Plumb the Depths of Style: Essential Gear for DiveMasters

The Time Bum loves diving watches, but diving? Not so much. I'm strictly a surface-dweller. I suspect I'm not alone among dive watch fans in this regard, but for those of you are thinking about exploring the briny depths, watch and scuba enthusiast Michael DiMartini has some suggestions for the right gear to get you started.

For divers, there’s a certain method to curating dive gear for a highly-anticipated excursion. You want to find the perfect blend of practicality, performance, and style. From basics like your mask and snorkel to more high-tech accessories, this list includes all the scuba diving gear you need to strike the perfect balance between the smart and stylish.

Note that it is not necessary to buy the majority of your scuba gear since many places offer it for rent or as part of excursion packages. However, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) recommends investing in your own scuba gear as a safety precaution, since it ensures that you’re extremely familiar with your gear and that you get the perfect fit. 

The Basics: Technical Gear that Every Diver Needs
  • Mask — As one of the most basic components of your scuba cache, your mask should be made with a tempered glass lens and have a comfortable silicone or rubber strap that you can adjust as needed. You want your mask to fit snugly; it shouldn’t be too loose or too tight. Consider picking up a mask with a purge valve to keep water out.
  • Snorkel — Your snorkel helps make your time at the surface of the water more enjoyable. Choosing a snorkel that fits you properly — with a comfortable mouthpiece and an adjustable attachment strap — is key to ensuring that your diving journey is smooth and safe.
  • Fins — Make sure that when you’re shopping for fins, you look for diving-specific styles. Unlike snorkeling or swimming fins, diving fins are more agile and comfortable in order to compensate for the extra weight and bulk of diving gear. 
  • Wetsuit — A good diver’s gear adjusts with the environment. For example, if you’re diving in cold waters, you’ll need a full-body wetsuit (also called a steamer) with special waterproof seals to keep you warm and dry. The right wetsuit will keep you warm while also protecting your skin from stings and scratches.
  • Scuba Tank — You’re going to need a tank if you intend to plunge past the surface! A good scuba tank is compact yet high-volume, holding enough compressed gas to allow you to breathe during longer dives. Scuba tanks are generally made of aluminum alloy or steel so that they endure in demanding environments. 
  • Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) — A BCD (also referred to as a buoyancy compensator or a stabilizer) is a device that’s used to help you maintain control in the water. It uses an inflatable bladder that lets you adjust your buoyancy levels as needed. Most also hold your tank. Pair your BCD with a weight system for more control in the water. 
  • Regulator — Your diving regulator is the device that allows you to breathe underwater. These components deliver air from your scuba tank to your mouth, allowing you to breathe normally beneath the surface. This part links to your tank, BCD and submersible pressure gauge.  
  • Submersible Pressure Gauge (SPD) — Your SPD is an essential piece of gear that lets you know how much air is left in the tank. This allows you to closely monitor air levels so that you can dive at safe depths without getting too low. Some dive computers have built-in SPDs so you can skip this part if you’re diving with an SPD-equipped computer.
  • Safety Equipment — All divers should only embark on an adventure when they have the proper safety equipment in hand. In some areas, it’s required by law to fly a dive flag to signify to boats that you’re diving. You will also want to keep a signaling device — generally a waterproof, high-visibility flag or an audible option such as a whistle or horn — with you so that you’re prepared in the unlikely event of an emergency. It’s also helpful to keep a stash of safety-focused diving tools on hand if things go sideways.
Accessories that Go Deep and Add Style
  • A Solid Diving Watch — Since Rolex invented the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, in 1926, diving watches have come a long way. Rolex still dominates in the industry, but there are plenty of other diving watch makers to look out for if you’re on a budget. You want to ensure that your dive watch is depth-rated to at least 330 feet (100 meters). You can also choose one with extra diving features, like depth gauges and compasses. 
  • A Hard-Wearing Watch Band — If you want to take your expensive or vintage dive watch with you on your deep-sea journey, make sure you equip it with a band that can handle the depths. Choose a water-resistant diving watch band made from vulcanized rubber to ensure all-day comfort and performance during the deepest dives. Look for bands that feature a tang buckle for a customized fit.
  • A Reliable Dive Light — Whether you’re diving at night or find yourself in deep and dark waters or caverns, a good-quality scuba light can help you navigate and read your gauges. You don’t want to explore the depths of the sea with any old flashlight. Pick a diving-specific light with a watertight, pressure-proof design. LED lights are a good choice because they last longer, but you’ll get more brightness from a HID style.
  • Luggage and Cargo Carriers — Dive bags are unique in that they must be able to handle a wide range of demands, from air travel to deep-sea dives. These cargo carriers often feature built-in handles and wheels for easy navigation and have reinforced materials to keep them in good shape while carting heavyweight gear. Some also have corrosion-proof hardware and drainage holes for eliminating excess water. 
  • A Comfortable Diving Parka — If you’ve ever been on a dive in moderate or chilly weather, you know how valuable a good dive parka can be. These loose-fitting accessories fit over your bulky diving gear to provide you with instant warmth and protection as soon as you get out of the water. Pick one with toasty polar fleece lining for additional warmth. ⬩

Michael DiMartini serves as the CEO and designer for Everest Bands. He oversees marketing expansion as well as new product development and design from the Everest Headquarters in St. Louis, MO. Years of enthusiasm, design, and hands-on production management in the watch industry have cultivated his already existing passion for watches and fashion.
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