Top 3 Basic Gear Items for Scuba Safety

Jade Scuba Adventures and Pallin' Around Charters share their top 3 picks for basic gear items for scuba safety in the Pacific Northwest.

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1. DSMB + Spool for Scuba Safety

Do you carry a DSMB (delayed surface marker buoy) on every dive? When was the last time you practiced deploying it? Do you know how to avoid entangling yourself during deployment? Do you have the right size and type of DSMB? How many breaths does it take to inflate your DSMB?

DSMB + Spool Training

Comfort in deploying your DSMB is paramount for boat dives, diving in current or boat-trafficked areas, and as a signaling device in an emergency.

In most scuba fundamental skills, it takes a combination of the right gear, the right training, and the right practice to perfect.

If you are interested in perfecting skills like DSMB deployment with neutral buoyancy even in difficult water conditions, inquire about the SDI Foundations course taught by Ashley Arnold of Jade Scuba Adventures in Port Orchard and Brinnon on the Hood Canal (360-233-6825).

Jade Scuba Adventures Foundations student deploying DSMB with neutral buoyancy

DSMB + Spool Gear

Since one of the most important aspects of a DSMB is being visible, make sure it IS visible! Colors that have high visibility in the water include orange, red, and yellow. Can boaters spot your DSMB on the surface? Can other divers see your line in the water?

What type of spool are you carrying? Of the two most common types, delrin is more neutrally buoyant while aluminum is more negative. Is your line long enough (or too long)? While 100′ is the most common, options typically range from 75′-400.’

Additionally, many divers assume the bigger the DSMB, the better! However, you should consider if you can get enough air into it to make it erect enough to be seen on the surface.

Carrying the right gear and knowing how to use it is essential to reducing your risk while diving.

Diver with high visibility hood and line attached to DSMB

2. Cutting Device for Scuba Safety

Don’t you mean “dive knife?” Not necessarily. Sometimes, another cutting device such as a line cutter or trauma shears are more applicable to your style of diving.

While the dive knife may be the best known example of a cutting device, line cutters are small, highly effective pieces of gear for cutting commonly encountered thin lines like fishing line. As with shears, it is also more difficult to accidentally stab yourself, an essential hose, or your drysuit with a line cutter!

Travel often? Line cutters and shears are usually less regulated and easier to travel with than a dive knife.

As with many pieces of scuba gear, if you do not properly care for it and practice with with your skills it may be useless when you really need it!

When was the last time you used your cutting device? Is the blade rusted? Is it well-mounted for easy accessibility? Can your dive buddy easily access your cutting device? Do you review it during your gear check?

Jade Scuba Adventures 360-233-6925 carries the line cutters shown below from Innovative Scuba Concepts.

3. Dive Light for Scuba Safety

In the dark waters of the Hood Canal and Puget Sound, many divers already carry a dive light (torch) to best illuminate the colors of the underwater world and creatures tucked deep in hidey holes. However, have you considered it as a piece of safety gear on every dive?

As most divers have experienced, a light is helpful for communicating underwater in low-visibility situations. Also, the glow of lights can help dive partners/teams locate each other. What about if you were trying to signal for help from shore or avoid stumbling over a rock on your return to shore? What if the visibility is much lower than expected?

If you are a PNW diver, the only way to get into the water after work is with a great dive light!

At Jade Scuba Adventures and Pallin’ Around Charters, our favorites lights are of the Nanight brand. On the 3000 lumen setting (max 4000 lumens), the Sport 2 will average 2 hours without requiring additional charging and the Tech 2 cannister will average 5 hours. Nanights feature a bright light with spot beam and external charge ports for less chance of flooding. Plus, they claim to be indestructible!

Bonus points if you have a passive light attached to your tank (or other gear) with a unique identifier. Additionally, divers should carry a back-up light on every dive because you never know when it will become a low-visibility dive!

Reducing Risk in Scuba

We humbly believe the goals of all divers should focus around at least three tenants:

  • Reducing risk to yourself, your buddy, and others
  • Protecting our environment
  • Maximizing fun!

Ready to schedule a personalized class with Jade Scuba Adventures 360-233-6825 or a Dive & Dine with Pallin’ Around Charters 360-300-7810? Give us a call or text!

People on a boat