Snorkeling Equipment

Snorkeling is a water-sport that many families get involved in together. Like scuba-diving, it allows you to enjoy what is under the water, but unlike scuba diving, you don’t need a lot of very expensive equipment to participate.

There is scuba equipment for almost any age, so it is easy to outfit everyone in a family for snorkeling. There are also classes you should take if you are interested in snorkeling. Generally, these are very inexpensive and only last a little while. This sport might look completely safe, but you should always get professional pointers in case of an emergency.

Before you go, it is good to have an idea of what you are going to be learning and using. General equipment for snorkeling includes goggles, snorkels, and fins.

Do not be led to believe that all snorkeling masks are the same. There are many variations on the construction of masks, and all of them are for different purposes. For the most part, the mask you buy will depend entirely on personal preference, but there are some things you should know while you are shopping for one.

One thing is that masks have different lenses. You can easily get one, two, or three lenses on a set of goggles. More lenses generally mean a wider range of visibility. Which you get is dependent on what you are comfortable with and which masks fit your face best.  Two-lens goggles are sometimes the best options for people who need corrective lenses. Sometimes manufacturers can put corrective lenses in a mask like this. You would probably only want this if you were going to be snorkeling often though.

There are also different straps that you can get on your masks. Generally, they come with buckles, and they are almost always adjustable. Neoprene straps are good choices for people with longer hair because hair does not get tangled in it as easy. If you have long hair, you should also think about braiding it so that less of your hair is floating around to get tangled in the strap.

Snorkels often come with masks, but you can also buy them separately. They consist of the mouthpiece and the barrel. There are snorkels made for adults and children, and they should be used by the person they were made for. The lung capacity of the person in question needs to be taken into account. Children won’t be able to expel the carbon dioxide completely from the barrel and could start breathing it back in.

There are many different options you can get when it comes to snorkels. You can get ones that have replaceable mouthpieces and ones that close off if they are submerged. This keeps you from inhaling water. Also, you can get ones that have a water purge option on them, so if water does get into the snorkel, you can expel it easily.

You will also want to get yourself a good set of fins. Without nice fins, your snorkeling experience may not be all that enjoyable. The purpose of them is to allow you to move through the water smoothly and without a whole lot of effort on your part.

Some fins you can buy are split, and others have holes in the sides of them. These control the flow of the water around the fins. There are also very skinny fins, and very wide ones. You need to find out what the best shape of fin is for you. You will also need to figure out if you prefer full-foot fins or straps on the back.

If you are just starting out with snorkeling, or you like a particular brand of equipment, you can look into buying snorkeling sets. These will provide you with everything you need to start snorkeling and generally come with a bag to carry your stuff in.

Once you get started in the sport, you will have found something that you can easily enjoy for many years. People of all ages participate in snorkeling, and it is something groups can do together, or you can just enjoy by yourself.

Basic Overview of Women’s Wetsuits

Women’s wetsuits are not fundamentally different from men’s suits, but they do need to be structurally different. The basic composition of a women’s suit is identical to a men’s suit. Both are made primarily of neoprene.

Neoprene was actually the first synthetically mass-produced rubber compound. It contains small pockets of gas within rubber foam. The gas used for wetsuit creation is nitrogen. The gas provides insulating properties, while the foam gives elasticity to the material that would otherwise be lacking.

Both properties are essential for women’s wetsuits, as well as men’s to function properly. A wetsuit needs to be form-fitting, to prevent the exchange of water from inside to outside from occurring. This is important because if water is continuously exchanged, your body must constantly heat new, colder water back up to body heat. Your body’s heat levels are much higher than the warmest ocean water, which causes the water to leech heat off of you. The wetsuit counters this by trapping a small layer of water next to your skin. Once this thin layer of water is heated t body temperature, it, in conjunction with the neoprene, forms a thermally protective barrier against the outside water temperature.

This barrier is only effective when the layer of water is too small to sustain currents, which could cause leakage. And that is why, while common in principle, women’s wetsuits are structurally different from men’s. A woman is typically larger in the hips, smaller in the shoulders, and larger in the bust than a man of similar height. This means that two areas of a wetsuit could potentially fail, while another sported large pockets of useless water within the suit.

Instead, women’s wetsuits can be manufactured to their specific body, ensuring a good fit. A good fit that is snug without restricting movement is the key to a wetsuit that is comfortable and effective. Without both features, one aspect or another of the wetsuit’s design will be going to waste. This is especially important to remember if you are going to go on a tourist dive and will be working with a rental suit. The selection is often limited in these locations, because the cost of maintaining hundreds of wetsuits, only a few of which are used, can be a deal breaker for a business. You should ensure that you get as good a fit as possible within their selection.

