Scuba Diving Gear 101 – A Guide for Beginners


Scuba diving is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world today. Millions of people go for scuba diving each year, whether for commercial reasons, a course, or an introductory dive.

scuba intro

The sport provides an opportunity to explore part of life in the underwater world. It is also one of the sports that has a lot to do with nature, and mankind is yet to conquer it all.

Scuba-diving is no easy feat. To get the most out of the activity, a scuba diver must have the appropriate scuba diving equipment.

And, did you know, that the word “scuba” actually stands for something: Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.  You’d know that if you watched Family Ties. 🙂

So, “scuba” specifically isn’t the name of a sport, but it is in in fact what you adorn before diving, including the whole get-up.

For instance, these folks are wearing “scuba suits”, but they’re not yet wearing the “scuba” part of the suit.


Now this is more like it…

Some people do conflate scuba with an action or verb, but it’s a noun that means diving with the right underwater gear.  Speaking of gear, let’s get into our guide!

Use the following table of contents to navigate the post:

Table of Contents

  • [ps2id url=’#1′ offset=” class=”]Wetsuits[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#2′ offset=” class=”]Bathing suits for women – bikinis or a one-piece?[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#3′ offset=” class=”]Bathing suits for men – can you wear board shorts?[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#4′ offset=” class=”]Speedos[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#5′ offset=” class=”]Breathing apparatus[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#6′ offset=” class=”]Diving lights and masks[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#7′ offset=” class=”]Monitoring and navigation[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#8′ offset=” class=”]Safety equipment – Knives and Line Cutters[/ps2id]
  • [ps2id url=’#9′ offset=” class=”]1956 Navy SEAL Scuba training video[/ps2id]

Let’s dive in!

Scuba Diving Essential Gear for Your First Dive

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If you are a first-time scuba diver, you might be wondering what to bring along. Keep in mind that you need to stay safe, and one of the safety standards requires knowing the right scuba diving dress code.


Most scuba divers wear wetsuits for sports. This is because they help maintain the ideal body temperature. They also protect the body against hazards the diver may come across while on the open sea.

man wearing wetsuit

Sometimes, the air and surface temperature of the water is warm, but as one gets deeper into the water, it gets colder. Wetsuits are the most standard attire for this purpose.

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Besides having a wetsuit, other divers may want to know what to wear under wetsuit scuba diving. Here are the top scuba diving essentials we recommend: 

Bathing Suits For Women – Bikinis or a One Piece?

As a female diver, you may wonder what to wear under wetsuit female scuba gear. One-piece swimsuits or bikinis are ideal because they remain in position as the diver pulls on the wetsuit. 

female scuba diver

The simpler the swimsuit, the easier it is to pull over the wetsuit.

Remember that wetsuits hug tightly over the body. This means that they press against knots, wooden and metal decorations, beads, and other elements on the swimsuit.

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This can be both annoying and very painful. It’s advisable to go for an athletic-style women’s swimwear.

Bathing Suits For Men – Can You Wear Board Shorts?

Male scuba divers may also want to know what to wear under wetsuit male scuba diving gear. Male divers usually use board shots as their most common beach attire.

However, they aren’t the most ideal for scuba diving since they easily wrinkle and bunch up under the wetsuit. This requires the diver to keep straightening them once they pull on their wetsuits. 

If you’re not going to be wearing a wet suit, then sure, you can wear board shorts, but just make sure the water is warm enough so that if you descend, your legs don’t freeze.


In some scuba diving cases, board shorts can be hazardous. They can lead to a cut off of circulation to the legs, causing decompression sickness.

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Speedos are designed for use by male divers. It’s a better choice than board shots because it doesn’t bunch or shift when wearing or removing the wetsuit.

scuba in cancun

It fits tightly on the body, has little fabric, and is a perfect combination for scuba diving.

However, some men may feel a little embarrassed when wearing speedos because they are revealing.

For enhanced modesty and more comfort, it’s a wise idea to pair the speedos with some shorts over the suit.

More Scuba Diving Essentials

Apart from having the right scuba diving wear, a scuba diver must also consider what to bring scuba diving as part of the complete package. Here’s a complete scuba diving checklist.

