Having the right diving equipment for the dive, makes sure you have a fun and safe underwater experience. It is important to know your diving equipment.
We are going to have a look at 4 key areas of equipment:
- Why it is important to have a correct fitting wetsuit.
- A mask should be the first piece of equipment you should buy.
- The importance of having the right size of BCD.
- What is the difference in regulators
Why is it important to have a correct fitting wetsuit?
Being cold underwater can turn an enjoyable dive, uncomfortable, very quickly. It is a good idea to find out some information about the dives you are going to do, to be sure that you have the correct layers for the conditions.
Here in Lembongan, the north side of Penida can have very different water temperatures to that of the south coast. Due to this, you maybe fine in a short wetsuit when diving in the north, but may need a full length, thicker suit for the south.
Underwater; warmth is not just about adding more layers or getting a thicker suit! Water conducts heat from your body, faster than air does. Even with a super thick wetsuit, spending enough time underwater, you will get cold. The water temperature is cooler than your body temperature. Even in tropical waters, so we need to manage this body cooling long enough to get the most out of the dive.
A wetsuit works by reducing the amount of water flowing over our body. Having a proper fitting wetsuit, allows a little bit of water to enter the wetsuit. This little bit of water is then warmed by our bodies and provides a layer of insulation. If the wetsuit is too big or loose, this layer of water will not have the chance to warm.
On more of a sensitive note: When you pee in your wetsuit, you are adding extra warm ‘water’ to your suit, which does in fact slow the cooling.
A mask should be the first piece of equipment you should buy.
We have all been on dives with a leaky mask. A little bit of water, is not normally an issue and we were all taught how to clear our mask. But having to clear the mask every few minutes can be a pain or even cause panic.
We all have different shaped faces, so it is not possible for a dive centre to have masks that fit 100% of all divers out there. If you find a mask that fits you and works great on the dive, then buy it! Traveling with a mask is not a big issue, it does not take much space in your bag. Having your own mask, that only you have spat in and you know works for you underwater, could save a dive
If you are someone that needs glasses / contact lenses, it is possible to getting masks fitted with your prescription. If you have a mask that you like, check online or at Twin Island Dive if the lenses can be changed for prescription lenses. Mares, Aqualung and ScubaPro, all have a mask that can have prescription lenses fitted. This is important as not many dive centres around the world have prescription masks available for rent.
Why is important to have the right size of BCD?
If you have completed your PADI Open Water course in the last 3 years, you would have been taught about trim. Trim is the positioning of weights around your body to help with your underwater ‘balance’, giving you more control. Having the right size BCD does help with this. If the BCD is too big, you may find that the jacket rolls around your body a lot, causing your body to become lopsided. This lopsidedness can cause issues with your buoyancy, resulting in you having to consistently adjust your BCD.
One great tip to help deal with a BCD that is too big for you, causing you to be lopsided underwater is to adjust the chest clip. This clip and its adjustment can help pull everything around together, reducing the rolling effect.
What is the difference in regulators?
Without getting too technical, we are going to look at the 2 different types of regulator 1st stages and why servicing them is important.
There are two different first stages, a diaphragm and a piston. Most dive centres around the world opt for a piston first stage. This is the more basic of the two types and provides a very simple and easy air flow to divers at a shallow depth.
Piston 1st stage:
In the simplest form, a piston regulator 1st stage, has a large spring in the first stage that adjusts with the flow of air from the tank. The area with the spring is flooded with water so that the spring is also effected by the surrounding water pressure. The spring is compressed from the pressure of the tank on one side, and compressed on the other side by the water pressure. This movement opens the valve and allows the air to flow in to the divers second stage regulator. The issue with this is that if the pressure on either side of the spring is greater then the other, the flow of air is restricted. Normally this restricted air flow is felt by a diver at depth when their tank is getting below 100 Bar.
This issue does not occur with a diaphragm first stage. Inside a diaphragm first stage, there is a rubber diaphragm, like there is in every second stage regulator. This rubber diaphragm is more sensitive, then just the spring in a piston first stage.
Diaphragm 1st stage:
This rubber diaphragm flexes and adjusts inside the first stage to help the flow of air that is adjusted by the piston spring. This more exact adjustment results in an easier flow of air to the diver. This results in a less noticeable dip in ease of breathing at depth, when the tank is less then 100 Bar.
At Twin Island Dive, we understand this difference. To be sure our divers are feeling comfortable on their dives, we use only diaphragm first stages for our rental equipment.
Not only do we provide Apex diaphragm regulators for all our rental equipment, Twin Island Dive, also has 2 professionally trained service technicians. PADI Divemaster Wayan, who works at Twin Island Dive, is a Aqualung service technician. Kipp, one of the owners of Twin Island Dive, is a Apex service technician. This teamwork works great at Twin Island Dive, as we have Aqualung BCDs and Apex regulators. These two make sure that all the equipment at Twin Island Dive is working well.
If you have your own regulators, it is recommenced to have your regulators professionally serviced once a year. Not diving too often or only diving on holiday? It is a good idea to check your regulators at your local dive shop before leaving on your holiday. If for some reason, your regulators feel harder to breath then you remember, have them checked by a professional.
With these key points, we hope that you are able to have some more comfortable underwater adventures!
Find out more about taking your new equipment for some dives around Lembongan here!