The right diving equipment for beginners & professionals
As in almost every sport there is also special equipment for diving. Many things are suitable for beginners, but some things only become important when diving is done professionally. Usually you will already need basic equipment for your first diving course. This consists of a perfectly fitting diving mask (to be tried on in the shop), a snorkel and fins.
The fins For beginners who go diving in swimming pools, lakes or calm waters, soft fins are better suited, as they forgive mistakes in leg movement more easily and are easier to handle even for untrained swimmers due to the lower effort. Harder fins, on the other hand, are used in areas with current, as the force can be better transferred to them. The leg movement must be perfect and there must be sufficient strength in the calf muscles.
The right diving suit Basically there are three types of diving suits: The wet suit, the semi-dry suit and the dry suit. The wet suit is usually made of neoprene and fits snugly against the body. However, water can still enter at the arm and leg ends as well as at the zipper, which heats up to body temperature and circulates between body and suit. The insulation of a wetsuit is good and also suitable for cooler waters, but less for cold water diving. Basically, the semi-dry suit works just like a wet suit, but it offers a slightly better protection against water entering the sleeves, feet and face.
Dry suits (as a neoprene suit with its own thermal insulation or as an outer layer with an insulating undersuit) have attached booties and fixed arm cuffs so that no water can enter the leg ends and sleeves. The disadvantage of the dry suit is the increased air volume between the body and the suit, which must be compensated with lead and which can lead to problems in balancing the swimming position because the air circulates inside. In addition to the suit, a hood, gloves and booties are needed to protect against heat loss.
The regulator The regulator is connected to the compressed air cylinder and enables the breathing of the pressurised breathing gas contained in it. For this purpose, the regulator reduces the breathing gas from the cylinder to the pressure in the environment. There are two stages for this: stage one reduces the pressure of the breathing gas to four to twelve bar above the surrounding pressure, stage two reduces this pressure once again to slightly above the surrounding pressure. The inflator hose for inflating or deflating the buoyancy compensator and a finimeter indicating the remaining amount of breathing gas in the bottle are usually attached to the first stage. For hygienic reasons, a regulator should always be part of a diver's basic equipment, whereas a compressed air cylinder can be borrowed from local diving centres.
Other things the beginner needs for diving Lead weights Lead weights, which compensate the buoyancy of the diver and his equipment, are usually in a separate belt or in special pockets in the buoyancy compensator. Without lead weights, the diver's downforce is hardly possible, so they are part of the basic equipment.
The jacket or buoyancy compensator The buoyancy compensator is filled with air from the compressed air cylinder in order to keep the diver on the water surface without any problems. To lower into the depth, the air is gradually released from the vest, to ascend after the dive, it is then filled again with air, so that the diver comes up again. The vest also serves as a carrying device for the compressed air cylinder. A buoyancy compensator does not belong to the basic equipment for the novice diver, it can usually be rented at diving bases and can be purchased over time.
Depth gauge and dive computer A depth gauge shows the diver his current and often also his maximum diving depth. Dive computers have an integrated depth gauge and also measure the dive time to create a profile of the dive. This prevents decompression accidents for the most part. A depth gauge and a decompression table (according to which the calculations of the dive computer are carried out manually) are part of the basic equipment. If you prefer to rely on the dive computer, you can usually borrow one.
Optional diving equipment for advanced divers Diving compass A water- and pressure-resistant diving compass is used for orientation and navigation under water, which can be a problem when no compass is used due to the often poor visibility.
Diving flag A diving flag is used as a protection or warning signal.
Diving knife A diving knife with a stainless blade, often equipped with a saw or rope cutter, helps to free the diver from an emergency under water. For example, the diver can get entangled in fishing nets and cut them with a knife or scissors.
Diving lamp A water-resistant, bright flashlight with halogen, LED or xenon light helps the diver to find his way during night dives, cave dives or day dives when visibility is poor.
Diving rope For cave dives a rope is used so that the way back can be found more easily. In case of poor visibility, a partner line is used so that the contact to the dive partner does not break off.
Dive log Divers usually keep a logbook in which each dive is recorded. Data such as dive depth, temperature, dive time, equipment used and special events can be used to record the diver's experience. For registrations in diving bases or for diving courses, the logbook is looked at. If the logbook is not clean or in doubt, the diver may be rejected. Diving partners usually sign their logbook entries mutually or stamp them with individual stamps.