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Let’s take a closer look…

Breathing Apparatus

A scuba diver can’t make it without breathing apparatus. The most popular is the eponymous scuba apparatus that’s self-contained. It allows underwater breathing, and the diver must transport it with them.

scuba breathing apparatus

As a diver descends deeper underwater, the water exerts increasing hydrostatic pressure in addition to the normal atmospheric pressure at the surface.

The apparatus ensures the force of the inhaled breath balances the surrounding pressure to maintain the lungs at the right pressure. The breathing apparatus comes in two forms—open circuit and rebreather.

Open-circuit scuba diving apparatus has no provision for the use of the breathing gas multiple times.

open circuit scuba training

The gas inhaled from the scuba apparatus is released to the environment or sometimes to equipment designed for a special purpose. The reason for this is to create buoyancy of a lifting device like a buoyancy compressor.

The rebreather system is less common and comes with a closed circuit and semi-closed rebreathers. It works by releasing few or no gas bubbles into the water, using less of the stored gas volume.

This type is more applicable for research, photography, and military applications. Rebreathers are more expensive and more complex than open-circuit scuba.

Here’s a video showing a neat hack that one man made – a DIY breathing apparatus. Obviously, try this at your own risk.

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Now we’ll take a look at lights…

Diving Lights and Masks

Water has more refraction than air. The light that enters the eye from the water doesn’t get refracted, which leaves the eye’s crystalline lens to focus light, which results in hypermetropia.

People with severe myopia have better vision underwater even without a vision mask than with people with normal sight.

Diving masks and diving lights can solve this problem.

scuba diving mask

The light corrects the refraction error as it travels from the water to air through a flat lens. However, objects appear approximately larger and closer than they actually are. 

Some divers may also need to use corrective lenses for improved vision. Generic corrective lenses and custom lenses can be bonded into the diving masks.

As far dive lights go, there have been many advancements as of late, and there are a number of options.  Here’s a video courtesy of Lake Hickory Scuba talking about the variety of dive lights available today.

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We’ll look next at some of the gear that helps you keep oriented underwater.

Monitoring and Navigation

Unless the depth of water is shallow or known, a diver must have monitoring equipment to measure the depth of the water and duration stayed underwater.

This helps avoid decompression and sickness. Today, electronic dive computers have replaced the traditional depth gauge and a diving watch.

Cressi Leonardo Scuba Dive Computer Wrist Watch review [ps2id id=’8′ target=”/]

The dive computers are programmed to do real-time modelling of the dive while automatically allowing for surface interval.

Safety Equipment – Knives and Line Cutters

A scuba diver must be armed with cutting tools like knives, shears, or line cutters that come in handy if entangled in nets or lines.


A surface line market buoy is also necessary to indicate the position of the diver to those on the surface.

surface marker buoy smb

If you’ve been wondering what to bring for a scuba drive, there you have it — a complete dive gear checklist. You can check the scuba diving equipment prices online or from diving gear stores near you.

Here’s one of the best videos we’ve seen on dive knives from Blade HQ.


Scuba diving is one of the sports that can help master the world around you. Before you engage in the activity, ensure you have the right scuba diving gear.

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Ensure you have the correct dress code, safety equipment, breathing apparatus, and other scuba essentials.

Related Videos

If you want some super old school training, we dug this up: a 1956 Navy SEAL scuba training video…

Feature Picks – Scuba Gear

Aqua Lung Legend Lx Regulator, I750 Dive Computer, With Seac Synchro Safe Second Stage Octopus And Scuba Gear Backpack


Garmin Inreach Mini, Lightweight And Compact Handheld Satellite Communicator, Orange


Bluefire 1100 Lumen Cree Xm-L2 Professional Diving Flashlight, Bright Submarine Light Scuba Safety Lights Waterproof Underwater Torch For Outdoor Under Water Sports (Yellow)


Neosport Full Body Sports Skins – Diving, Snorkeling & Swimming


Aqua Lung Pro Hd Bcd I300C Dive Computer Titan / Abs Regulator Set


Scuba Choice


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About the author: Garth loves camping under the stars with his Arb III, scuba diving, snorkeling, and also tanning. His favourite snorkel spots include Alanya (Turkey), Koh Rong (Cambodia), and Maui (Hawaii, USA). He also loves to visit the cenotes in Mexico and he recommends everyone reads the book, “The Soul of an Octopus”, because, he says “they are sensitive, just like me”.

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