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How to Choose Your First Set of Gear

2/3/2019


Your first set of dive gear is an amazing step towards becoming a great diver. Not only does it offer you the convenience of being able to dive whenever you want, but it also allows you to work on your buoyancy skills without the variability of rental gear from all over the world. The challenge for the new divers is what gear is best for them?

Figure Out Where You Will Be Diving

Major dive manufacturers make gear for diver around the globe, ranging from the incredibly warm waters of the Caribbean to the frigid waters of the Arctic. When we talk about dive gear, we talk a lot about "suitability", which means finding the right gear for the right purpose. Think about what your dive plans are. Do you plan to do a lot of local diving? If so, you may want to invest in tanks and weights. If you are planning on only diving on vacations that involve a flight, tanks and weights can be a poor use of your money since they cannot fly easily. There are different types of gear that are made for particular environments. A warm water BCD, for instance, may not have enough lift and weight capacity for diving with a 7mm wetsuit. So where are you going to dive?

What's Your Budget?

All divers know that the sport does require some investment, but that does not mean you need to break the bank. Most good dive stores have packages that help you find gear to fit your needs. In addition, you do not need to buy everything at once! Good dive gear can last decades, so take your time and find what's right for you. There's a broad range for dive gear prices (we have BC / Regulator / Dive Computer packages ranging from $969 up to $3000+, so it's worth figuring out exactly what you want to spend.

What Is Your Gear Priority List?

Did that rental wetsuit just not sit right? Do you want to be able to digitally log your dives via Bluetooth on your phone? Are you looking for a set of gear that can fit inside a backpack so you can travel easily? There's a lot of gear in diving and it's easy to get overwhelmed, so figure out what you want first. This will help you focus on the dive gear that will make the biggest impact on your diving life!

Visit Your Local Dive Shop

While the internet has offered us an incredible amount of information, filtering through it to find which advice to take can be challenging, especially when you are new to the sport. If you trust your local dive center, go talk to the dive professionals there to find out what you need. A good dive center will not push you into unnecessarily expensive gear, but rather work with you to find the best gear within your budget. Most good dive centers will match any pricing you find from an authorized online retailer, but an online retailer will not be able to help you set up your gear and work with you on learning how to use it. Many dive centers offer additional benefits, for instance, we offer free visual inspections for everyone who buys a tank from us, which cannot be done by an online retailer. We also perform bench checks on all the regulators and BCDs we sell at no charge.

Get Excited!

Owning your dive gear is a ticket into the most incredible show on Earth. Now that you have your gear, get out and dive!

Finding a Dive Center

5/23/2018

One of the most common questions we get is how to find a good dive shop when you're on vacation or moving to a new area.

The best option to find a great dive shop, resort, or boat is to ask divers who have visited the area. Ask your local dive shop if anyone has dove where you're headed and if they have experiences they would like to share.

While nothing beats talking to divers, we're going to give you some tools to help find a dive center on your next adventure!

















A, great starting point is finding the dive shops that are available in the area. You can see a list of dive shops in locations all over the world here: PADI Dive Shop Locator. PADI Dive Centers and Resorts feature PADI dive professionals who can assist you with training and local dive site orientations.






Customer review sites can be a great source of information about how people feel about local dive shops. You can also find out more about hours of operation and links to dive shop websites. Yelp has reviews from customers and business information.








Have a great set of gear from a manufacturer that you trust? Check out the manufacturer's website to see who carries that gear in your destination. It's also a great idea to know where the nearest authorized dealer is in case you need some help with your gear while on vacation.

Taking Care of Your Dive Gear

4/10/2018

Your dive gear serves as your life support in one of the most inhospitable environments in the world, so you want to do as much as possible to take care of it. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the things you can do to take care of your dive gear so that it keeps taking care of you.

THIS IS A GENERAL GUIDELINE. ALL MANUFACTURER RECOMMENDATIONS SUPERCEDE ANYTHING WRITTEN BELOW. READ YOUR MANUALS!









Masks

This one is not too complicated. We recommend keeping masks in a box or protective case of some kind, especially when in transport, to protect the glass. When you get a new mask, make sure you clean it with either a cleaner (we like Sea Buff) or a simple toothpaste to remove the coating on new masks. Please then wash out the toothpaste with fresh water; otherwise, your dives might be more minty than you would like.

Fins

Store them somewhere where they’re not being bent and out of the sun. Cheaper fins can “banana” in the sunlight, so dry them in the shade or get better fins.

Wetsuits / Neoprene

Dry them in a cool, shaded area. Do not leave them out in the sun. We also recommend using a cleaner to limit how much they smell over the long run (we like Sink the Stink).

Drysuits

We’ll cover this separately in a future post because it’s a little more complicated.

Regulators

Regulators should be fresh water rinsed after each dive, if possible, but you never want to allow water to get into the first stage, so rinse it when it’s pressurized on a tank. Based on your manufacturer’s recommendations (usually one year for the cheaper regulators and two years for the better ones), you should have your regulator serviced by certified repair technician at your local dive store. Servicing regulators includes changing out parts, checking for safety recalls and upgrades, and tuning the regulator. If your regulator is on a two-year service cycle, it’s a good idea to bring it in during the alternate years for a quick bench check and tuning at your local dive store. Bench checks are usually not very expensive (we include them for free if you buy your regulator from us and keep up with your required service schedule), but they can detect more serious problems and damage that may have occurred to your regulator. We have seen many well-maintained regulators working 20+ years after purchase, so it’s worthwhile to get them serviced properly.

Tanks

You should have your tank hydrostatically inspected every five years and visually inspected every year. Tank inspections not only keep you safe, but they keep the fill station operators at your local dive store safe since most tank ruptures happen during the filling process. Transport and load/unload your tanks with care. If you drop a tank, bring it to your local dive center and have them check it to make sure the damage has not damaged the integrity of the tank. Tanks should never be allowed to go empty. If water floods the inside of the tank, it can cause severe damage and lead to the tank being condemned or exploding. If your tank goes empty, immediately bring it to your local dive center and inform them of what happened. We have some tools to clean out the tank, but they won’t be able to save the tank if you leave the salt water sitting for a while inside it. Do not paint or wrap your tank without consulting your local dive shop on appropriate methods. Some methods of painting can damage the integrity of your tank and could lead to an almost new tank being condemned.

Dive Computers

You should fresh water clean your dive computer based on manufacturer’s recommendations. These can vary from soaking to holding under a gently flowing water source, so make sure you read the manual. Stay ahead of battery warnings. Dive computers do their best to give you plenty of time to get the battery changed, but not if you ignore those warnings. Bring your dive computer into your local dive store to get your battery changed as soon as you see the warning. If you have a battery that is not meant to be user-replaceable, please do not try to change it. This almost always ends in a flooded computer and will definitely void your warranty.

BCDs

You want to fresh water rinse your BCD after every dive. We also like to fill ours with fresh water from time to time and flush out all the dump valves. You should have your BCD bench checked at your local dive shop once a year along with your regulator.

Dive Lights

Fresh water rinse after every dive and follow manufacturer’s recommendations on long-term care. Do not use lights made exclusively for diving on the surface as they may burn out and cause severe damage to the light!

Bags

Fresh water rinse your dive bags to keep the zippers working and don’t put tanks and weights inside them unless they were built for it!

Beyond Land Adventures