The Aquanauts Guide To Buying Your First Scuba Diving Kit

August 25, 2022 5 min read

female scuba diver walking by the sea with a cylinder on her back carrying a set of blue fins at her side

So you’ve been diving for a little while now, and are ready to start investing in some kit of your own. There’s no hiding the fact that scuba diving kit is an expensive investment. However, it’s definitely a worthwhile one! Having your own kit will improve your comfort and enjoyment when diving, whilst ensuring you can head out whenever you choose to. It’s important to emphasise that you don’t need to get everything at once - it’s better to slowly build up your collection piece by piece, as you get more familiar with the types of equipment that might benefit you. So, when buying your first pieces of kit, it’s best to begin with the following basics…

Dive Mask

We’d always recommend starting with a dive mask, as the comfort and fit is so personal to every individual. The easiest way to choose the correct fitting mask for your face is to place the mask over your face with the strap folded back over the front of the mask rather than secured at the back of your head. Next, take a big deep breath in through your nose. If the mask fits, it should happily sit on your face without you needing to hold it in place with your hand or using the strap. When you’re descending in the water, the water pressure will hold the mask on your face, and you shouldn’t need to make the strap too tight as this can actually cause the mask to leak. If the mask falls off before you exhale when you’re trying it on, then it is not the right fit, and you’ll need to try another option. If you live close by the Aquanauts shop in Plymouth, we’d definitely recommend popping in so that you can try on different masks in person. However, if you need to order online, that’s not a problem - we’d advise ordering 2 or 3 options and then returning the ones that aren’t the right fit. This will help you find the perfect fitting mask more quickly.

Scubapro solo mask on a white background

Snorkel

snorkel is a simple but useful piece of scuba diving kit that it’s worth owning yourself - This is what allows you to conserve the air in your diving cylinder while swimming at surface level. As with masks and other more personal pieces of equipment, it definitely makes a difference spending time choosing a snorkel that you find comfortable to use. The Spectra Snorkel from Scubapro is a comfortable, effective and reliable choice. Its semi-dry top reaches an ideal mid-point between ease of breathing and keeping water out of the tube in rough conditions so it’s a practical pick for a beginner scuba diving kit.

Scubapro spectra snorkel in an assortment of colours on a white background

Dive Computer

Nowadays, you simply can’t dive without a computer - this is an essential piece of scuba diving kit that enables you to monitor depth, no decompression limits, temperature, ascent rates and other critically important information. A dive computer helps keep you safe underwater, and the designs are now discreet and super comfortable to wear on your wrist, just like a watch. We supply a range of options at different price points from those at the lower end of the price range that are suited to general recreational dives, to those at the higher end of the price range. The Aqua Lung i330Ris a really good all-round option if this is the first lot of scuba diving kit you’re investing in. It’s a beginner computer that has all the same specs as a high end computer, with an LED screen and rechargeable battery. Many people choose to spend a little more when buying their first dive computer so that they won’t have to buy a new one again. With this in mind, it’s worth checking out ones at the higher end of the price range too, such as the Shearwater range.You can customise the settings so that there’s less info on the screens, making them simpler to read.

Shearwater peregrine dive computer on a white background

Fins

Whilst it’s not essential to purchase your own fins, it certainly comes in handy. Buying your own fins means you can spend time finding the perfect fit to improve your comfort levels and confidence in the water (plus you know that no one else’s cheesy feet have been in them!). The style of fin you need is ultimately a matter of personal preference, as well as what type of socks or boots you’re wearing on your feet. The Fourth Element Rec Fins and Apeks RK3 HD Fins are both reliable choices for diving in UK seas. They’re at the lower-mid price range but equipped with adjustable bungee straps (really useful for boat diving and rougher seas), and made from durable monoprene to ensure they withstand any water conditions.

Fourth Element rec fins in black on a white background

Wetsuit

When diving in the UK, it’s fair to say that things are going to get pretty chilly without a wetsuit. Choosing a wetsuit with the right thickness really depends on what time of year you’re planning on diving. For spring, summer and early Autumn, a wetsuit with a thickness of 5mm-7mm will do the job of keeping you warm, without getting too hot. Something like the Scubapro Definition, available for men and women is perfect. This suit is designed to fit like a glove whilst offering plenty of flexibility, and includes infrared fleece technology to help keep your body temperature regulated. If you’re planning on diving all year round, it's best to invest in a semi-drysuit. This is the stepping stone between a regular neoprene wetsuit and a full blown drysuit, which you would need for cold water diving (a.k.a diving in the UK in January or February). The difference between a wetsuit and a semi-drysuit is that the zips are replaced by seals on the ankle, wrist and neck, to ensure any water is kept out. They’re also more buoyant, which means you need way more lead to get under the water!

Scubapro definition wetsuit on a white background

Diving Regulator 

When choosing a diving reg you really don’t want to skimp on price - after all, this is the key piece of equipment that ensures you can breathe comfortably underwater. The 3 key components are first stage, second stage and octopus, and vary depending on whether you dive in cold water or warm water. It’s crucial to note that cold water regs can be used to dive in warm water, however warm water regs cannot be used to dive in cold water. You can purchase your first stage, second stage and octopus  as a set at Aquanauts, saving the time of sourcing each component individually, and ensuring all the parts work in harmony with each other.They’ll be made as a set directly so that their serial numbers match and they can all be serviced at the same time. As a good all rounder, the Apeks ATX40 Set is perfect for most recreational dives and a great choice if this is the first scuba diving kit you're buying.

Apeks ATX40 regulator set

Buoyancy Control Device 

Once you’ve caught the diving bug, you may also want to buy your own BCD or wing. The benefit of owning your own BCD rather than renting is that you can get familiar with it and ensure the perfect comfort and fit for every dive you go on. As with all other scuba diving kit, it’s important to buy the best you can afford, as cheaper options are not always as reliable or durable. For an entry-level BCD, we’d recommend the Aqua Lung Pro HD BCD.This is a jacket-style BCD that’s made from fade-resistant material to ensure durability in saltwater conditions.

Aqua Lung pro hd bcd on a white background

 

Whenever you dive, you will also need a cylinder and weights. However, unless you’re diving professionally, we wouldn’t recommend buying your own cylinder and weights at this stage. They’re bulky and difficult to transport, and unlike more personal pieces of scuba diving kit, comfort and fit aren’t an issue when it comes to renting these items. 

Please don’t hesitate to give us a call, or pop into the shop, if you need any help purchasing your scuba diving kit, and for general recommendations. Don’t forget, if you sign up to the Aquapoints system, you’ll earn credit on every purchase you make that you can put towards discounted future purchases. 

Lizzie Chapman
Lizzie Chapman



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