One thing that has made all wetsuits, including women’s wetsuits more comfortable and easier to wear is the addition of nylon sheeting to the neoprene. Neoprene itself is prone to sticking to wet skin, and it can tear when subjected to large amounts of lateral stress. So it was an extremely delicate process to don and remove a wetsuit. Nylon backing allowed a wetsuit to slide on and off, and it also added strength to the suit itself. Soon, nylon was placed on each side of the suits, to better protect both the inside and outside of the neoprene.

What You Should Know About Wetsuits

Wetsuits are a scuba diving item that serves two main functions. A wetsuit helps to control a diver’s temperature. It also protects a diver from incidental abrasion against underwater features that could cut the skin, such as coral or rock. Their primary purpose is the first one, temperature control.

So, why do divers wear wetsuits in all diving? After all, balmy tropical oceans won’t cause you to freeze to death, right? The answer to that is not the resounding “yes” you’d expect, but rather a tepid “mostly not.” You see, water is very different from the air we spend most of our time in. you’re probably saying “well yea, that’s why we can’t breathe it” about now, and you’re spot on in that assessment. That’s not all.

For one thing, water reacts to light differently than air. When a beam of light passes through matter, several things can happen. First, the matter can absorb the light, that is where colors come from. Certain matter absorbs all but a specific bandwidth of light, and what we see as color is the light that got away. The second thing that can happen is that the matter can reflect it. We see this happening in mirrors. The observant among you will note that still water can act as a mirror, so water has this property. The third thing that can happen is that the matter can deflect the light from its original course. This is called refraction; it’s what a prism does to create the spectrum of light we see coming out of it.

The last two are properties of both water and air. However, water is far more reflective and far more refractive than air. What does that have to do with wetsuits? Well actually, nothing, but it illustrates how fundamentally different water and air can be. Another difference between water and air is thermal conductivity. Thermal conductivity is a measurement of how well a material transmits heat. It is often closely linked with electrical conductivity. Metals are usually among the best thermal and electrical conductors around. But hey, what about water and air?

Air, contrary to popular belief, is a poor conductor of both electricity and heat. Air can reflect heat well, hence the greenhouse effect. But it doesn’t actually transfer heat very effectively. For instance, it would be far more efficient to heat and cool the walls and floor of your house than it is to pump hot or cold air through the open spaces between them. We don’t do this because it’s more expensive and troublesome to install heating and cooling systems in the walls and floor, but it would be a more effective use of technology. Lightning is another great example. Lightning has to build up a charge of several hundreds of thousands of volts before it can overcome air’s resistance to transmission and make it to the ground.

Water, on the other hand, is a much better conductor of both heat and electricity. That’s why you should never bathe with your toaster; it’ll kill you! But wetsuits, wetsuits, how does this tie in with them? Simply put, water conducts heat very well, so it conducts the heat of your body away, into the cooler surrounding water. Well, there’s a lot more water than there is you, so your body is effectively trying to heat the ocean to 98.7 degrees. Needless to say, that’s a futile effort, which can actually lead to hypothermic shock in even relatively warm waters.

How do wetsuits solve this problem? Well, a wetsuit is a thermal insulator rather than a thermal conductor. So it doesn’t transmit heat. The wetsuit absorbs water, trapping a thin layer against your skin. This thin layer of water is heated to your body temperature but is prevented from leaking into the outside water because of your suit. It effectively provides two forms of insulation for your body, keeping it at a constant temperature while you dive.

What You Should Know About Scuba Tank Holders

As un-poetic as they sound a scuba tank holder has but one purpose, to hold a dive cylinder securely. A good one does its job with no fanfare and often gets overlooked, but a poor one is quickly replaced. A scuba tank is a valuable and important piece of equipment to a diver, and they usually try to keep them from rolling around loose on the boat. A dented tank could be dangerous, and a punctured tank is absolutely useless as well as incredibly dangerous.

Do you remember in Jaws when police chief Brody kicks a scuba tank into the shark’s mouth and then proceeds to shoot the tank causing it to explode violently and thus eliminating Jaws? A pressurized tank is dangerous and will try to find equilibrium as fast as possible even if that means sending pieces of metal flying at bullet velocities. This is why it is incredibly important to keep those tanks secure at all times. A small dent can significantly weaken the material which could blow at any moment, even from a bump underwater while diving.

