Must Have Tools for a Safe Dive
Scuba diving is the best sport in the world, but like all high-adrenaline activities, things can sometimes go sideways. When they do, your level of preparation can make all the difference.
There are products designed to keep you safer, but to help you stay safe, they have to be stowed in a BC pocket, clipped to a D-ring or stored on the boat, not collecting dust in a closet.
Here are some must-have tools for building a safety cushion into your dive plan.
Note: List last updated 22 November 2015
RRP: $195, Our Price: $135, You Save $60 (31%).
This light's compact casing holds three AA batteries that deliver close to three hours of burn time at full power. The Stubby LED-1500 is small enough to fit in most BC pockets yet feels substantial in the hand. Its simple twist on and twist off switch eliminates accidental activation. Most important, this dive torch cranks out powerful illumination. The lens is triple O-ring sealed and depth rated to 200 metres. Comes complete with a wrist lanyard and a soft Goodman handle. It's a brilliant backup dive light, or a compact primary torch.
RRP: $110, Our Price: $99, You Save $11 (10%).
The best non-electric underwater compass we've come across, the Suunto SK8 sports high-visibility numerals, convenient side-viewing window and phosphorescent card. It's easy to read, and its +/- 30-degree tilt makes it usable at any angle. The bezel ratchets every 5 degrees to allow for precise navigation.
RRP: $115, Our Price: $95, You Save $20 (17%).
One way to attract attention, both at depth and on the surface, is with a pneumatic audible alarm. The latest version of the Dive Alert Plus connects without tools between your BCD's inflator and its quick-disconnect hose. For surface use, all you have to do is squeeze and it activates a horn that can be heard from as far as 1.5 kilometre away. Underwater, another squeeze emits a loud buzz. Either way, people will know you're there.
Our hands-down favourite safety device for local diving is the Nautilus Lifeline. The Lifeline is fully waterproof and depth rated to 130 metres (425 feet). It's also falling-down-simple to use. The Lifeline makes use of VHF radio and GPS. Press the green button, and you can use your VHF radio to make non-emergency contact with the dive boat. The orange button, preset to Channel 16, sends out your verbal distress call, and the red button transmits a digital Mayday with your exact GPS coordinates to any boat in the area equipped with Digital Selective Calling.
RRP: $5, Our Price: $4, You Save $1 (20%).
This bright-yellow noisemaker can be heard up to a kilometre away. What's more, the Sonar Safety Whistle is inconspicuous, clipping easily to a BCD D-ring, making this the quintessential backup safety device.
RRP: $140, Our Price: $110, You Save $30 (21%).
Many recreational divers have no signalling system, or at the very least just a safety sausage. They shy away from having a proper reel and SMB because they find them intimidationing or bulky. Well the Buddy Pocket Reel is the perfect solution to the problem of bulky and cumbersome SMB/Navigation reels. It can be easily stowed in your BCD pocket or clipped unobtrusively to a D-ring.
RRP: $375, Our Price: $295, You Save $80 (21%).
A real gem of a product, the Buddy SMBCi features an independent inflation mini-cylinder available with either DIN or Int A-clamp fittings. Deployment is simply a question of unfurling the SMB and cracking open the mini-cylinder. You'll have a full stiffy on the surface every time.
RRP: $105, Our Price: $85, You Save $20 (19%).
For an emergency signal you can use the all Yellow version of the Buddy Self-Sealing SMB to warn your surface support of an impending "out-of-gas" situation (or any other pre-arranged communication). It also does double-duty as a flotation device.
RRP: $23, Our Price: $19, You Save $4 (17%).
Being able to clearly communicate well with your dive buddy or surface support is important, especially when things go wrong. This slate comes with a quick rease attachement clip to make it easier to secure to your kit, or to your SMB when sending a message to the surface.
RRP: $30, Our Price: $15, You Save $15 (50%).
Real divers don't have big flashy dive knives, they use practical, compact ones like this. The blade is just 7.5 cm long with a blunt point for extra safety. It has both smooth and serrated cutting edges for cutting ropes, plus a fishing line cutter. This little gem features a high quality, corrosion resistant titanium coated blade. Everything you need in an emergency.
RRP: $79, Our Price: $65, You Save $14 (18%).
Diving's all about the gear, and sometimes gear needs to be repaired. This dive-specific tool kit comes with a pair of adjustable wrenches sized to fit reg hoses, a Phillips and flat-head screwdriver, hex wrenches for tightening port plugs, needle-nose pliers, plus an O-ring tool. Tools are organised in a zippered case, ready when you need them.