There are different types of scuba gears that are required for proper diving. A few of them come in the list of essential equipment that are must for the sport. These gears ensure maximum protection of a diver and help in proper diving. Among the array of equipment, there are six of them that are essential for this activity. These six essential equipment assist the diver in underwater navigation, proper breathing and in-water stabilization. This article aims at briefing you up on these equipment so that you can have a fair idea about their functionalities and can comprehend their significance. Let’s have a look at them one by one.
Also known as buoyancy control device, this essential scuba equipment is exclusively designed for in-water stabilization. It allows divers to add or vent air from a bladder so as to adjust and maintain neutral buoyancy both under the water and on the surface. With the help of this device, divers can float and hover at their will. There are three states of buoyancy at different stages of diving that can be established by a diver:
– Positive buoyancy to ascend or float to the surface.
– Neutral buoyancy when a diver wants to be at constant depth with minimum efforts.
– Negative buoyancy to descend or hold at the seabed.
Over the years since its inception, there have been several designs. Today, they are available in two designs stab jackets and as wings or harness. The jackets combine the harness and bladder into a single, compact unit, whereas the wings designs sandwich the bladder between the harness and the tank. However, both of them have the following features in common:
– A power inflator for transporting gas from the tanks to the bladders
– A vent valve for allowing gas to be released in a controlled way from the bladder to the device.
– A backplate for supporting cylinders.
– A harness that is worn by the divers with straps over the shoulders and around the strap.
This essential diving equipment is like life-support system because it provides the breathing gas to the divers. It stores and transports the gas to the diver via the demand valve of regulators. Also coined as the diving cylinders, the scuba tanks are made up aluminium or steel alloys. The internal volume of the cylinders ranges between 3 and 18 litres and the maximum pressure ranges between 200 to 300 bars.
A diving cylinder consists of the following parts:
– A pressure vessel to hold the gas that is normally made up of cold-extruded aluminium.
– A cylinder valve for controlling the gas flow to and from the pressure vessel.
– Cylinder bands that are used to hold two cylinders together.
Dive computers are the next in the line of essential equipment for scuba diving. A dive computer is a miniature form of dashboard that helps you in monitoring the present status of the rest of your scuba gears. This device is chiefly used by the divers for measuring the time and depth of a dive. It helps in calculating and displaying a safe ascent profile. With the help of dive computers, the divers can avoid decompression sickness. Based on the actual depth and time profile of a diver, a dive computer is able to perform a continuous calculation of the partial pressure of the gases in the body. Many divers prefer to carry it rather than having a separate dive watch or depth gauge. Nowadays, there are dive computers who can even provide additional information on air and water temperature and the pressure of the remaining gas in the scuba tanks.
Also called as diving regulator, a scuba regulator reduces the pressurized gas to ambient pressure and then, passes the gas to the diver. The gas is either supplied from a cylinder or through a hose from a compressor of cylinders. The scuba regulators pass the gas only when a diver inhales, that is, on demand, and when the diver exhales, it directs the breath to the water.
The modern diving regulators work through the following two stages:
– The first stage attaches the regulators to the tank valve. This stage reduces the pressure of the cylinder to an immediate pressure.
– The second stage further reduces the immediate pressure to the exact pressure that is required by the diver to breather comfortably.
Apart from the above two stages, the regulators also function via alternate second stage, low pressure hoses and SPG hoses to meet the various demands during different diving situations.
It is also known as depth gauge or pressure gauge and us used to display the equivalent depth in water. The modern depth gauges possess electronic mechanism along with digital display. They also include a timer that shows the interval of time since the time when the diver submerged into water. A depth gauge along with an oxygen sensor can be used for the measurement of partial pressure of oxygen of the breathing gas. This measurement helps the divers to avoid oxygen toxicity. Some dive gauges also show the rates of ascent and descent that can be used for avoiding barotrauma.
The next and the last one in the list of six essential scuba equipment is the scuba octopus. A scuba octopus is nothing but a secondary or alternative second-stage demand valve on a regulator. This configuration is also known as octopus demand valve or alternate air source. It is usually yellow in color, which shows that it is a backup device for emergency. It is often clipped on with buoyancy compensator. It is especially used to offer air to a second diver during shortage of air. In another configuration, the secondary demand valve is integrated with the buoyancy compensator rather than keeping it separate.