Dive Like a Pro: 15 Dive Gear Essentials for Advanced Divers

If you are on your way to becoming an Advanced Open Water diver, you might want to start thinking about buying your own dive gear. Certain items come in useful when diving deeper and at more advanced locations, so we have made a list of 15 dive gear essentials for advanced divers.

Essential dive gear

1. Dive mask

A dive mask is the first piece of dive gear you should be looking to buy for yourself. An ill-fitting mask can ruin a dive and even make you panic if you are not comfortable with clearing your mask underwater.

The problem is that everyone has a slightly different face shape, so a mask that works for one person might leak for someone else. When buying a mask, it is a good idea to go to your local dive center and try on a few different ones.

You can see how it fits against your face and if there are any gaps in the seal. Check the fit by doing the following:

  • Breathe in through your nose and hold your breath.
  • If the mask stays on your face without having to use the strap, this is a good indicator that it is a good fit for you.

2. Snorkel

Having your own snorkel comes in handy when you are having a day off from scuba diving and want to go snorkeling; all you need is a mask and snorkel and you are good to go. Some people do not realize that snorkels are also important for scuba diving. They allow you to breathe on the surface without having to waste the air in your tank.

We get it, diving can be expensive! So here are: 6 Tips for Scuba Diving on a Budget in 2024

3. Fins

Fins are essential dive gear; they help us move with ease underwater, and adjust our position, and they can get us out of danger in an emergency. They are also useful for snorkeling, so it is a good idea to have your own fins rather than rent them every time you go diving or snorkeling.

Having your own fins also ensures a comfortable fit and better quality than using rental fins. There are different options when buying fins, some are heavier than others and everyone has a personal preference.

If you have the opportunity to test out other peoples’ fins in the water, try out a few different brands to see which feels good for you before buying your own. Boots can be worn with open-heeled fins, or you can go barefoot with closed-heel fins.

4. Wetsuit

Wetsuits can be used for scuba diving, snorkeling, freediving, and pretty much any other watersport. Rental wetsuits are fine, but due to frequent use, they might be worn out, have holes or rips, or not fit you quite right.

Wetsuits are not essential for scuba diving in some locations, but even in warm water wetsuits can help protect you from sunburn and stings. When buying a wetsuit, think about these things:

  • The water temperatures where you usually dive and what wetsuit thickness you may need.
  • Whether a full-length or a short wetsuit would be most suitable. 
  • Whether you prefer a wetsuit that zips up at the front or the back. 
  • If you need neoprene socks, gloves, or a hood for extra warmth.

5. Buoyancy control device

A buoyancy control device (BCD) allows you to adjust your buoyancy underwater, so you are not kicking along the bottom or floating at the top. We cannot dive without this essential piece of dive gear.

Every BCD is slightly different, with a different fit, style, and location of features, so try a few different ones before buying one. It is nice to have your own BCD that fits you well and works in a way that you become familiar with.

6. Regulator

We cannot scuba dive without regulators! Regulators connect the air in the tank to our mouths and the BCD. Dive centers must follow strict rules surrounding the servicing and maintenance of their rental regulators. However, having your own regulators gives you peace of mind about how they have been used and looked after. You will also be the only one using the mouthpiece. 

There are different regulators for different budgets, but regulators are the most vital piece of dive gear for safety, so make sure you invest in a good set.

Not started your diving journey yet? Check this out: Learn to Scuba Dive with Confidence: Answers to 13 Scuba Diving FAQs

7. Weight belt/pockets

A weight belt is usually used for scuba diving, but some divers use integrated weights that slide into their BCD. Either way, weights are essential in scuba diving to allow you to stay under the water with ease.

Lead weights can usually be rented from a dive center (not many divers travel with their own as they are so heavy). Having your own belt or integrated pockets is a good idea so you know exactly how to use them.

More advanced dive gear

8. Torch

waterproof torch is a great piece of dive gear for cave and cavern diving and is useful for looking into crevices to find marine life. It is also a must-have for night diving. Make sure you choose a good quality and reliable torch that will last for many dives to come.

9. Tank banger

Tank bangers can be used to get the attention of other divers underwater. They come in a few different forms; some divers use a banger that fits around their tank with a hard ball attached. When you want to get your buddy’s attention, you pull and bang the ball against the tank to make a sound. 

Another style of tank banger is a metal stick (sometimes called a lobster tickler) which you can attach to your BCD or keep around your wrist and hit the tank with. 

Top tip: Some dive destinations do not allow tank bangers, so check before diving with one.

It is also important to note that many divers enjoy the peace of scuba diving, so try not to overuse your tank banger. Save it for emergencies or important moments only.

10. Dive knife

dive knife can be used to help marine life trapped in fishing nets or other human-made ocean debris. It is a useful piece of dive gear, but it is important to use it responsibly. Dive knives are banned in some locations, so check this before scuba diving.

11. Diving slates

Diving slates are useful for communicating underwater when you cannot find enough hand signals for what you want to say. Having a diving slate and pencil can help you with this.

12. Your own dive computer

dive computer is an essential piece of dive gear if you scuba dive frequently. Dive computers keep us safe by telling us how long we can stay at a certain depth without risking decompression sickness. 

Dive computers were developed using diving tables, but they can be more accurate. Having your own computer allows you to take your safety into your own hands, and it will log your dives, too. 

Diver computers come in many styles depending on your budget, but they all do the same thing.

Cold water diver? Here is: Dive into Winter: Must-Have Gear for Diving in Cold Water

13. Camera

Now that you are an advanced diver you should have good control over your buoyancy and other important diving skills. You should be ready to take a camera on your dives if you want to.

Underwater cameras help you to capture special moments from dives that you can look back on for years to come. When using an underwater camera, always prioritize safety, good buoyancy control, and the protection of marine life over getting your shot.

14. Compass

Having a compass can help when navigating tricky dive sites that do not have many natural landmarks to guide you back. The SSI Navigation Specialty Program teaches you how to use your compass underwater and gives you the skills you need to find your way around dive sites.

15. Surface marker buoy

If you are a certified diver who is planning to dive without an instructor or guide, a surface marker buoy (SMB) is an essential piece of dive gear. You take an SMB with you on your dive and then inflate it using your regulator when you are ready to surface. This informs boats that you are there and that you are about to come to the surface.

So, now you have your list of dive gear essentials, which will you buy first? 

We want you to choose the right dive gear for your needs and know how to look after it properly, to get the most from your investment.

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