Buying Your Own Equipment
So you finished your open water certification and loved it that much that you want to make it a regular thing? If this is the case then you should consider buying your own diving equipment, adding comfort, safety and enjoyment to your new hobby.
Most people start out with just the mask, snorkel and fins, hiring the BCD (Buoyancy Compensation Device), regulator and wetsuit from the dive centre when they get there. If you’re diving different parts of the world with different water temperatures then buy three different wetsuits isn’t really practical but if you’ll only be diving in warm water for instance then you might want to get your own wetsuit as well.
If you’re really serious about it though then getting the full kit is well worth while. Weights and tank are always hired from the dive centre as it’s not really practical to travel with them unless you’re diving close to home and don’t have to worry about weight with the airlines.
So where should you purchase your equipment? The internet is a great source of knowledge and can usually offer you a lower price than a store but to get the right equipment for you, you really need to try everything on. Head to your closest dive shop and find someone who is a diver themselves so they can give you the best information about what you need. If you tell them you’ll be buying a full kit then they’re sure to offer you some sort of discount.
Other than the equipment mentioned above, you should think about whether you’re aiming to dive with or without a guide. If you’re diving without a guide (but with your buddy of course) then you will need some extra things such as a timing device or dive computer, surface marker buoy, whistle to get attention on the surface (most BCD’s come with this now), compass and in some places you might need a dive knife.
Be sure to plan your dive using the dive tables you should have gotten in your open water course, if you’re only using a timing device. You will also have to make sure you have some sort of depth gauge as well. If you’re only going to go on guided dives then your divemaster should have all these things and you may not want to purchase them for now.
Be sure to find out everything you can about your equipment by asking the person you bought it from, like how to adjust your BCD for the perfect fit or how to view your logged dives on the dive computer. Read the manuals carefully on how to take care of it in order to keep everything in good condition. Always fill in the warranties and either send them in or lodge them with your dive shop so they’re valid (some warranties are automatic and valid with your receipt).
Another thing to consider is letting your travel insurance know that you want to insure yourself and your equipment for diving just in case anything gets lost or stolen. Make sure your insurance covers diving before you buy it. You can also add your equipment to your home contents insurance while you’re not travelling. Now you have everything you need to have a great dive experience so enjoy your new diving adventures and if you have some money extra, be sure to buy an underwater camera to capture all those amazing moments underwater.
(By Kelly Luckman)