Every year, nearly 10 million people all over the world take the plunge and sign up for beginner scuba diving classes. This form of underwater exploration is both fun and rewarding. It’s also dangerous—but not if you know how to prepare properly beforehand, including getting your underwater diving certification and acquiring some of the best scuba gear on the market.
Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving
Scuba diving is an activity that is done underwater. Scuba diving is done using a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba). This allows divers to have freedom of movement while breathing under water, and to explore depths beyond the reach of traditional snorkeling.
The first scuba device was invented in France by Émile Gagnan and Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1943. It was named the Aqua-Lung or “Sea Lung”, which was later shortened to the simpler term “scuba”.
The origins of scuba diving can be traced to the first self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) in the early 1920s. In 1923, the French industrialist Émile Gagnan and his assistant Jacques-Yves Cousteau invented the first fully functional open circuit scuba device, which they named “the aqualung”. The equipment was patented in 1923. Scuba diving started growing significantly in the 1950s when frogman were used to locate sunken ships and other military objects and trained to deliver explosives underwater. Professional divers were also used for underwater construction work like bridge building or laying pipelines or cables on seabeds.
In-water testing and training
Pool training is done in a swimming pool with a diving instructor. In-water training is done in open water where you learn to use all of the equipment, including your mask and snorkel, regulator and tank, weights, buoyancy compensator (BCD), slate and pencil, and regulator removal device (ROD). Open water training takes place in open water with an instructor by your side at all times.
The first thing to understand about scuba diving is that it’s not as easy as it looks. The second thing to understand is that you’re probably going to need some training before launching yourself into the ocean and plunging toward the bottom of your favorite spot on Earth.
You’ve probably already seen what looks like a scuba diver in a movie or TV show, wearing some sort of swimsuit with flippers and an oxygen tank strapped to their back. That’s close enough for Hollywood, but there are a lot more variables involved in real life: You’ll need either an open-water or advanced certification (depending on where you plan on diving), and even then there are other factors like how deep you want to go and what kind of gear you’re using (surface supplied air vs self contained).
The equipment you need for scuba diving includes:
- Diving tanks. The size of the tank you choose will depend on how long you plan to dive and what kind of activities you’re planning to do in the water. The most common size is a single tank, which weighs about 27 pounds when full. Tanks are made from aluminum or stainless steel and can hold up to 12 liters (3 cubic feet) of air at pressures ranging from 0–200 bar (2,000–20,000 psi).
- Scuba regulators. These devices control the flow of gas into your mouthpiece so that it’s always at an appropriate pressure level for whatever depth you’re diving at. They also allow divers to breathe through their nose as well as their mouth while underwater—a necessity because breathing through just one orifice while submerged can cause discomfort or even injury due to excess moisture intake past the nostril’s membranes.* BCDs (buoyancy compensators). These vests distribute weight evenly around your body so that it stays afloat instead of sinking straight down into deeper waters.* Dive weights; these prevent divers from floating back up after swimming downwards during descent.* Diving computers; these instruments measure depth and time spent underwater along with other factors such as temperature readings in order for divers not only know how much longer they should stay under but also if anything needs changing before getting back up again–for example if oxygen levels were running low then this would indicate they needed some extra air supply while still underwater!
Regulators are the heart of scuba diving. Regulators are designed to provide a constant flow of air to the diver and ensure that the gas pressure is correct at all times. They need to be reliable, easy to use, and able to be fixed in the field if they fail. There are several types of regulators used today:
- First Generation: The first generation regulator was invented by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan in response to his inability to decompress properly using standard scuba equipment. This first generation regulator consists of a high-pressure side (HP) and low-pressure side (LP). When you breathe in through your mouthpiece, air enters through an intake valve on your regulator into an intermediate pressure chamber where it’s mixed with additional air from another compartment called a yoke. From there, it travels into an exhaust valve before getting expelled from your mouthpiece as bubbles or exhaled breath.
Buoyancy control device
A buoyancy compensator device, or BCD for short, is a piece of scuba diving equipment that helps the diver maintain neutral buoyancy underwater. It’s essential to your safety and comfort during a dive—without it, you could easily float away from the boat or get caught on something underwater that would cause injury!
A BCD has several components:
- A bladder—a pouch with air inside it so that you can inflate or deflate it by using a mouthpiece
- An inflator hose—the tube that connects between your regulator/breathing apparatus and the BC’s inflator valve so that all divers can use the same air supply
- Adjustable wing straps—straps worn around your waist to secure the BCD around you
A diving cylinder is a pressure vessel that is used to store gas under pressure for recreational diving, underwater work, scientific use or as a life-saving device. These cylinders are usually made of steel or aluminium alloy and have a volume between 10 and 100 litres (2.64-26.4 gallons).
The first step in scuba diving is to fill your tank with air at the surface by using an air compressor pump or through someone else’s tank who has already been filled up at depth.
BCD with jacket or wing style air bladder and back-inflation type BCs
The air bladder is housed in a backpack that’s attached to the waist, which allows you to inflate it when needed. It can be inflated with either an oral inflation device or a high pressure pump. Jacket style BCDs are popular because they offer more comfort and flexibility than other types of BCDs, but they tend to be bulkier and heavier than wing style BCs.
Wing style BCs consist of two inflatable bags connected by shoulder straps onto your chest, allowing you to swim with your arms above water while using them for orientation purposes. As opposed to jacket-style BCs, wing style ones don’t require an oral inflator or high pressure pump for inflation—you simply squeeze the sides of each bag until it fills up enough air so that it remains buoyant when submerged under water (for example: 10 pounds). Back-inflation type BCDs feature one large chamber between the vest and harness that must be inflated manually via oral device or high pressure pump—the main difference between back-inflation type BCD’s is their ability for self-righting if accidentally flipped upside down during dives (for example: AIS drysuit goggle system also known as DSG).
Although scuba diving is a fun and exciting hobby that has many benefits, it is not to be taken lightly. Whether you’re a new scuba diver or an experienced one, you should always remember to take your safety seriously. Don’t take unnecessary risks, be sure to use dive gear properly, and follow the guidelines given in this article.