Other than the necessary kit to go diving, there are a few accessories we should always dive with. The market is saturated with different gizmos and gadgets, but if you end up going overboard it will destroy your bank balance and could potentially impact your diving- think snags, entanglements, buoyancy issues, coral drags.
These are the 4 accessories that you should consider as part of a complete scuba diving kit.
A Cutting Tool
A dive knife is the most effective cutting tool and has been a recognized part of a dive kit since the early days of recreational scuba diving. Commando knives are perfect for any task as they have a serrated edge on one side and a sharp cutting blade on the other. Many types are available, but grouped into three sizes: Large are over 20cm (8″), Medium are generally between 15-20cm (6-8″) and Small are below 15cm (6″). The most common choice is the Medium, also known as a BC or Pocket Knife, as the size is easily compatible with most BCDs and dive kits. Knives come with either a blunt tip or sharp, however, the blunt tip is generally a better choice as it provides a reduce risk of puncturing your BCD or hand.
A cutting tool is necessary as entanglement is a hazard that any diver can suddenly find themselves in. Divers in waters with large kelp can easily become entangled as the tide washes back and forth. A discarded fishing line or net may be nearly invisible and can snag divers that do not see it. Inside wrecks, a cable or wiring might snag equipment.
An alternative to carrying a dive knife is a Z knife. These tools are based on the militaries design of cutting parachute cords in an emergency, so they are perfect for cutting fishing lines and small ropes.
Audible Surface Signaling Device
An air powered horn that attaches between the low pressure hose and the BCD power inflator is a fantastic, easy addition to our kit, that creates no extra size or weight. It creates a seriously loud burst of sound when activated and only needs 100 psi (6.9 bars) left in the tank to be heard up to a mile away. There are two types available, one designed for surface only and the other works both above and below the water.
An audible surface signaling device is useful for gaining the attention of anyone at the surface. It could be the jetski zipping around near the coastline or the diveboat crew after surfacing away from it. One nip on the horn and everyone in the vicinity is aware of your position.
A torch (flashlight) is not necessary, but incredibly useful. You can buy torches small enough to fit inside the pocket of your BCD, the best place to store it as it doesn’t create another possibility of snags or drags.
A pocket torch can be used to look into dark crevices, under coral structures, inside wrecks and can also be used to get the attention of other divers. You’ll probably go several dives without ever needing one, but the one time you do, you’ll wish you’d kept one in your BCD pocket.
DSMB – Delayed Surface Marker Buoy
The Delayed Surface Marker Buoy is a long bright coloured tube, often called a sausage. It is inflated underwater and released to the surface with a line being held by the diver. Once a tool of a technical diver, they have become widely accepted by all recreational divers due to their safety advantages.
As the DSMB is inflated whilst still underneath the water, a diver can release it while at a safety stop to show where they are and signal their intention of surfacing. This makes the diver visible before surfacing, allowing the boat crew extra time to react and alerts any other sea craft in the area that divers are surfacing.
Stay safe and have fun!