisely.
Often, new divers feel a little daunted at the prospect of purchasing equipment especially when it comes to waterproof cameras. There are after all a lot of styles and brands you can choose from. So how can you know which choice is best for you? There are some important decisions you will have to make, as your life may depend on it, when you are down there in the water.
As soft gear items (including a good dive mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit) are usually the first pieces of equipment that new divers invest in, we have decided to put together a basic guide to choosing those items. It is important to remember that fit, comfort and functionality are always more important than aesthetics, and that sometimes, it’s worth spending a little more money for a higher quality product. After all, when you are underwater, your equipment is your lifeline.
The other important thing is recognizability. Divers in black suits and black vests all look the same underwater. So how can you easily identify your dive buddy? You must never neglect this when buying. Get one or two bright and unique things. But do not forget also about the change of colors underwater. It’s better to choose something white, yellow or lime-green.
Remember the following when choosing your scuba gear.
- Start at Your Local PADI Dive Shop – This is where you will find the most trusted advice. Well-trained staff will know the local environment and can also advise on what you will need for travel. However, there are some very decent online stores too where you will get the finest items. Look for reviews before buying. Shop strategically. Look for pre-holiday winter sales, or in the spring when the next year’s gear is arriving in shops.
- Look at What Your Instructor Is Using – He or she has spent years perfecting that kit and can offer specific advice for your personal needs based on a professional assessment of your skills.
- Buy Gear Appropriate to Your Skill Level – That slick tec back plate looks ultra-cool, but it’s not a great choice for a new diver. While it might be a good idea to follow your instructor, but always remember, you might not be ready for it yet. It’s best to keep your kit simple and suitable for your abilities. You should upgrade as your skills and capabilities increase.
- Stick to Established Brands – You don’t want to take a chance when you are diving. So it is probably best to stick to well known brands with credibility. These products have been rigorously tested before they ever reach the market, so you can trust them. They also offer warrantees, and you are more likely to find a technician specifically trained to service these brands.
- Be Cautious of Used Equipment – If you are thinking of pre-owned life-support instruments or other gear, always have it inspected first. These things will save you a lot of money, but you need to be sure of them first. And be sure to service any used purchase before that first dive.