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How Scuba Works

Scuba: Additional Equipment

Divers have numerous gauges that provide information. Typically, they carry a gauge that tells them the air pressure in the cylinder, a gauge that tells them their depth and a compass for navigation. These gauges are often arranged on a single console that clips to the BCD. In addition, some divers may also carry a dive computer on their wrist to keep track of their depth and allowable bottom times. The dive computer consists of a battery-powered microprocessor that is programmed with the dive plan. The computer keeps track of depth and time and calculates the diver"s allowable bottom time about 200 times per second.

scuba information gauges
Information gauges (left) and wrist-worn dive computer (right)

Vision and Locomotion
When you"re diving, you wear a mask so you can both see and close off your nose from water. Masks can be single face plates or double face plates, and can be made with customized, prescription lenses for divers who wear eyeglasses.

scuba diver
Diver"s mask and fin

To swim easily in the water, you wear fins on your feet. Fins come in a variety of styles and colors, including full-feet and half-feet designs.

scuba dive knife
Dive knife

You can also carry the following accessories:

  • Dive knife - small knife used by divers to cut themselves free if equipment gets tangled
  • Dive slate board - small board to write on, used when divers must communicate with each other (Some dive boards are actually Magna doodles.)
  • Dive light - flashlight for illuminating objects underwater
  • Safety float - float with a line and dive flag that stays on the surface and warns passing boaters that there are divers beneath the surface
  • Signaling device - device such as a whistle or air horn, used by a diver to draw attention to himself on the surface if he gets separated from partners or dive boat

You may also choose to keep a dive kit on the boat, containing various items to repair equipment, books for planning and logging dives and first-aid kits for treating injuries.