I've just learnt to dive in Perth, what do I buy first?

Congratulations! 

Embarking on a journey to learn scuba diving in the beautiful coastal city of Perth is an exhilarating experience. With its diverse marine life and mesmerizing underwater landscapes, Perth offers some beautiful diving opportunities for both beginners and seasoned divers alike if you know where to look. 

As a new scuba diver, equipping yourself with the right gear is crucial for a safe and enjoyable underwater adventure. In this article, we’ll discuss the first five things every new scuba diver should consider investing in to kickstart their underwater exploration in Perth waters.

1. High-Quality Mask and Snorkel

A well-fitted mask and snorkel are the fundamental tools for every scuba diver. If you don’t already have your own, ensure you invest in a high-quality mask that fits comfortably and securely on your face. An ideal mask will have a silicone skirt for a watertight seal and tempered glass lenses for durability and clarity. Pair your mask with a snorkel that is easy to clear and designed to facilitate effortless breathing at the surface. Snorkels for scuba diving usually have the flexible corrugated section near the mouthpiece. 

The most important thing is getting the right fit. Ensure your nose and forehead fit comfortably without pressing against the mask or the lens. Hold the mask to your face and breathe in to create a vacuume, this will help you check if there are any leaks where the skirt of the mask is sealing to your face.

Pop in to Scubanautics Diving Academy to try a variety of masks and find your perfect fit. 

 

2. Reliable Dive Computer

As a new scuba diver, it is essential to prioritise safety and keep track of your dive profile accurately. A reliable dive computer is a must-have accessory that will help you monitor vital information such as dive time, depth, ascent rate, and no-decompression limits. These advanced devices take the guesswork out of diving, making it easier for you to stay within safe limits and enjoy your underwater adventure without worry. When selecting a dive computer, look for one that is user-friendly, easy to read, and offers the necessary features for beginner divers.

Beginner computers start from around $449 if you are not fussed about colourful bright displays and smart watch features. If you want larger displays, colour, advanced diving features, heart rate tracking, GPS or air integration you can spend anywhere from $600 to $3000 depending on the exact features you’re after. 

Understanding your computer and knowing the information it gives you no matter where you’re diving is valuable for your safety. Having to hire and learn a new computer everywhere you go can be time consuming and tricky which is why a dive computer is our number 2 must buy item.  

3. Comfortable Wetsuit or Drysuit and Fins

The waters around Perth can vary in temperature throughout the year from 13-23 degrees celsius, so choosing the right exposure protection is vital for a comfortable and enjoyable dive. For most of the year, a comfortable 5mm thick wetsuit that provides warmth and allows for easy movement is sufficient. However, during the cooler months, you may prefer to add thermal layers like gloves, hoods and thermal tops or to use a semi-dry suit or a drysuit, which offers superior thermal insulation. 

Always ensure your wetsuit or drysuit fits well. You want a wetsuit to be skin tight, but not interfering with your circulation. A suit that is too loose will allow water to flow through and won’t help you stay warm. Having your own suit that fits well will make your dives that much more comfortable. 

In Perth we recommend diving with open heel fins and dive boots. Diving with Open Heel fins means you get to wear a dive boot which stops your feet getting cold and protects them when you are walking to and from the dive site. Scubanautics have a mask, snorkel, fins and boots package starting at $299. 

4. Reliable Regulator and Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)

A scuba diving regulator and BCD are essential pieces of equipment that enable you to breathe comfortably underwater and maintain proper buoyancy. When selecting a regulator, opt for a reputable brand known for its durability and performance such as Scubapro, Ocean Pro, Cressi etc. Find out if your local dive store service and stock parts for the brand you are considering. If you are only planning on getting a basic computer without air integration and you’re not planning to go past 18m, entry level regulator sets will do the job and start at around $799. If you’re an avid diver and want to do more advanced diving you may want to consider a balanced, environmentally sealed regulator with enough high pressure ports for you to fit an air transmitter down the track. High end regulator sets can cost from $1200-$3000 depending on the features you need. They even come in super light weight titanium and carbon fibre options. 

A good BCD should be easy to operate and provide weight placement options to help you master buoyancy control to keep you stable throughout your dive. Try a couple of different styles if you can. Most people learn on a jacket style BCD and some stick with this for life. Many are now switching to wing or rear inflation style BCDs where all of the air stays behind your body to help keep you in a comfortable, horizontal position in the water. BCDs with weight pockets (AKA Weight integrated BCDs) are popular for keeping your weights in fixed positions and so you don’t have to worry about a separate weight belt.

5. Underwater Compass, Dive Slate, Surface Marker Buoy and Cutting Device

As you venture into the underwater world, navigation becomes a vital skill to develop. An underwater compass will help you maintain your sense of direction, ensuring you don’t get disoriented during the dive. You may be able to get a built in compass as part of your reg set. Lots of people are going digital now and buy a dive computer that has a digital compass built in. These can be great because you can lock a bearing and follow the arrows to find your way home. If you don’t get one with your regs and you opt for an entry level computer without a digital compass you can get an analog, old school compass from around $95.

Additionally, carrying a dive slate allows you to communicate with your dive buddy or jot down any important information during the dive like directions. Have you ever had someone signal something to you and you looked at them in confusion? problem solved if you can write a quick note. Slates vary from $25 to around $80.

A SMB (Surface Marker Buoy) is a large bright signalling tube you can inflate to signal your position to boats and help. This is a must have piece of equipment and most dive charters will require you to have or hire one. SMB’s vary in price from $15 for a plastic tube to $100 for reusable fabric versions with straps and clips. 

Cutting devices are essential to help you out of a tangle if there is fishing line or rope in the area. These can be tough to travel with so you may want to consider hiring at your destination. Dive knives can vary from $20 to $200 depending on the metal, features and fittings that come with them. 

After all of the essentials are out of the way you may want to consider buying your own weights, tank and torch among other things. Many people choose to hire these particularly when travelling to save on weight. The down side to hiring is that in peak season when the weather is good, you will be competing with everyone else for the same rental equipment and it means you will need the time to pop in store to hire what you need.   

Buying your equipment piece by piece can work for some, but often you can save by buying everything all at once. Scubanautics offers package discounts for if you are buying a mask, snorkel, fins and boots together. There are also full kit packages for if you want everything where you get part of the package for free when spending on specific packages. 

Learning to dive in Perth is an unforgettable experience that opens the door to a whole new world of underwater wonders. As a new scuba diver, having the right gear is crucial for your safety, comfort, and enjoyment. Remember to invest in a high-quality mask and snorkel, a reliable dive computer, a comfortable wetsuit or drysuit, a dependable regulator and BCD, as well as an underwater compass and dive slate. By prioritizing these essential items, you can dive into the magical waters of Perth with confidence and embark on a lifelong journey of underwater exploration.

Whether you’re pursuing your dive ticket to progress on to more advanced diving or simply eager to learn to dive, having the right gear will enhance your overall diving experience and make each dive a memory to cherish. So, gear up, dive in, and discover the mesmerizing marine wonders that await you beneath the surface.

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