Scuba diving is a fun and exciting underwater sport that allows you to see parts of the world that most humans will never get to enjoy. Whether you’re getting up close and personal with coral reef, schools of fish, or even sharks, scuba diving isn’t exactly for the faint of heart. It is, however, for adventure seekers looking for something new to try.
Like most sports, there are some possible risks involved. The main complication, of course, is that participants are submerged in water. Even with the right equipment, you still need a variety of tools designed to keep you safe until you surface.
Once you’ve completed your diving courses and received certification, you are technically ready to jump in the surf and start enjoying the wonders of the underwater world. Here are a few scuba safety devices you explore the ocean blue.
Depending on the water you’re in, the depth you’re at, or the time of day you’re scuba diving, conditions can get pretty dark, which is why scuba safety devices like torches (ostensibly flashlights) exist. These items can not only help you to see where you’re going in dim or murky underwater conditions, but they can also be used to signal other divers and/or boats.
While it’s pretty unlikely you’ll have to use your knife as a weapon, say to ward off a shark that wants to get friendly with you, it can be a useful safety tool. Most divers carry them just in case they get tangled up in kelp, fishing nets/lines, or other detritus floating around in the ocean.
Dive knives may not be the most important scuba safety devices on the average must-have list, but having a knife handy when you need it is not only convenient; it could get you out of a life-threatening situation.
As scuba safety devices go, few are more valuable than your dive computer, a device that looks like a wristwatch and feeds you crucial information while you’re diving. It not only tells you how long you’ve been underwater (which can be difficult to gauge even in clear, well-lit conditions sometimes), but it also includes a variety of other useful features.
Perhaps the most important features of a dive computer are the depth and pressure gauges. Here comes the computing part. When you’re ready to head back to the surface, the dive computer calculates the speed of your ascent.
Why is this important? Most people have heard of “the bends”. This condition, also known as decompression sickness, occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in your body tissue as a result of rapid decompression, i.e. going from an area of high pressure (the bottom of the ocean) to low pressure (air) too quickly.
Not only is this condition painful, but it can lead to serious consequences like paralysis or even death. In other words, it should be avoided.
Most dive computers also allow you to set alarms that let you know when to head back to the surface based on your depth and time underwater, so that you have plenty of time to ascend before you run out of air. You can also set alerts for max depth and pressure in some cases. It’s best to check out the many features available on these scuba safety devices before you choose one.
A wetsuit may not come to mind when thinking about scuba safety equipment. However, this essential piece of gear protects your body in a variety of ways. It can not only ward off scrapes and cuts at the bottom of the ocean, but it also helps to keep your body warm.
Even if you’re diving in temperate waters, you should know that water is an incredible conductor of heat, so much so that even warm water can wick heat away from your body an alarming 20-25 times faster than air. Your wetsuit provides an extra layer of insulation that helps to preserve your body heat against the leaching effects of the water around you. In warm water these scuba safety devices are a choice – in cold they’re a necessity.
Your choice of wetsuit may depend somewhat on the temperature range of the water you’re diving in – thicker suits are needed for colder water – so it’s important to be aware of the water temperature when you dive and plan accordingly. The right suit could keep you comfortable and perhaps even ward off hypothermia.