1. How can I communicate more effectively underwater with my dive buddies?
Waterproof plastic Writing slates can allow you to jot down quick messages to other divers so that you can communicate in more depth than just sign language. Diving slates are also useful for professional and technical divers who need to plan complex decompression models.
2. How can I keep my diving knife secure when I am in the water?
A proper knife strap is designed to fit over your wetsuit (or bare skin) and will secure firmly in place. This will provide a safe way for you to carry a knife when you are underwater. Diving knives can either be attached to the BCD, many of which have specific mounting points on the pockets, or can be strapped to a divers limb, usually the leg. More experienced divers choosing to secure their dive knife to the leg usually opt to strap the knife to one of the insides of the lower legs. Knives strapped to the outside of the lower leg can, when swimming through tight space such as wrecks, become and entanglement hazard and they can catch-up and snag on the wreck structure or any dangling materials such as ropes.
3. How can I lift heavy weights up from the seabed when I am diving?
If you are on a dive to recover items from the seabed then you can use lift bags. These bags are inflated whilst underwater using air form the scuba cylinder. In general each litre of air in the lift bag will lift roughly one kilogram of weight (one litre of fresh water weights exactly one kilogram, seawater due to the salt dissolved in it is slightly heavier). With the correct training and information it is possible to calculate the size of bag and volume of air you need before you descend. Lift bags are useful for recovering items such as lost equipment; peoples dropped belongings and archaeological finds. Generally, it is considered mandatory when attempting to move any items heavier than 4kg underwater, to use a lift bag. A diver attempting to lift something heavier than 4kg by hand needs to add so much air to their BCD to compensate for the weight, that should they drop the item, a dangerous un-controlled ascent is inevitable.
4. What are pony bottles?
You may have noticed smaller scuba cylinders of air or nitrox attached to the side of the main cylinder when you have been out on dives. This smaller cylinder is called a pony bottle and this is basically a small diving cylinder which has its own independent regulator. This is a backup cylinder that can provide a completely separate, redundant air supply. This is considered by many experienced and technical divers as mandatory equipment whenthey are attempting to dive in location that do not have a direct path of return to the surface, such as wrecks or cave. You do need to attach the pony bottle to your main tank with a special secure clip such as the Pony Tank Holder from Problue.
5. What additional safety equipment do I need for diving?
There are a number of small and affordable devices that can assist with safety when you are out on a dive. For example a marine whistle will work even when soaking wet and can help rescuers to locate you if you have become separated from your dive party. A “safety Sausage” or inflatable marker buoy is used to draw attention to a divers location on the surface of the water should the surface away from the dive boat. Both whistle and safety sausages are legal requirement in many countries for diver to carry with them on the dive. You can also use special diver alarms and signalling devices that emit light and loud sound signals. These allow you to signal to others both under and above water. It is also a good idea to carry a knife with you when you are underwater. This is in case you get snagged on anything such as old fishing nets. You can get useful multipurpose diving tools that contain a range of knives, scissors, screwdrivers and other tools all in one compact casing.
6. What additional equipment do you need for wreck diving?
You can use all of your standard diving equipment for wreck diving. It will help if you have thick gloves and boots to protect your hands and feet. If you are a serious wreck diver and you are going to be penetrating wrecks then Fluorescent Directional Line Markers are essential tools. These highly visible fluorescent markers can be used to show exits areas and are particularly useful in 'silt out' conditions where visibility is poor. All diver training agencies considers a wreck reel and 2 light sources (Preferably two torches) as mandatory equipment. Wreck penetrations, by the very nature of being in an overhead environment without direct access to the surface, demand the utmost respect, and should not be attempted unless properly trained and equipped. A jump line reel can also be a useful addition to the main wreck reel for wreck penetration and navigation and can be used to map out safe pathways around a wreck site.
7. Is there any way to prevent masks from fogging up?
You can get anti-fog formulas that can help to keep your mask clear whilst you are on a dive. These are safe to use on silicone and glass and offer long lasting protection against fog and misting.
8. How can I prolong the life of my tank hose?
Tank hose will degrade over time through exposure to salt, water and chemicals. However you can prolong the life of your tank hose by using hose protectors. These can be tricky to fit but if you soak them in some warm water before you fit them this should loosen them up bit and make them easier to slide on. Also, always rinse all dive equipment in fresh water after use to remove and prevent salt deposits.
9. Can I listen to my music when I am diving?
You can listen to your favourite music underwater by using waterproof housing covers designed to protect personal music players underwater. The iDive provides complete protection for iPods and has a robust polycarbonate construction to protect against any knocks or scraps. This waterproof housing is effective up to around 300ft/90m underwater and has an easy to use push button control so that you can change tracks and volume. The ear speakers can be attached to mask straps and the built in amplifiers provide quality stereo sound. Waterproof housing is also available for iPhones, so you can take your mobile phone with you wherever you go and still make calls.
10. Is there any way to train respiratory muscles on land?
When you are diving your respiratory system is put under increased pressure. This can make you tire much more quickly and could reduce the amount of time you can spend on each dive. You can improve your endurance and performance underwater by using on land training tools such as the POWERbreathe Sports Performance. This training tool works the muscle groups directly involved in respiratory circulation and helps to increase muscle strength by as much as 45%. This is a useful tool to improve performance when diving or taking part in any sports activities.