There are many things that a scuba tank holder can be secured to; some are just a handle meant to be carried while others are full-on installations or cabinets on a boat. The only real requirement is that the tank is secure and it can be removed easily enough. There is no point in having a scuba tank holder that is inaccessible during a dive trip whether it is blocked by lifejackets or hidden in the recesses of the boat.

The design of dive cylinder holder varies greatly from one manufacturer to another. There is more than one way to secure a scuba tank. For the economical and crafty diver, one can easily be made from nylon rope, PVC pipe, and a drill. Simply drill two holes in each PVC pipe equally apart and inside the edges. The pipe should be big enough so that when the tank rests between two of them, there is room for the tank in the dip. Two pipes will hold one tank, three pipes hold two and so on. These can be made to hold any number of tanks on a flat surface.

After the holes are drilled, the pipes should be secured to the deck of the boat or to the side. The rope goes through the holes in the pipes, under the tank and then back around to secure them. The tanks should be in contact with the rope as well as two pipes. As long as the pipes are secured to the boat well, and the ropes are tied well this is a very effective, and permanent, scuba tank holder even though it may not look pretty.

For a less permanent affair, there are many removable tank holders that secure the boat or vehicle with large suction cups. These aren’t your regular suction darts that never stick but high quality “rip the side off the boat before anything comes loose” suction cups that can be trusted with those precious air tanks.

What You Need to Know About Scuba Gear

Lots of people scuba dive every year. It is a popular pastime for people all over the country, but especially on the coasts, where people have access to the water all the time. Places like Florida attract many tourists just because of their reefs and diving spots.

If you are interested in going scuba diving, especially if you want to go regularly, you need to know about the scuba gear that you will be using. If you know a little about it before you take any lessons, it will be less confusing during the lessons. You will be able to absorb more about how to use the equipment since you will already know what it is and what it does.

Some aspects of scuba gear are very simple and easy to get and use, while others are more complicated, and you really need to know what you’re doing before you get them.

The simplest parts include the bodysuit, mask, and fins. Some people dive without bodysuits, but this is only in very warm waters. Most people prefer to wear at least a suit that covers the thighs and shoulders, and many people wear a full-body scuba suit. This helps to keep you warm, and also protects you from floating debris and animals.

The scuba mask is what allows you to see underwater. It also serves to keep water out of your nose. Many divers wear masks with snorkels attached so they can use those while preparing to dive.

Fins are crucial pieces of scuba gear as well. Even though you are underwater, you are still propelling a lot of weight, and this can be practically impossible without fins. There are many styles, and they are often used for different purposes, so you will have to figure out which kind is going to be best for you.

One piece of diving equipment that is more complicated is the scuba BCD. This is your buoyancy control device, and it helps keep you at the depth that you want to be. They come in the form of a vest that has lots of pockets on it. The pockets allow you to put all your other gear in the vest, giving you ready access to it.

Another piece of scuba gear is the regulator. This is what adjusts the air coming out of the tank. It takes the pressure from an extremely high PSI too low PSI that you can easily breathe it in. Also, as you go deeper, it adjusts the pressure of the air to work with the pressure of the surrounding water.

Of course, you will need an air tank when you dive. Air tanks are commonly made of steel or aluminum. If you rent an air tank from a scuba shop, you will probably get one that is aluminum. These are lighter and less expensive, but they are likely to get dented. Steel is heavier, and its major drawback is that it may rust if not cared for properly.

There are other kinds of scuba gear you need, such as weights, and in all reality, scuba diving is a rather expensive hobby to get into. The nice thing is that once you have your scuba gear, you don’t generally have to buy it again. You will just have to take care of maintaining your scuba gear and getting the occasional upgrade. But if you are going to spend the money, you want to get equipment that is exactly what you need and will last you a long time.

The best way to learn about what scuba gear you want is to ask your scuba diving friends or the scuba instructor for their honest opinion on types of equipment. There are varying levels of sophistication in scuba equipment, and while on some things you want to buy the best you can possibly afford, the basic models of other things will do just fine for starters.

A Primer on Diving Gear

If you want to go scuba diving, you’re going to need a full set of diving gear. Diving isn’t one of those sports where you can pick up pieces as you go along, slowly adding to your collection as you work your way into the sport. Sure, there are some things that don’t need to be on hand for every dive, and you won’t need all the tools a technical diver uses for recreational diving, but the fact is that most of the equipment a diver takes with them, they need every time out.

