Like most activities, diving has a lot of little items that add up in terms of convenience and fun.
Slates – Underwater slates help you communicate underwater. You also use them for recording depths, time, direction and other information. Specialized slates have aquatic life identification, navigation utility or photo colors. Typically, choose one that fits in your BCD pocket or exposure suit thigh pocket.
- Gear markers – Use gear markers to put your name or initials on your equipment so it finds its way back to you. Tip: You can usually find a place to mark your gear where it’s visible when you’re not wearing it, but invisible when you are. Your underwater photographer friends will thank you for it.
- Catch bag – Also called “game bags” by underwater hunters, and “goodie bags,” these mesh bags are universal containers for everything from wet wet suits to stuff you find. Keep one in your gear bag because you never know when you’ll need it.
- Spare parts kit – Dive equipment is reliable, but has predictable common failure points due to wear: fin and mask straps, tank valve o-rings (small rubber seals), and regulator mouthpieces. Carry these and some basic tools to keep from missing a dive. Throw in a handful of cable ties – the diver’s equivalent of duct tape.
- Clips and lanyards – Used for securing gauges and accessories, various clips and lanyards come in handy to keep your gear streamlined and to allow you to carry accessories conveniently. The need for them pops up unexpectedly, so have some with you.
How to choose accessories
Actually, you can’t help but choose accessories. The main point is to find out what you need before you need them instead of after.
- Whenever you invest in equipment, ask your PADI pro what accessories you may need to go with it. Again, the small things often make a big difference.
- Check out the PADI Open Water Diver Manual and the other references you use as you grow as a diver. These sources list accessories in context with when you’ll want them.
- Start with a save-a-dive kit. Most PADI Dive Shops and Resorts have prepackaged spare parts kits that get you started, as well as special tools that are the “Swiss Army Knives” of diving.
- Carry accessories and spare parts in a water tight, crush-proof box. When choosing the box, get something bigger than you need immediately. This is because over time, you’ll accumulate additional items you want to have with you. Some divers use a footlocker. (Not really, but close enough.)