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Scuba Diving Gear. Let me go ahead and introduce you to S.C.U.B.A . gear. Scuba stands for "Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus." Just say scuba for short. First and foremost we will need a mask and fins. I have left out snorkel here because I want to concentrate on the actually diving, not snorkeling. Masks come in all shapes, colors and sizes. Some even have a unique "hole" in the nose area called a purge valve that allows air to escape but water can not enter in for easy mask clearing. Masks should be nice fitting, not to lose or tight. When wearing a mask make sure there is no crimps or hair between the mask skirt and the face. Next, get yourself some nice fitting fins. Fins too come in all shapes sizes and colors. For now, stay with the traditional type fins. Fins should be snug, not overly tight but tight enough to not slip off during the dive. Some fins are used with either boots or without boots depending on the what water temperatures you will be diving in. I like the full-fit fins, the type of scuba diving fins that needs no boots. California divers who scuba dive in cold water on the other hand, will need boots since they do water entries from rocky areas and the water temperature is chilly. You do lose a lot of heat from your feet.
Wetsuits are a must. I can go on and on about scuba diving wetsuits but your wetsuit will be determined by the type of diving, water temperature and conditions that you will be in. Oahu scuba diving and most of Hawaii scuba diving you can get away with using a 3mm thick neoprene full wetsuit. Referring back to say California, divers there use 7mm suits and dry suits. The thicker the wetsuit the more led weight you will have to use to counteract the positive buoyancy effects of the suit. The neoprene actually has small air pockets inside to thicken the suit and provide proper insulation from the the water temperature. Next is the jacket that will hold the scuba tank and contact everything together. This jacket is called a buoyancy control device or B.C.D. for short. Even B.C. is fine to say. The B.C. is responsible for setting the buoyancy underwater ( getting that neutral weightless feeling) and providing lift at the surface, sort of like a lifejacket. Connecting external gear like the inflator hose from the regulator setup twill allow you to add air into the jacket manually. You can also do this orally by blowing into the inflator mechanism.
Ok. How are we going to breath underwater ? I am sure you have seen those diving movies right ? On their backs you seen those round cylinder objects. These are called SCUBA bottles or SCUBA tanks and hold various amounts of air depending on the size. Recreational scuba diving like here in Hawaii uses aluminum tanks that are 80 cubic inches in volume.
We commonly call them "80s." These tanks weigh roughly 45 pounds. Sometimes divers prefer steel tanks usually because they hold a bit more air. Technical divers may actually have 2 scuba tanks connected to their BCD jacket which will allow for longer than usual bottom times. Once in the water you don't even notice the weight. The SCUBA tank is your life-support system- in a way the same sort of equipment that an astronaut uses. Attached to the top portion of the tank is the regulator setup or the 1st-stage, as it is the first stage at which the air is being broken down. Just opening the valve to the tank would be too difficult to breath from. The picture on the left you can see two black round pieces called a regulator. These are what you use to breath from. Why have 2 regulators on this setup? Well, look at it this way. One is used as a "spare tire" but more or less used in dealing with your dive buddy if he or she runs low on air. A great redundant system and is standard on all of Oahu Diving's gear. Also you can see the gauges to the right of the regulators too. The gauge on the top will show you the air pressure and the other on the bottom will show you the depth of the dive. Gauges now come in a computer form that will show you how long you can stay at a certain depth. Obviously a little bit more in terms of expense. We prefer using digital dive computers that you wear on your wrist.
The lead weights come in different weight increments. 2 pounders, 3 pounders and so on. Lead weight comes in hard form or soft form being made like a bean-bag with small lead pellets inside. Weight used for Oahu scuba diving is around 12-16 pounds. This is because here in Hawaii we don't use thick wetsuits and bulky dive gear so we don't need a lot of weight. Each diver however is different and will require different weight. Usually goes that the bigger the person in terms of body fat the more weight they will use. Thin people or people who do not have a lot of body fat will use less and sometimes none in some cases. Always use caution when handling dive weights, these things are known to break toes and ruin days.