Dive Computers

Dive computers allow the user to receive accurate dive data during and after a dive such as dive duration, depth, ascent rate and much more. Even with a Dive Computer it is important to continue working with the RDL dive tables, the computer is a useful piece of equipment which can be used in conjunction and helps eliminate human error, working autonomously throughout your dive.

See below for our short guide on Dive Computers

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Diving Computers - What You Should Know?

The basics

>> Depth – Dive computers will record the depth you are currently at as well as the maximum depth reached on that dive.

>> Time – From the moment you descend most standard Dive Computers log and display the total dive time. Some will calculate your total bottom time as an added feature.

>> Surface Time Interval – Time spent above the water between the previous dive and the start of the current dive.

>> No Decompression Limit – Time limit of when a diver can ascend with no safety stop.

>> Safety Stop – As soon as you hit the required safety stop depth (5m), most standard dive computers will automatically begin count down of 3 minutes.

>> Ascent Rate – If you exceed the maximum ascent rate (ascending faster than 9m/ 30ft per second) you can cause serious injury and increase the chances of decompression sickness. Most standard Dive Computers will beep and warn if you are going faster than this speed.

>> Algorithm – Each brand of Dive Computer works by their individual dive table settings however, they work within the universal RDL diving table whether in Metric or Imperial. It’s important for your safety to read the Dive Computers user manual before use.

What a Dive Computer does?

Depending on the model and manufacturer, standard Dive Computers track your dive depth as well as the length of time your dive was. It calculates theoretical nitrogen using a decompression model which is based on the RDL tables introduced to you when learning to dive. A Dive Computer tracks your dive depth and time and can also include added features such as safety stop countdown, ascent rate alarm and much more.

Metric or Imperial

Most Dive Computers can be adjusted between Metric or Imperial units however, it is worth finding out if this is an added feature or whether it only works in one or the other.

Types of Dive Computers

There are two distinct different types of Dive Computers. Wrist Watch or Console style; depending on what is preferred you may choose either one.

Alarms & Warnings

There are a number of different Alarms and Warnings that you can set depending on what make and type of Dive Computer you have purchased. For example;

>> Desired depth limit

>> Desired bottom time

>> Exceeding safety ascent rate

>> Safety stop countdown

>> Monitoring of air supply

Air or Nitrox

If you are or will be diving with mixed gases, some Dive Computers enable you to set the oxygen percentage.


Is this a required feature, will you be diving at altitude? A Dive Computer that has the Altitude setting can either be automatically or manually set.

Integrated Air

Some models of Dive Computers have ‘Integrated Air’ which means it can calculate your current air consumption and how much time you have left based on your breathing rate and current air left in the tank. Some Air integrated Dive Computers can be either hosed or hoseless (via a transmitter on the first stage).

Computer Download

Most Computers now have the ability to connect directly to your PC to download your personal dive data.


Manufacturers and models of Dive Computers are very different and use different algorithms to determine dive plans. It is important to read your dive computers user manual.

>> Shorties - are also one piece wetsuits but feature short arms and legs. They tend to be popular in warmer waters or among surfers as they allow maximum moveability around key joint areas.

>> Semi-Dry Suits - are thicker wetsuits generally from 7mm Neoprene and up. They are not completely dry such as a dry suit however, they have reinforced seals at the wrist, neck and ankles to prevent water from escaping therefore insulating the body for longer.

>> Dry Suits - have been designed where water temperatures are typically between 15c to -2c. Water cannot enter into the suit unlike most wetsuits via seals at the neck and wrists. Dry suits can be made out of fabric or Neoprene and insulates the body by maintaining pockets of air between the cold water and the body.

How to get the perfect fit.

Wetsuit sizes vary from manufacturer so it’s worth checking each manufacturer’s wetsuit size chart to match your measurements. However, the most important thing to remember is; your wetsuit needs to fit snugly, with no loose areas. This doesn’t mean it has to be so tight it restricts all movement and compresses on the body to the point it is uncomfortable. More so it’s tight light a lycra swimsuit or shorts.

When trying on a wetsuit ensure the suit is pulled up into all areas, for example; if you leave your knees saggy the suit will pull and feel tight on your shoulders.

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