Once we start something, we are driven to get better at it. It’s human nature, and the exact same thing applies when it comes to scuba diving. The equipment you invest in is usually one of the biggest catalysts for changes in the way that you dive. There are some pieces of kit that can make a big difference. Let’s take a look at some of these pieces of equipment and how they can improve the scuba diving experience.
Diving in a wetsuit is fine, but for long dives in cold water drysuits are the way to go. Wetsuit diving is pretty easy. You throw it on, jump in the water, some water will then trickle down your neck, and that’s about it. The most technical thing that happens to your wetsuit is that it gets thinner at depth. A drysuit has multiple valves and seals that you need to maintain during your dive.
The first thing that a drysuit changes is that you need to use your inflator and dump valves on your drysuit to maintain insulation and buoyancy. Your buoyancy can shift during a dive inside your drysuit, so you need to be aware of how much gas is in your suit and where it is. You don’t want the gas to migrate too far in the wrong direction, so you need to dive more horizontally. If you turn upright, it will then shift to your shoulders, and it will vent, and you’ll sink.
It’s also important to turn your neck off when you’re diving in a drysuit. So many new drysuit divers complain about leaking neck seals. However, it’s usually caused by them looking around on a dive. If you have an airtight seal around your neck, you want to try your best to move as little as possible. Looking directly up or turning your head is a great way to let water into your drysuit, so you need to look with your shoulders so the neck seal moves as little as possible.
A Full Face Mask
A lot of diving requires you to wear a mask to cover your eyes and nose, and have a regulator to your mouth. However, you can merge those two into one full face mask. Full face masks have plenty of pros and cons, but they do change your diving in a few ways. The first way is that you can now breathe through your nose, and you don’t have to bite down on a mouthpiece for the whole dive, so there’s a new sense of freedom. With your nose and mouth free, you can talk. You’ll need underwater comms, but talking to other divers is a real game changer.
Full face masks cover your whole face, so they keep your face nice and warm. They also change the way you get in and out of the water. At the end of the dive, it’s easy with a normal regulator to spit it out and climb out. But with a full face mask, it’s attached to your head like a face-hugger, so when you take that off, you take everything off. You have a couple choices when you’re getting out onto a RIB. You can whip it all off and just deal with the water splashing your face. Or you can fit a quick disconnect to the hose and leave the mask on, so you can leave the mask on and take your BCD off.