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What SCUBA Gear Should I Buy First? | Under Pressure Divecast | Episode 009

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What SCUBA Gear Should I Buy First?

When I first started diving the tag line around SCUBA was that it was a ‘gear intensive sport’.

I honestly think that singling out SCUBA like that is a mistake. If you look at any adventure sport there is a lot of gear that you need to stay safe and get the most out of the experience.

That said… there is some gear involved and if, like most of us, you’re on a budget then you have to make some decisions about what to buy first.

Let’s dive in to getting the most out of your SCUBA diving dollars!

Diving Deeper

A little more information about what I covered in the divecast. Here goes…

Do I NEED to buy all my SCUBA gear at once?

I guess it would be great for the SCUBA economy if I could tell you that you needed to buy all the gear at one time in order to get certified. There used to be a SCUBA training agency that wouldn’t train you unless you did. The reality is that you don’t need to buy all your gear at once and there are even some really good reasons to pace your SCUBA purchases.

SHOULD I buy all my SCUBA gear at once?

Whether or no you should buy all your SCUBA gear at once is certainly debatable. There are advantages to diving your own full set of gear. You have the benefit of getting to know it from the very first day instead of switching from one setup to another as you train and travel.

You also know exactly what condition it is in and have first hand control over maintenance.

What you don’t have when you start out… is experience. This means that you are completely reliant on the sales staff at the local dive shop to match your equipment needs to your diving. When you haven’t been diving it may be difficult to know exactly what kind of diving you’re going to enjoy.

Having said that… a good quality set of gear is hard to go wrong with.

For my part, I bought a full set of gear in 2002 when I started diving and I have always been happy that I did.

The most important decision here is the decision to stay in the sport in the way that works best for your interests, lifestyle and budget. The rest will take care of itself.

What SCUBA Gear Should I Buy First?

  1. Mask/Fins/Snorkel
  2. Exposure Suit
  3. Universal Dive Log
  4. Dive Computer
  5. Regulator
  6. BCD


This one is likely to be a requirement when you sign up for your first SCUBA class. It isn’t just a way to get you to spend money. A good quality mask, fins and snorkel will change your SCUBA experience. You’ll need a mask that fits your face properly, a snorkel with a dry valve that is easy to use and fins designed for SCUBA that will be able to comfortably propel not only you but all your gear as well.

Exposure Suit (Wet Suit)

A wet suit that is appropriate for the type of diving you expect to do is worth investing in early. They are not expensive and you can ensure a proper fit and thickness to keep you comfortable in the water. Watch the video or download the podcast version for my rant on hygiene and exposure suits :).

Universal Dive Log

There are some great reasons to maintain a dive log.

  1. Remember where you dove, what you saw, and what was great or needed work.
  2. When you begin advancing your dive training you will need to be able to show certain dives to complete specialties.
  3. At some point you may even want to become a dive professional in which case you will need to show your dive experience.

You’re going to find a lot of variability in electronic dive logs. Most manufacturers have software that is compatible with their own computers and some app designers have tried to create more universal applications that will work with a number of computers but there isn’t a universal data standard for dive computers that is widely accepted. This makes using an application on your laptop or personal computer as your only dive log challenging as you may dive a number of different computers throughout your dive career.

That’s why, to this day, I still maintain a paper log and I recommend that divers find some way to ‘universalize’ their dive logs so they aren’t dependent on one manufacturer or software platform.

Dive Computer

Dive Computers are as much a safety item as they are a convenience and using one makes your diving safer and more enjoyable. There are many out there and choosing the right one for your diving situation is something you can do with the help of your local dive shop.

It’s important to both your safety and fun that you get used to your dive computer early in your diving career so you spend less time trying to interpret it underwater and more time enjoying your dive. To make this happen I recommend making the dive computer a priority in your gear budget.


Renting a regulator is fine for common recreational SCUBA diving at depths less than 60 feet. You’ll want to make sure that you are confident in the maintenance and quality of the equipment you’re renting so do some research about the destination you’ll be renting from. If there’s any doubt, see if you can rent your gear from your local dive shop if you’re going to travel for SCUBA.

