Scuba Dive Equipment in Northern Virginia?
Every Scuba Diver needs certain equipment to safely scuba dive and while most of the equipment is standard there are some variations in what is needed depending upon where you will scuba dive. Today we will look at the regular scuba equipment needed and will also look at how it might differ in different locations such as Scuba Dive Equipment Northern Virginia.
Scuba Diving Mask
The human eye cannot focus in water. The scuba mask provides an air space so your eyes can focus and you can see clearly underwater. A properly fitted mask is not just a luxury item but your eyes to the underwater world. There are several manufacturers of quality scuba masks: Sherwood Scuba, Scuba Pro, Mares and Aeris are just a few of the better brands available.
A snorkel lets you breathe with your face in the water, and to breathe more easily when waves are splashing about, without wasting air from your scuba tank. It’s especially useful when your cylinder is nearly empty and you have a long wait or swim to the boat or shore. Snorkels come in several varieties and colors.
Fins are your means of propulsion while scuba diving. Fins provide a large surface area to push against the water. This allows you to swim using your powerful leg muscles. This moves you more efficiently and frees your hands.
Open heel adjustable – Open heel adjustable fins are the main fins used for scuba diving. They have the power to push you and your gear through the water. These fins require you to wear wet suit boots (booties). Booties also come in handy for shore dives to protect the bottoms of your feet when entering and exiting the water.
Full foot fins – Full foot fins aren’t adjustable and don’t require wet suit boots. They go on like slippers. Most smaller fins suited to snorkeling or very lightweight scuba diving are full foot fins
Scuba Exposure Suits
Water absorbs heat about 800 times faster than air does, so you cool rapidly in water. Also, the scuba diving environment sometimes has a potential for scrapes, stings and burns. Exposure suits help you retain heat and provide protection against incidental skin injuries and sunburn. Scuba Divers in colder climates will use wetsuits that are thicker to provide extra warmth and protection. While there are many manufacturers of quality exposure suits Henderson and Scuba Pro are among the finest.
Scuba Divers in exceptionally colder climates will use a dry suit when scuba diving. A dry suit will keep you warmer in colder climates since you are dry underneath. This cuts down on the amount of heat conduction a scuba diver undergoes. Most Dry Suit Divers will use a fabric suit with insulated underwear underneath appropriate to the local environment. DUI Dry Suits are among the finest dry suits made.
A scuba cylinder (more commonly called “scuba tank”) holds compressed breathing air that you use during the dive. Modern scuba tanks are made from aluminum alloy or steel alloy and are rated to hold pressures as high as 200 bar/3000 psi. Aluminum is by far the most common type of scuba cylinder in use due to its durability and lower cost.
Scuba Diving Regulator
The scuba regulator takes high pressure air from your scuba tank and adjusts it to the pressure you need for breathing. It supplies air only when you inhale (on demand), and directs your breath into the water when you exhale.
There are several different brands and types of scuba regulators available. Divers in cold water areas like Northern Virginia will often select a scuba regulator that is environmentally sealed to prevent cold water freeze up or free flowing of the regulator. Some of the better known and higher quality scuba regulators are the Sherwood SR-1 regulator and the Scuba Pro MK25/S600 regulator. Mares and Zeagle also make quality regulators.
Buoyancy Control Device or BCD
The buoyancy control device or BCD allows you to add or release air from a bladder so that you can adjust your buoyancy. This lets you float, hover or descend slowly at will. The BCD is, or integrates with, the harness that holds the scuba cylinder on your back and unites this and the scuba regulator into a single scuba unit.
There are two main types of buoyancy control devices: the jacket style and the rear inflation style.
The Jacket Style BCD is the most popular style in recreational diving, this style BCD combines the harness and air bladder into a single compact, sleek unit. The bladder is primarily along your back, but sweeps forward under your arms for balance when inflated at the surface. The Sherwood Avid and the Scuba Pro Glide Pro and two of the more popular Jacket Style BCD’s.
The Rear Inflation or Back Mount BCD is rapidly gaining in popularity. Since the bladder is in the back it is more streamlined and offers less drag then the traditional Jacket Style BCD. The Zeagle XZena and the Scuba Pro Lady Hawk are two very popular women’s rear inflation BCD’s. The Zeagle Stiletto and the Scuba Pro Knight Hawk are popular mens rear inflation BCD’s. All four are of exceptional quality and include integrated weight systems for easy use.
When ever you scuba dive you need to know how long you have been down, how much air you have left and what your remaining no decompression time is. Do this and you will be a safe diver – neglect any of these and you are putting yourself and your dive buddy at risk. While many scuba divers use standard gauges for air and depth, today more and more are using scuba diving computers to monitor this information. There are several very good dive computers available today and fast becoming the most popular are the air integrated computers. These will monitor both your remaining air time and your remaining no decompression time. Two of the most popular models with hoses are the Sherwood Wisdom Computer and the Aeris AI Computer console. Air Integrated Computers are also available in hoseless models as well. In this case a radio transmitter sends the information from the regulator to the wrist computer. The Aeris T-3 and the Scuba Pro Luna are two of the more popular of these units.
Whichever you choose make sure that you read the manual and monitor the computer frequently. Next time we will look at Accessory Equipment that is part of your Scuba Dive Equipment Northern Virgnia.