Take your tanks, for instance; there’s a piece of diving gear no scuba diver will be insane enough to leave the surface without. Diving without air – well it’s not scuba diving, is it? The irony of that statement is that almost all divers dive with something other than air in their tanks. Oh sure, they use compressed gasses, but they’re not air. Air is defined as the heterogeneous mixture of gasses that occur in the atmosphere. The mix contains impurities, pollutants, areas where certain gasses are more prevalent, the whole concept of air is one big, uncontrolled mix.

That doesn’t work for a diver; they need a scientifically precise mixture of gasses with documented effects on the human body. Why the need for precision? Pressure, in a word, is the reason. Divers operate under high pressures. Because of the way the human lung works, this means that their air has to be supplied at high pressures. This necessarily high pressure amplifies the effects of gasses. A slight irritant at atmospheric pressure becomes a deadly toxin in high concentration. And that’s exactly what high pressure does; it concentrates gasses.

It can get so bad that even the oxygen we breath starts having adverse effects on our bodies. The atmospheric concentration of oxygen is around 21%. Some diving mixes shave that down to 16%; just so that our body can handle high-pressure doses of it. Nitrogen, the other major component of our atmosphere, is also toxic at high concentrations. Deep sea diving mixes often cut it out of the air mix entirely, electing to replace it with helium and hydrogen. This requires specialized diving gear to switch between air tanks for use as you descend to different depths and to switch back when you are on your way up.

And that’s only one piece of diving gear! Admittedly, along with your mouthpiece and air delivery system, your tanks are the most important thing you bring with you when you go down. But there is the rest of your body to worry about as well. You can’t move efficiently without flippers for your feet. You won’t be able to see, and you could actually seriously damage your eyes if you go deep enough without a diving mask. And of course, there’s the suit. Whether you choose a wetsuit or a dry suit, you’ll want something to cover your body when you go down, the water temperature at the surface may seem balmy, but the temperature can quickly turn frigid as you descend to the darker depths of the sea.

If you want to learn more about diving gear, we recommend you head to our guides section for more information.

Diving Compressors – What They Are And Why You Need Them

A diving compressor is an air compressor that provides breathing-quality air to a diver. This can be done by filling diving cylinders (tanks) or by providing constant air at the surface. Compression condenses the breathing gas, removing the water and allowing a certain volume of gas to be contained or stored.

Diving compressors are large three or four stage reciprocating air compressors. They can use oil or some have ceramic lined cylinders with O rings so that no lubrication is needed. Those that use oil must only be lubricated with the oil specified by the manufacturer. Filters are installed to remove water and oil residue. Be aware that just because an air compressor is oil-free it does not mean the gas output will be of breathable quality.

A diving compressor will meet certain criteria- including air quality. They operate at much higher volumes than the standard garage’s air compressor. Compressors used to fill cylinders must provide high pressure and low volume whereas compressors used at the surface will provide low pressure but high volumes of breathing gas because they are normally supplying more than one diver with air.

Those looking to purchase a diving compressor should be trained and certified in inspecting scuba equipment. Being a Professional Scuba Inspector (PSI) means the diver will know how to safely fill and inspect a diving cylinder. Incorrect procedures can mean life or death in the waters.

A certified inspector will first make sure the cylinder is in compliance (meaning it has been recently tested.) They will then remove or bleed out air until the tank is at five or ten pounds PSI- a tank should never be fully emptied. With the tank mostly empty the inspector will shake the tank, checking for loose objects or water.

The inspector will then examine the valve- looking for rust or damage. Then he will begin to fill the tank. The cylinder will be placed in a cool bath and filled slowly (at less than one bar per minute.) This is to prevent the cylinder from becoming heated, which can cause an unsafe reduction of pressure in the tank when cooled.

Some diving compressors come with a bank. Compressors used to fill dive cylinders may have a bank that will fill storage tanks when it is at idle. Surface supplied compressors will have a bank filled with back up breathing gas in case of mechanical failure.

As stated above, compressors remove water from the gas, which is good for the dive cylinder because it prevents the formation of rust. It will also prevent the regulator from freezing. This, however, does make the air very dry, leaving divers at greater risk for dehydration. It’s crucial to make sure the divers are adequately hydrated before and after the dive to prevent decompression sickness.

Decompression sickness occurs when a diver ascends too rapidly, and the body becomes overly saturated with nitrogen. Decompression sickness can be fatal if severe. Along with making sure they are hydrated divers should make sure to complete several decompression stops on their way back up from a dive.

Diving compressors are an important part of the safety of scuba diving. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure cylinders are properly filled and inspected by certified divers. Those looking to own a diving compressor themselves should be aware that the equipment is an investment and know how to properly care for and use the compressor. A diving compressor will be the most expensive piece of equipment a diver can own, so it is often only purchased by those looking to open their own dive shops or scuba tours.

