Most people start scuba diving in search of an adventure. There are few activities you can do on vacation more exhilarating than submerging yourself in water with only a tank of air to sustain you while you observe marine life up close and personal.
You will, of course, have to take lessons and become certified before you can head out into the surf for underwater exploration. What you’re likely to find once you get under the waves is that there’s nothing quite like this enchanting experience. Most people are immediately hooked and want to dive again and again.
At some point you’re going to wonder whether you should purchase or rent your scuba diving gear. There are a lot of factors to consider before you decide to buy. Here are a few things to think about before planning your next dive trip.
Items Everyone Should Own
When considering whether to purchase or rent your scuba diving gear, you should know that there are certain items nearly every serious diver buys. The first thing most divers want is their own wetsuit, for obvious reasons.
Although this can be a pricy purchase, you definitely want a wetsuit that fits you like a glove and that is adequately rated for the temperatures you frequently dive in. Also, you can guess what happens in rental suits when people are underwater for a while with no access to a bathroom.
You’ll also want to purchase your own mask, snorkel, and fins. These items are small and easy to transport, so they shouldn’t unduly impact your luggage when you travel. More importantly, you’ll gain the benefits of having gear that is comfortable and well-fitting, making every dive a better experience.
A regulator is another piece of equipment you’ll want to own since it goes in your mouth. You should follow that up by purchasing your own BCD (Buoyancy Compensating Device) so you can arrange your gear for comfort and convenience. Some divers insist on purchasing their own dive computers, and while you’re sure to buy a nicer one than you can rent, it’s probably not a necessary expense early on.
Items Everyone Should Rent
There’s just no good reason to purchase a tank, even if you dive frequently. You won’t miss the hassles of traveling with a tank, not to mention storing it when not in use. Plus, you’ll have to pay for air refills and deal with inspections if you own a tank.
The only exception might be if you dive a lot locally. Otherwise you’ll find it much simpler to rent a tank once you reach your dive destination. When it comes to deciding whether to purchase or rent your scuba diving gear, this is one item to leave on the rental list.
Reasons to Rent
The cost of rental gear can really add up over time, especially if you find you love diving and you try to get in the water as much as possible. When you’re first starting out, however, it’s probably best not to invest too much up front.
Before you decide whether to purchase or rent your scuba diving gear, you need to make sure you enjoy the activity enough to justify the purchase price. If you only dive infrequently, say a couple of times a year when you go on vacation, you can save some money and storage space by renting.
Reasons to Buy
If you start diving with some frequency, the debate over whether to purchase or rent your scuba diving gear becomes much simpler. If you’re diving ten or more times a year, for example, you’re almost certain to save money by purchasing your gear, and you’ll enjoy some benefits in the process.
First of all, you’ll likely find yourself planning more dive trips when you commit to the sport by purchasing all your own gear. If you want to dive more frequently but you’re hesitant because of the stacking costs of rental after rental, purchasing gear is the obvious solution (although you will have to pay to maintain and eventually replace gear over time).
The more important reason to buy if you dive quite a bit is that you’ll enjoy the comfort of better fitting, personalized gear. No more using the rental wetsuit closest to your size – you can buy one that fits perfectly.
You’ll also have access to gear that you’re familiar with after a few uses, increasing your level of calm and confidence when you’re underwater. This can make for a safe, fun, and worry-free diving experience every time.