SAIL - - Experience Under Sail -

Al­though it looks com­pli­cated, a com­plete scuba out­fit is com­prised of just a hand­ful of easy-to-un­der­stand items, each of which has a sim­ple, straight­for­ward pur­pose.

1. Mask — A good-qual­ity mask covers your nose, so you can ad­just for pres­sure changes by ex­hal­ing; it in­cludes a tem­pered-glass lens for safety.

2. Snorkel — Low tech, but im­por­tant, a snorkel al­lows you to breathe eas­ily while at the sur­face be­fore or after a dive.

3. Reg­u­la­tor(s) — More than just a tube con­nect­ing an air tank to a mouth­piece, a reg­u­la­tor is a multi-stage bit of equip­ment that en­sures the high-pres­sure air in your tank is at a pres­sure you can ac­tu­ally breathe, no mat­ter what your depth. So cru­cial is this piece of equip­ment, the stan­dard setup comes with at least one spare.

4. Sub­mersible Pres­sure Gauge — Al­lows you to mon­i­tor how much air pres­sure is in your tank. You can go with ei­ther a me­chan­i­cal unit or a dig­i­tal one.

5. Dive watch or com­puter — In the past a watch was cru­cial for al­low­ing a diver to track bot­tom and de­com­pres­sion times. Now a small, sub­mersible com­puter can do the think­ing for you.

6. Tank — Tanks are typ­i­cally con­structed of steel or alu­minum. They range in ca­pac­ity from 45 cu­bic feet to 150 cu­bic feet, de­pend­ing on how much air you’d like to have with you, and how long and deep you like to dive. (And how big a tank you’re will­ing to lug around.) They need to be in­spected an­nu­ally.

7. Buoy­ancy Com­pen­sator (BC) — Also called a Buoy­ancy Con­trol De­vice (BCD), a BC doesn’t just se­cure a tank to your back; it also con­tains an in­flat­able blad­der that al­lows you to con­trol how you’re float­ing in the wa­ter, whether it’s on the sur­face or down at depth mak­ing eyes with a fish.

8. Weights — Car­ried ei­ther on a sep­a­rate belt or in a BC, they are nec­es­sary to com­pen­sate for the body’s nat­u­ral buoy­ancy so that you can get to depth with a min­i­mum of ef­fort. A quick re­lease is vi­tal in the event you need to re­turn to or stay at the sur­face in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion.

9. Wet­suit — Even in the trop­ics, the sur­round­ing wa­ter will quickly suck the heat from even the hardi­est of divers when at depth. Wet suits (and dry suits in chill­ier wa­ters) also help pro­tect the body from abra­sion and any­thing that might cut or sting you.

10. Fins — Al­though you can snorkel in shal­low wa­ter with­out fins, you’re go­ing to need the ex­tra power they pro­vide.

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