Why You Need Diving Weights

Diving weights are used to ensure that a diver has zero buoyancy. This is a critical aspect of diving, because if a diver does not have a zero, or neutral buoyancy, they will need to expend effort just to remain in place. This will cause a diver to tire more quickly and need to leave the water sooner than would otherwise be necessary.

Contrary to the perfectly normal fear of drowning, a human being does not sink in water. We are naturally lighter than water, and as long as we don’t fill our lungs with it, we will float in the water. Loading ourselves up with gear might seem to counteract that and cause us to sink, until you stop to remember than we have a tank full of air strapped to our backs. This causes us to be buoyant, which is where diving weights come in. Buoyancy is calculated by the weight versus the amount of water displaced. If you weigh less than the water you would move out of the way, you float. If you weigh less, you sink.

The diving weights are usually small lead weights that can be placed within a diving belt to add a little more weight to a diver. This is usually done little by little, until neutral buoyancy is achieved. Until that happens, a diver must constantly be swimming down in order to avoid floating back to the surface. Thankfully it doesn’t take a deep immersion to figure out whether or not a diver is at a neutral buoyancy, if they can sit a few feet below the surface without moving, and not rise or sink, then they are good to go.

Freestyle Men’s FS81324 Hammerhead XL Stainless Steel Watch Review

Having a water-proof watch with you while scuba diving is a convenient way to keep track of your time underwater, and more importantly, helps you manage your air supply in a more efficient manner.

The Freestyle Men’s FS81324 “Hammerhead XL” Stainless Steel Watch is a great dive watch with an easily readable display, and extra large buttons which are easy to operate even with dive gloves on.

The watch band is very comfortable and slightly oversized to accommodate the extra width that dive gloves add to your wrist. Being water-resistant to 200m is about 4 times as much as you would need on a regular scuba dive since at diving at depths below 40m requires special equipment and training.

A lot of the customer reviews of this product say the same thing; namely that the watch looks even better in person than it does in the advertiser’s image. Many people report liking the style so much that they simply wear this watch all the time, not only while diving.

This watch also features a tide table dial which is a cool addition not only for divers, but surfers as well! The old school analog display is a nice departure from the standard digital display you’ll find on most dive watches today, and the whole color scheme of the watch just “works” in both a functional and aesthetically pleasing way.

So if you’re looking for an attractive way to keep track of your time under the water, or simply want a good water-proof watch for a day of body boarding at the beach, the Freestyle Men’s FS81324 “Hammerhead XL” Stainless Steel Watch is an attractive analog take on the modern dive watch. The perfect accessory for your dive gear or snorkel set.

OTS Guardian Full Face Mask Review

The OTS Guardian Full Face Mask is a remarkable piece of diving equipment, known for its good performance in cold water diving situations (including ice diving). This mask rarely fogs and will almost never freeze. It comes standard with an ambient breathing valve to help you preserve your tank while above the surface, and also features a double seal to accommodate various face sizes and shapes.

The OTS Guardian Full Face Mask has a wide viewport which offers outstanding visibility. The mask comes with its own special storage bag which is ventilated to make sure it gets as dry as possible between uses. It’s been reported that the mask seals best for bare skin, but can work properly with thin latex hoods as well (although it may become harder to clear your ears when using a hood).

The only downsides to the OTS Guardian Full Face Mask are the standard downsides that come with using any full face mask, namely the special drills and procedures you must be familiar with in the event you have an equipment failure or OOA incident. Because of this it’s recommended that you always bring a regular mask as a back up in case you have to hook up to either your own, or your buddies’ backup octopus.

Of course the OTS Guardian Full Face Mask also has all the perks that a full face mask offers; allowing nasal breathing which helps prevent dry throat, the ability to talk, and more importantly – added safety in situations where the diver loses consciousness (divers in full face masks are much more likely to stay connected to their air supply than a those with standard regulator).

The mask also comes with a set of nose blocks which should fit almost anyone.

The OTS Guardian Full Face Mask comes in 7 different color combinations:

  • Blue / Black (Area inside the faceplate is blue)
  • Black / Blue (Area inside the faceplate is black)
  • Black / Pink
  • Black / Green
  • Black / Red
  • Yellow / Black
  • Solid Black

The OTS Guardian Full Face Mask is a great pick for any dive, but has gotten its best reviews from people who enjoy the thrill and the chill that comes with diving at very low temperatures.