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Kotie's Scuba Equipment FAQ - Answers to scuba diving and scuba gear questions

Hi there. I would like to share a bit of my scuba diving knowledge so you can be as smart as me.
Here are the main categories of questions: Or, if you prefer, you can talk to me directly.
 

Scuba Equipment Questions

Can i use a regular regulator with nitrox?

Yes, many regulators can be used with Nitrox.

How do i clean my wetsuit?

Always rinse in fresh water then hang to dry

How do i find the best mask??

Any mask that fits your face nicely and keeps all of the water out.

How do you defog your mask?

Any defogger solution works well if the mask has been prepared properly using mask scrub.

How does a backplate and harness work?

A back plate is used to add weight and stability to the divers harness whether they use single or double tanks. A harness allows the diver to wear the back plate comfortably.

How does a pressure gauge work?

It is a submersible gauge which indicates pressure, but does not include atmospheric pressure.

Is used equipment ok to buy?

Used equipment can be ok if it has been recently serviced and is not obsolete.

What are dive computers?

Computers offer the diver a safer and much more convenient way of monitering decompression limits. Dive computers calculate nitrogen loading according to the diver's depth and time, allowing a profile that is much more flexible than the square profiles provided by dive tables.

What are dive skins?

Lycra suits are very popular for warm water sub-aqua diving as they are easy to put on, lightweight, and quick to dry. Underwater they provide a degree of thermal protection, but more importantly provide protection against the sun when working in shallow water, and from the chaffing of diving equipment.

What are scuba tanks?

A compressed gas cylinder used to carry the air supply for a scuba diver.

What are scuba tanks made from?

Typically, scuba tanks, or scuba cylinders are made of either steel or aluminum. Aluminum being the most common.

What are split fins?

A fin design that is more efficient, easier to kick and helps the diver move through the water using less energy.

What are the advantages of a three window mask?

Some masks have side windows, which give the diver better peripheral vision.

What basic gear do you recomend?

Basic gear typically includes mask, snorkel, fins, boots and gloves.

What company makes the best computers?

Computers offer the diver a safer and much more convenient way of monitoring decompression limits. Dive computers calculate nitrogen loading according to the diver's depth and time, allowing a profile that is much more flexible than the square profiles provided by dive tables.

What company makes the best fin?

If you are diving in warm water, many people prefer to use a full foot fin. If you are diving in colder water, you must use an open heel fin. There are two basic fin styles. Paddle fins and Split fins. Split fins have every performance advantage but cost more.

What do clips and reels do?

Clips allow you to secure your equipment and protect your gear. Reels are used in wreck and cave diving allowing you to find your way back out. They are also used for search and recovery.

What do i need to go scuba diving?

Proper exposure protection such as neoprene, depending on where you will be diving. You will also need a BC, dive computer, regulator, mask, fins and a cylinder.

What does a first stage do?

The first stage of a regulator system reduces the high pressure from the scuba cylinder or tank, to a lower intermediate pressure, generally 140 psi.

What does open circuit mean?

Open circuit means the breathing gas is exhaled into the surrounding environment.

What does scba stand for?

SCBA stands for self contained breathing apparatus

What features are important for a new snorkel?

I would suggest a good fitting mask and a snorkel that does not leak.

What is a balanced first stage?

Balanced first stages are designed to breath as easily at low tank pressures at depth as when they are attached to a full tank at the surface.

What is a buoyancy compensator?

The BC, or buoyancy compensator is used to float the diver and equipment on the surface and allows for adjusting for neutral buoyancy at depth.

What is a closed circuit?

Closed circuit is a system in which all the exhaled breath is re-circulated within the system and re-breathed.

What is a compressor?

In diving, a compressor is a pump or other machine used to fill a tank with compressed air.

What is a dive table?

A printed card that allows divers to determine and plan their dive safely.

What is a drysuit?

Dry suits are the most efficient form of passive thermal protection for the diver. They are completely sealed to prevent water entry. The suits are normally designed so that the insulating garmets worn underneath them trap a layer of air which provides the primary protection against the cold.

What is a first stage?

The first stage of a regulator system reduces the high pressure from the scuba cylinder or tank, to a lower intermediate pressure, generally 140 psi.

What is a hydro test?

This is a test for scuba cylinders usually done every 5 years

What is a o ring?

An O-ring is a loop of elastomer with a round cross-section used as a mechanical seal or gasket. They are designed to be seated in a groove and compressed during assembly between two or more parts, creating a seal at the interface.

What is a pony bottle?

A pony bottle is a small scuba cylinder, usually less than 30 cubic feet, with it's own separate first and second stage.

What is a rebreather?

A rebreather is a type of breathing set that provides a breathing gas containing oxygen and recycles exhaled gases.

What is a regulator?

