by Julie Clarke-Bush
“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize” – Clairee Belcher
When it comes to dive equipment, your tank and regulator give you air, your mask helps you see, and your fins help you move. They are all essential pieces of equipment for diving. Scuba accessories are “nice-to-have” items but – depending on what diving you plan to do – can be just as important.
So, what are the key accessories every diver should have in their dive bag?
#1 Dive slates – Dive slates are underwater writing pads. You can write on them during your dive, and then rub it clean ready for the next dive. When hand signals aren’t enough, slates help divers communicate underwater. They are also handy for fish sightings notes and mapping, as well as for instructors to use as teaching reminders.
#2 Clips and lanyards – There are so many types available that we could easily write an entire article on clips and lanyards alone, but in short, they keep your gauges in the places you need to reach them, and your hoses neat and tidy. Use clips to secure your flashlight, your slates, reels, and anything you don’t want to drop during your dive.
#3 Spring fin straps – The standard straps that come with many fins can often wear and snap over time through being over-tightened or stepped on. Many divers (especially when wearing gloves) find it tricky to adjust the strap and ensure it’s locked in securely. Spring fin straps combat this issue as the springy strap can simply be pulled over the heel – eliminating the need to fiddle with strap adjustments before every dive.
#4 Zip tie wraps – These are plastic, adjustable ties which fasten with incredible strength. Use them to secure your new comfort mouthpiece on your regulator, or to secure a clip to your gauge. Zip ties are like duct tape for divers – their uses are endless. Make sure you keep a stash of them in your Save-a-Dive Kit.
#5 Comfort mouthpiece – Some divers find the ‘standard’ mouthpieces supplied with their regulator’s demand valve are too big, or too rigid and cause discomfort during the dive. Comfort mouthpieces are designed to be easier to grip and, in some cases even mould to the shape of your bite. Upgrade to one of these, and your jaw will thank you.
#6 Exposure suit hangers – One of the biggest heroes in the dive accessory department is the special hangers available for your wetsuit or dry suit. Hanging your wetsuit/dry suit will dry your suit faster and more securely to avoid damage (regular hangers don’t cut it). Hangers for booties and gloves also exist.
#7 Wetsuit Shampoo – Let’s face it, wetsuits can get stinky, especially if they’re left to fester at the bottom of your dive bag. Special shampoo for neoprene helps to remove algae, bacteria, chlorine and salt. Wash with this after a trip (and avoid these kit fails) and your gear will last longer and smell better.
#8 Mask defogger – We all know that our saliva is a free and natural way to help prevent mask fog. However, many find this technique somewhat off-putting – especially after eating! So, save your spit and get a bottle of mask defogger which does the job for you. Defog is also nice to have if you’re doing several dives in one day.
These are just a few of the accessories available from your local PADI Dive Shop that can enhance your diving experience. Did we miss any of your favorites?