November 4, 2016
There are many reasons to purchase your own scuba diving equipment once you’ve attained your certification. For instance, now you have the freedom to dive nearly wherever you want, whenever you want. You get to dive on your schedule, spending less time at the dive shop waiting to rent equipment, or waiting for it to open.
It also means you have more time to explore underwater worlds before it’s too late. Some studies suggest that all shark species may become extinct within the next 10 to 15 years unless something is done about their current rate of destruction. Those who use outdoor recreational resources tend to be good stewards of the environment. So divers can play an important role in protecting our Florida wildlife, both on land and at sea.
Oftentimes, divers acquire their own mask, snorkel, regulator, fins and buoyancy compensators. But a great many divers choose to rent air tanks on location.
However, investing in a few scuba tanks can make a world of difference in your dives. The standard 80-cubic-foot aluminum cylinder tank found at most rental shops isn’t ideal for everyone. As a matter of fact, some divers are surprised to learn that there are alternatives to the 80.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when looking for scuba tanks of your own:
• Height: The standard aluminum 80 is 26 inches, which can be uncomfortably long, and heavy, for smaller divers.
• Capacity: On the other hand, larger divers may find that they run out of air quickly. Aluminum cylinders can be made with up to 100 cubic feet capacity for more dive time. But these are rare. Look for steel if this applies to you.
• Weight and buoyancy: Check both the listed weight of a scuba tank and its positive buoyancy rating. One tank may be heavier than another but still be more buoyant. An aluminum 80 swings between about 1 pound negative when filled to 1 pound positive when empty. A steel high-pressure 149 swings from about negative 9.5 pounds when full to positive 2.4 pounds when empty.
• Material: Steel tanks are also an alternative to the standard aluminum, especially for people who want more air capacity, or those who want to wear less lead weight in their BC or on their weight belt.
When you’re ready to take the plunge into purchasing scuba gear of your own, invest in quality gear that’s built to last through many adventures.