It is true that the regulator (and air delivery system in general) is a critical piece of your life support underwater so as you progress in your diving you’ll want to consider owning your own.

There are three circumstances where you need to consider owning your own regulator sooner.

  1. If you plan to dive deeper than 60 feet.
  2. If you plan to use Nitrox (EAN) in your SCUBA tank.
  3. If you’re going to dive in colder water (my personal threshold is anything below 65F but check with your local dive shop).

Buoyancy Compensation Device (BCD)

Like all dive gear there are features what make choosing a BCD important to your comfort underwater and the diving situations you expect to find yourself in most frequently. However, in my experience the BCD is the easiest thing to adapt to between manufacturers and they take a lot of space in your luggage when you travel so they are a great candidate for picking up later in your dive career if you need to.

All The Things (Accessories)

If you dive long enough you’re going to see someone on the boat or underwater that looks like a Christmas tree. They might be an instructor or a gear junkie (guilty on both counts). My two cents on ‘all the things’ is only to take what makes sense for a given dive. Everything else is a catch hazard or is one more thing you can lose on the reef.

Accessories I think are close to mandatory are:

  • Line Cutter/Knife
  • Flashlight
  • Slate
  • Surface Marker Buoy
  • Defog

There are a lot of additional accessories that you can find and most of them have a useful purpose on an appropriate dive. Make sure you focus your attention and budget on the core pieces of kit before you end up off in the kelp forest of accessories.

Gear Junkie’s Garage

It might seem like which gear bag you choose really isn’t a big deal. Maybe in the grand scheme of things it isn’t as big a deal as choosing the right mask, regulator or computer but like most SCUBA buying decisions, finding the right gear bag can make your next SCUBA adventure less stressful and more organized.

The features I care about.

  • Sized properly for your most common diving scenario.
  • Zipper opens wide enough to put in a neatly assembly SCUBA rig.
  • Dry pocket for phone & wallet etc.
  • Durability.
  • Mesh should not be easily caught on… everything.
  • Shoulder straps for carrying it backpack style.

The last thing I’ll throw out on that is that you need to make sure you can easily identify your bag in a pile of dive bags on the pier or on a boat so find a way to mark it in a way that is as unique and interesting as you are!

Tip of the Week

Whatever you take into the water with you make sure you have some way of attaching to your body your your dive rig.

  1. Keep our reefs clean and free of human debris.
  2. Get the most out of your SCUBA dollars by only buying gear once!


Human Factors in Diving Conference:

Under Pressure Divecast Episode 005: Choosing a SCUBA Mask

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The surface interval’s over…

get out there and dive!

7 thoughts on “What SCUBA Gear Should I Buy First? | Under Pressure Divecast | Episode 009

  1. Thanks for the concepts you have shared here. Moreover, I believe there are many factors that will keep your insurance premium decrease. One is, to bear in mind buying cars that are inside good report on car insurance firms. Cars that are expensive are usually more at risk of being snatched. Aside from that insurance is also good value of your car, so the costlier it is, then the higher the particular premium you pay.

  2. Whether you believe in God or not, this is a must-read message!!!

    Throughout time, we can see how we have been slowly conditioned to come to this point where we are on the verge of a cashless society. Did you know that the Bible foretold of this event almost 2,000 years ago?

    In Revelation 13:16-18, we read,

    “He (the false prophet who decieves many by his miracles) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.”

    Referring to the last generation, this could only be speaking of a cashless society. Why? Revelation 13:17 tells us that we cannot buy or sell unless we receive the mark of the beast. If physical money was still in use, we could buy or sell with one another without receiving the mark. This would contradict scripture that states we need the mark to buy or sell!

    These verses could not be referring to something purely spiritual as scripture references two physical locations (our right hand or forehead) stating the mark will be on one “OR” the other. If this mark was purely spiritual, it would indicate only in one place.

