Scuba tanks

People who are new to diving wonder about gear that divers use. Here is a list of the basic equipment and how each of them operates.

Masks, Fins, and Snorkels

The mask creates a pocket of air in front of the eyes to see clearly, and in front of the nose so divers can equalize pressure in the ears and sinuses. Divers can have masks with prescription lenses. Snorkels are breathing tubes which go on the left side of the head, allowing snorkelers to breathe freely while swimming face down on the surface of the water. And of course the fins provide propulsion.

Scuba Tank

People are surprised to learn that a scuba tank is filled with regular air. The amount of air that is compressed into the tank is about the amount that would fit in a stand-up phone booth. The air in the tank can be enriched with extra nitrogen (nitrox) to add a level of safety against the bends. Because of pressure at different depths, the amount of air that is needed for a dive differs with the depth of a dive. A tank that lasts for an hour at 30 feet might last for 20 minutes at 90 feet.

Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD)

A buoyancy compensator device or BCD fits like a backpack and holds the tank secure above and below the water. Its main purpose is to assist divers with controlling their position in a water column; adding air to the BC’s internal bladder allows the diver to rise to the surface, while venting air allows the diver to sink to the bottom. The proper amount of inflation keeps the diver at the desired depth during the dive. Divers also wear weights to help them descend and today’s BCDs also have integrated weight pockets.


The regulator connects to the air tank and delivers air to the diver’s mouth. The regulator’s first stage connects to the tank and has hoses that lead to the second stage (in the diver’s mouth), a backup regulator with a longer hose, and gauges.

Depth Gauge, Submersible Pressure Gauge (SPG), and Underwater Timer and Compass

A depth gauge measures a diver’s depth in the water column, while an SPG measures how much air is left in the tank. The timer monitors a predetermined stay underwater and the compass is for navigation. The console is clipped to the BC.

Dive Computer

A diving computer may be used together with these, or replace them entirely. It display depth, how long a diver has been underwater, how much more time a diver has based on certain factors, and how much air remains in the tank.

Wetsuit and Drysuit

Diving can be comfortable in all water temperatures, even in polar areas. Even warm water will conduct heat away from the body 20 times faster than air. Wetsuits work by trapping a layer of water that is heated by the body. Wetsuits for warmer waters leave the arms and legs open, while full suits with a hood and gloves are necessary for colder waters. Drysuits keep the water out entirely, and the warmth is controlled by layered undergarments.

Underwater Light and Backup Light

These are essential for looking under dark spaces in the day and of course for diving at night. The technology of today’s lights is incredible

Diving Knife

A diving knife is a small bladed tool with regular and serrated edges, a flat prying point, and a curved inset for cutting lines, rope, and monofilament. The knife is strapped to the mid-calf.

Underwater Camera

Underwater photography is a popular activity and the way to remember your dives and share them with friends and relatives. There is a large range of options and price points, from waterproof housings for your land camera to completely contained photo and video systems.

Dive Logbook

A dive logbook is useful for keeping track of the weights you need for particular dives, keeping track of equipment needs and notes, and recording milestones (in case someone will need proof).

For more information on diving, visit Scuba Show.