The job of the scuba regulator is to supply air to the diver at ambient pressure. The first stage of a regulator attaches to the tank and reduces the pressure of the air in the tank to ambient pressure plus a preset intermediate pressure. The air is then sent down the hose to the second stage. Here the pressure is reduced by that same intermediate pressure, leaving air at ambient pressure.

What is a scuba cylinder?

A compressed gas cylinder used to carry the air supply for a scuba diver. Commonly referred to as a "tank".

What is a scuba tank?

A compressed gas cylinder used to carry the air supply for a scuba diver.

What is a second stage?

A second stage is the part of the regulator that you put in your mouth to breathe.

What is a semi-closed circuit?

A semi-closed circuit is a system in which a portion of the exhaled breath is retained within the system and re-breathed

What is a shorty suit?

It is a thin wetsuit that exposes the arms and legs. Ideal for those warm water dives. For some examples of shorty wetsuits click here

What is a spare air?

A Spare Air is a total redundant back-up miniature scuba system. It can be used in case of emergency, SPARE AIR providing the diver with enough air to safely get back to the surface.

What is a steel tank?

A compressed gas cylinder, made of steel, used to carry the air supply for a scuba diver.

What is a tank banger?

A tank banger allows the diver to gain the attention of other divers by banging their tank to make noise.

What is a wetsuit?

Typically a neoprene rubber diving suit which provides a thermal barrier by trapping a think layer of body warmed water next to the divers skin.

What is an octopus?

Well it can be either an animal or in diving it is referred to as an alternate breathing apparatus to be used by a buddy in a diving emergency.

What is back inflation?

This is simply just a different style of BC which inflates in the back rather than encompassing your body.

What is defog?

A substance that is rubbed onto the inside of the lenses of a mask to keep it free of condensation. Any defogger works well is the mask has been prepared properly using mask scrub.

What is din?

DIN is an acronym which stands for "Deutsches Institut fuer Normung" which is a European association of engineers and manfacturers that sets standards for compressed gas cylinders and valves. The valves made to these standards are typically known as "DIN fittings or "DIN valves".

What is hooka?

The Hookah air system (Surface Air Supply) uses no high pressure air tanks of the type worn on a diver's back. Instead, it uses a small air compressor which is located at the surface. It is commonly powered by a portable gasoline engine or electric motor, and the air is delivered to the diver via a floating air hose. With the Hookah system, the diver has an unlimited and nearly "cost free" air supply which will only stop flowing when the engine or motor that powers the compressor ceases to operate. This makes for a truly economical air system, which will quickly pay for itself when compared to the cost of refilling a SCUBA tanks every hour or so.

What is sunnto?

Suunto is one of the manufacturers of diving instruments. Suunto's headquarters is located in Vantaa, Finland, where the company manufactures their dive computers and instruments.

What is the diference between a mask with and without a purge?

Purge masks have a one-way valve that allows clearing the mask of water by simply exhaling through your nose, and a mask without a purge is simply a mask without this feature.

What is the difference between split and fins?

Split fins are at least 40% more efficient than the best paddle style fins available.

What is the difference between steel and aluminum tanks?

The aluminum tanks cost significantly less than a steel tank. Aluminum tanks are more buoyant than steel tanks, so you may be finding yourself adding a few extra pounds on your weight belt.

What is the difference between wetsuits and jumpsuits?

A wetsuit is a general category and a jumpsuit covers the diver from ankle to neck and out to their wrists.

What is valsalva?

A maneuver to equalize the pressure in the middle ear with the ambient pressure, against the outer surface of the ear drum: The nose is compressed shut, the mouth is shut, the glottis is open, and an attempt is made to exhale through the nose; Results in forcing air through the eustachian tube into the middle ear equalizing the pressure.

What should i look for in a dive watch?

Important features are can you read it underwater and does it need to perform and decompression calculations underwater. To view dive watches click here

What were the names of the multi-level dive computers introduced in 1983?

The EDGE and Deco Brain were the two multi level dive computers introduced in 1983.

Where can i find dive watches?

click here to view some dive watches.

Which regulator is best?

Some of the features that you want to look for in a regulator are: adjustible air flow, a balanced first and second stage, a manufacturers warranty, a Scubalab testers choice award and/or a Scubalab best buy award.

Who built the first scuba regulator?

In 1943 Capt. Jacques-Yves Cousteau co-invented the Aqualung with Emile Gagnan.

Who is atomic?

Atomic Aquatics is a scuba equipment manufacturer credited with designing the worlds first titanium regulator. Founded in 1995, the principals of Atomic have used their specialized training to design the industrys most prestigious dive gear.

Who is suunto?

Suunto is one of the manufacturers of diving instruments. Suunto's headquarters is located in Vantaa, Finland, where the company manufactures their dive computers and instruments.

Why does my mask fog?

The temperature difference between the mask lens and the air space in the mask.

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