    This is where it really starts to come together. It is shocking how accurate the Bible is concerning the implatnable RFID microchip. These are notes from a man named Carl Sanders who worked with a team of engineers to help develop this RFID chip

    “Carl Sanders sat in seventeen New World Order meetings with heads-of-state officials such as Henry Kissinger and Bob Gates of the C.I.A. to discuss plans on how to bring about this one-world system. The government commissioned Carl Sanders to design a microchip for identifying and controlling the peoples of the world—a microchip that could be inserted under the skin with a hypodermic needle (a quick, convenient method that would be gradually accepted by society).

    Carl Sanders, with a team of engineers behind him, with U.S. grant monies supplied by tax dollars, took on this project and designed a microchip that is powered by a lithium battery, rechargeable through the temperature changes in our skin. Without the knowledge of the Bible (Brother Sanders was not a Christian at the time), these engineers spent one-and-a-half-million dollars doing research on the best and most convenient place to have the microchip inserted.

    Guess what? These researchers found that the forehead and the back of the hand (the two places the Bible says the mark will go) are not just the most convenient places, but are also the only viable places for rapid, consistent temperature changes in the skin to recharge the lithium battery. The microchip is approximately seven millimeters in length, .75 millimeters in diameter, about the size of a grain of rice. It is capable of storing pages upon pages of information about you. All your general history, work history, crime record, health history, and financial data can be stored on this chip.

    Brother Sanders believes that this microchip, which he regretfully helped design, is the “mark” spoken about in Revelation 13:16–18. The original Greek word for “mark” is “charagma,” which means a “scratch or etching.” It is also interesting to note that the number 666 is actually a word in the original Greek. The word is “chi xi stigma,” with the last part, “stigma,” also meaning “to stick or prick.” Carl believes this is referring to a hypodermic needle when they poke into the skin to inject the microchip.”

    Mr. Sanders asked a doctor what would happen if the lithium contained within the RFID microchip leaked into the body. The doctor replied by saying a terrible sore would appear in that location. This is what the book of Revelation says:

    “And the first (angel) went, and poured out his vial on the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore on the men which had the mark of the beast, and on them which worshipped his image” (Revelation 16:2).

    You can read more about it here–and to also understand the mystery behind the number 666:

    The third angel’s warning in Revelation 14:9-11 states,

    “Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.'”

    Who is Barack Obama, and why is he still in the public scene?

    So what’s in the name? The meaning of someone’s name can say a lot about a person. God throughout history has given names to people that have a specific meaning tied to their lives. How about the name Barack Obama? Let us take a look at what may be hiding beneath the surface.

    Jesus says in Luke 10:18, “…I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

    The Hebrew Strongs word (H1299) for “lightning”: “bârâq” (baw-rawk)

    In Isaiah chapter 14, verse 14, we read about Lucifer (Satan) saying in his heart:

    “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.”

    In the verses in Isaiah that refer directly to Lucifer, several times it mentions him falling from the heights or the heavens. The Hebrew word for the heights or heavens used here is Hebrew Strongs 1116: “bamah”–Pronounced (bam-maw’)

    In Hebrew, the letter “Waw” or “Vav” is often transliterated as a “U” or “O,” and it is primarily used as a conjunction to join concepts together. So to join in Hebrew poetry the concept of lightning (Baraq) and a high place like heaven or the heights of heaven (Bam-Maw), the letter “U” or “O” would be used. So, Baraq “O” Bam-Maw or Baraq “U” Bam-Maw in Hebrew poetry similar to the style written in Isaiah, would translate literally to “Lightning from the heights.” The word “Satan” in Hebrew is a direct translation, therefore “Satan.”

    So when Jesus told His disciples in Luke 10:18 that He beheld Satan fall like lightning from heaven, if this were to be spoken by a Jewish Rabbi today influenced by the poetry in the book of Isaiah, he would say these words in Hebrew–the words of Jesus in Luke 10:18 as, And I saw Satan as Baraq O Bam-Maw.

