Scuba Diving Equipment 101
If you are new to diving in Jupiter (or in general), you might be asking “What all do I need to scuba dive in Jupiter?” There are many dive equipment brands out there providing plenty of options for everyone, but here’s a list of the basic equipment you’ll need while scuba diving in Jupiter.
A BCD, often called BC, stands for Buoyancy Control Device or Buoyancy Compensator. It’s the vest that holds the tank on your back. Not only that, but it also allows you to use buoyancy control.
There are different types of BCD’s, and it is personal preference that’s going to determine what you’ll end up wearing. The jacket style BCD is very popular and very comfortable both underwater and on the surface. The wing type BCD (recreational or technical) gives great buoyancy and positions the diver to a more perfect horizontal form during the dive.
There are many different setups for regulators. You know, that breathy thing that you use to stay alive while in the water. All regulator sets consist of a 1st stage (which is mounted on the tank valve), and 2 second stage (air source)—a primary and an alternate air source that is there as a backup to be used in case of emergency for you or your dive buddy. When you breathe in, air will flow from the tank through the 1st stage to the 2nd stage supplying the air to you.
There is also a low-pressure inflator hose that will be connected to your BCD, and a pressure gauge (or wireless transmitter that will send your air pressure supply information to your computer).
Because of the depths of our Jupiter ledges, no one should dive without a computer unless you plan your dives with the dive tables and then dive your plan. Not too many divers use tables anymore, though. There are many different types of dive computers, some more complex than the others. The computer you’ll be using is going to depend on what kind of diving you’re doing. When diving Jupiter all you need is a basic computer that can be set for enriched air as well (nitrox).
The basic dive computer will tell you how deep you are, how long you’ve been in the water, what your maximum depth was, the temperature of the water, and most importantly, how much time you’ll have left at the depth that you’re at (NDL - no decompression limit). When diving enriched air, it will also show you the percentage of oxygen in your tank as well as your oxygen exposure.
We’re diving according to recreational standards, so we don’t allow our divers to let their NDL run out by requiring deco stops.
Mask, Snorkel & Fins
A mask is kind of important, as it allows you to see clear underwater. They’re made from tempered plastic and the skirt is made of silicone giving it a comfortable feel on your face. Some masks have a purge valve in the nose pocket for easy clearing of the water and they come in all different sizes and designs.
When picking a mask, the seal on your face is the most important. If the seal isn’t right, water will leak throughout the dive, and will be very annoying and uncomfortable.
Although a snorkel is not really needed while diving in Jupiter, we recommend you wear one during the dives. Safety first! The time spend on the surface is minimal as the boat drops you at the site and will pick you up again when you surface after your dive.
To move through the water comfortably, you’re going to need fins. There’s a lot of different ones out there ranging from short to long, and from split to extra stiff. I always recommended trying different styles to figure out what you’ll like best. We see a lot of our divers in open heel fins. This way they can wear dive boots to protect their feet while keeping them warm at the same time. Full foot fins are my personal preference, as I have something against dive boots. Don’t know why, just do so I use dive socks to keep my feet warm in the winter.
The water temperature ranges from 70-72F in the winter, to 84F in the summer here in Jupiter. Some will dive in just a bathing suit or skin suit during the summer, but most our divers will wear wetsuits made of neoprene—1-3mm in the summer and 5-7mm in the winter. A neoprene suit will keep the body warm by sealing the water around and heating that water with the body, depending on the thickness and length of the wetsuit.
In the winter, some divers prefer a dry suit to make sure that they stay warm and dry. A dry suit is air tight and acts like an incubator to keep the warmth inside against the body.
An SMB (surface marker buoy), also known as a safety sausage or marker, are required while diving in Jupiter. Every diver should have one and deploy it while at the surface after the dive.
SMB’s come in different colors and sizes, all nice and bight so the boats can see them. I also recommend adding a finger spool or reel to your surface marker, that way you can deploy it at depth or at the safety stop to make sure that boats stay clear when surfacing.
Of course, there are tons of dive accessories out there, so it’s up to you what all you like to carry with you while diving.
I always recommend a light so you can look under ledges, and gloves when the water is colder. But there is so much more to bring if you’re interested. Dive knives, underwater communication equipment, tank bangers, underwater cameras, lobster or other hunting gear, scooters, hooks, and the list goes on and on.