Of course there’s standard gear for every dive: wetsuit or drysuit (or simply a rashguard if you’re in very warm waters), tank, BCD, regulator, fins and mask. Add a bit of personal gear, such as a camera, and on most dives that’s pretty much all you’ll need. But certain types of dives or those with a specific purpose call for specific pieces of equipment that you wouldn’t normally bring.
In this series of articles, we’ll help you put together checklists for various types of dives, this time for deep diving.
More breathing gas
Deep diving means greater gas consumption, so you might want to consider a larger tank, or perhaps even double tanks connected with a manifold. Knowing your SAC (Surface Air Consumption rate is a great help as you can use it to calculate how much gas you’ll need for a given depth. But remember that gas consumption doesn’t necessarily increase with depth alone. The increased stress of diving deep can further increase your gas consumption, so always give yourself a very wide margin.
Redundant gas source
A pony bottle is highly recommended for deep diving, as having a backup source of air with a separate first stage helps ensure that you have enough gas for your dive and ascent. If you’re using double tanks, this counts as a backup gas source. A Spare Air isn’t something I’d recommend for deep dives, as they don’t generally contain enough air to make it to the surface from the deepest point of a deep dive.
More exposure protection
Deeper waters often mean lower temperatures, so a thicker wetsuit or more insulation under your drysuit is often necessary to avoid becoming chilled during a deep dive.
Backup dive computer
Never a bad idea, an extra dive computer will give you a backup depth gauge and timer should your primary computer fail when deep diving. Attach it to your BCD or stuff it in a pocket because, truth is, dive computers fail sometimes, and often at the least convenient moment. Having a backup will help you finish your dive safely, and ensure you adhere to the proper ascent rate and obey any deep and safety stops along the way. Do note that most dive organizations recommend that you do not switch computers mid-dive, so consider this a tool intended for safe ascents only.
Should you have to end your dive suddenly, due to low gas or a computer failure, you may or may not be at your intended surfacing point. If you are far away from it, being able to signal for your boat to come pick you up will save you a long and potentially exhausting swim. So bring a DSMB with a line reel or spool attached and send it up from your safety stop.