    The names of both of Obama’s daughters are Malia and Natasha. If we were to write those names backward (the devil does things in reverse) we would get “ailam ahsatan”. Now if we remove the letters that spell “Alah” (Allah being the false god of Islam), we get “I am Satan”. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    Obama’s campaign logo when he ran in 2008 was a sun over the horizon in the west, with the landscape as the flag of the United States. In Islam, they have their own messiah that they are waiting for called the 12th Imam, or the Mahdi (the Antichrist of the Bible), and one prophecy concerning this man’s appearance is the sun rising in the west.

    “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.'” (Revelation 14:6-7)

    Why have the word’s of Jesus in His Gospel accounts regarding His death, burial, and resurrection, been translated into over 3,000 languages, and nothing comes close? The same God who formed the heavens and earth that draws all people to Him through His creation, likewise has sent His Word to the ends of the earth so that we may come to personally know Him to be saved in spirit and in truth through His Son Jesus Christ.

    Jesus stands alone among the other religions that say to rightly weigh the scales of good and evil and to make sure you have done more good than bad in this life. Is this how we conduct ourselves justly in a court of law? Bearing the image of God, is this how we project this image into reality?

    Our good works cannot save us. If we step before a judge, being guilty of a crime, the judge will not judge us by the good that we have done, but rather by the crimes we have committed. If we as fallen humanity, created in God’s image, pose this type of justice, how much more a perfect, righteous, and Holy God?

    God has brought down His moral laws through the 10 commandments given to Moses at Mt. Siani. These laws were not given so we may be justified, but rather that we may see the need for a savior. They are the mirror of God’s character of what He has put in each and every one of us, with our conscious bearing witness that we know that it is wrong to steal, lie, dishonor our parents, murder, and so forth.

    We can try and follow the moral laws of the 10 commandments, but we will never catch up to them to be justified before a Holy God. That same word of the law given to Moses became flesh about 2,000 years ago in the body of Jesus Christ. He came to be our justification by fulfilling the law, living a sinless perfect life that only God could fulfill.

    The gap between us and the law can never be reconciled by our own merit, but the arm of Jesus is stretched out by the grace and mercy of God. And if we are to grab on, through faith in Him, He will pull us up being the one to justify us. As in the court of law, if someone steps in and pays our fine, even though we are guilty, the judge can do what is legal and just and let us go free. That is what Jesus did almost 2,000 years ago on the cross. It was a legal transaction being fulfilled in the spiritual realm by the shedding of His blood.

    For God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23). This is why in Isaiah chapter 53, where it speaks of the coming Messiah and His soul being a sacrifice for our sins, why it says it pleased God to crush His only begotten Son.

    This is because the wrath that we deserve was justified by being poured out upon His Son. If that wrath was poured out on us, we would all perish to hell forever. God created a way of escape by pouring it out on His Son whose soul could not be left in Hades but was raised and seated at the right hand of God in power.

    So now when we put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14), God no longer sees the person who deserves His wrath, but rather the glorious image of His perfect Son dwelling in us, justifying us as if we received the wrath we deserve, making a way of escape from the curse of death–now being conformed into the image of the heavenly man in a new nature, and no longer in the image of the fallen man Adam.

    Now what we must do is repent and put our trust and faith in the savior, confessing and forsaking our sins, and to receive His Holy Spirit that we may be born again (for Jesus says we must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God–John chapter 3). This is not just head knowledge of believing in Jesus, but rather receiving His words, taking them to heart, so that we may truly be transformed into the image of God. Where we no longer live to practice sin, but rather turn from our sins and practice righteousness through faith in Him in obedience to His Word by reading the Bible.

    Our works cannot save us, but they can condemn us; it is not that we earn our way into everlasting life, but that we obey our Lord Jesus Christ:

    “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.” (Hebrews 5:9)

    “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’

    Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’

    And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'” (Revelation 21:1-8).

  3. Hey there are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any coding knowledge to make your own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

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