23 June 2006

Diving equipment

You cannot dive without being properly trained in how to use the right diving equipment. This article explains the importance of diving gear.

You cannot dive without being properly trained in how to use the right diving equipment. These include the following:
  • diving air cylinder with harness
  • demand valve (diving regulator)
  • full neoprene wetsuit comprising a neoprene hood, neoprene boots, gloves, and a half mask (with spare strap)
  • weight belt with spare weights
  • diving fins (with spare straps)
  • snorkel
  • sharp serrated knife
  • plastic whistle
  • a diving bag

Usually a wetsuit is a two-piece comprising a john and a jacket. These days however most wetsuits are all in one, and they are far more effective in cold water. With regards to insulation, wetsuit material ranges from a thickness of 2mm to 10mm.

The function of a wetsuit is to give divers thermal protection (water between the skin and suit is warmed through body heat), buoyancy and limited protection from underwater elements.

How effective your wetsuit will be, purely depends on the duration of a dive, water temperature, the physical activity of the diver, and lastly, the overall quality and condition of the suit. Diving in extremely cold water can be very dangerous, and for this a dry suit is strongly advised.

Colder waters, warmer suits
Dry suits are a baggy one-piece, watertight diving outfit with boots included. They are manufactured from waterproof material with sealed seams, cuffs and a zipper. Warm clothing is worn underneath the suit. A dry suit is usually worn when diving at very deep levels.

The following additions form part of a dry suit:

  • air inflation valve connected to the air supply
  • an exhaust valve on the upper arm (to regulate air pressure inside the suit as a descent or ascent is made)
  • an umbilical containing a hot water hose (to keep the diver warm and comfortable), communications cable, depth metre, and gas supply, which is all connected to machinery on the surface

(Health24, June 2006)

Information obtained from Jos Beer, Safety and Training Manager, Cape Diving (Pty) Limited.

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Dive training


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