There is a definite advantage to buying scuba diving equipment for your own personal use. Obviously you know the condition, as well as how often the gear has been serviced, and who your scuba diving gear was serviced by. You also have a benefit in that most scuba diving centers, dive clubs and dive live boards will either give you a discount for your own dive gear, or they will not charge you extra to rent their dive gear. If you do a lot of diving this will really work to your advantage, and maybe you are one of the lucky ones that have some good shore diving near by, like most of the people in Hawaii or Florida. When you have your own gear, renting tanks is cheap for a great day in Neptune’s world.
Most people start off buying a mask and snorkel then either a wet suit or fins. After this they will usually buy their regulators or perhaps a computer. Then again, if you have the financial wherewithal, you might consider buying a complete dive kit. Most dive centers promote dive packages that will suit a diver’s skills and future diving needs based on a thorough knowledge of you, from your association with the dive center. This can be a great way to go as they will put together dive sets with proven gear, and they purchase them in bulk and pass some of the saving on, so you get a better price than if you bought the dive gear ala carte.
Masks come in many styles and colors and what is important is that the mask fits you correctly; there is nothing more annoying on a dive trip than to have a mask that is leaking for the whole dive. Something you must ask is if the skirt of the mask is silicone, preferably surgical grade silicone? If you buy a mask that is plastic rather than silicone the mask will deform in time, usually in 2 years or less, once the mask deforms it is useless, as it will never seal again properly, so if you plan to dive for a long time, spending the extra money for a silicone mask is money well spent.
Snorkels are a important piece of dive gear which can save your life. When highly trained divers jump out of helicopters to rescue people on the ocean, they all ways have a snorkel. Thunderstorms generally travel pretty fast, if you are enjoying a sunny day in less than an hour you can have a thunderstorm overhead and winds whipping up the seas. I have seen it go from flat water to 2 meter seas in less than 20 min!
You have 4 basic types of snorkel You have straight tubes which will be the cheapest, tubes with purge valves on the bottom which will be slightly more expensive. Next you will have snorkels that have flexible section towards the mouthpiece that allows the tube to drop away from you mouth when not in use, which is a great feature if you are a scuba diver. The most expensive have a flexible tuba and the mouthpiece is easy to replace. You can also get dry snorkels and some tubes will allow you to retro fit a dry snorkel.
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