Although the club has all the main SCUBA kit you'll need to dive (regulators, cylinders and BCDs: see the kit hire page for more info), you will need to get some of your own personal kit. Kit sales are held at various times through out the year. There is generally one at the begining of the academic year (around october). To find out when they are keep an eye on the mailing list, contact the committee or check out the Facebook page
For the pool training you will only need the basics:
- Wetsuit boots
These can be purchased from a number of places. Chat to members at training sessions or the pub to find out where the best deals are. There's nearly always someone with some kit to sell too.
For diving in open water you will obviously need more equipment than this. The main addition is an exposure suit, for which there are a few different options.
This is the most common form of exposure suit, in general, and you will probably have used one at some point or other. Wet suits work by limiting the flow of water around the body. They partially trap a layer of water next to the skin which your body heats up. By limiting the flow the amount of water being heated up is reduced. These, however, are not advisable for diving in the UK.
These are similar to a wetsuit, but they include neck, wrist and ankle seals. This significantly reduces the flow of water in and out of the suit. They tend to fit snuggly around the body and do restrict movement. Diving in a semi-dry is the same as diving in a wetsuit, and so no additional training is needed. Due to the fact that you do get wet, semi-drys are usually warmer in the water than out of it. It would be in your best interest to remove the suit inbetween dives, dry yourself as much as possible and put on some warm clothes.
Semi-drys tend to cost upwards of £150 (but we can often get a reasonable discount)
The final option is the dry suit. They have water tight seals at the neck and wrists and built in boots. Here there is the added complexity of buoyancy in these suits, as they trap a pocket of air that compresses as you descend. This skill taught in the pool before diving in open water. Becuase they have to be completely water tight and need inlet and exhaust valves, dry-suits are expensive. This is an investment. There are 2 main kinds of dry suit:
Neoprene: This is the same material that wetsuits and semi-drys are made from. The neoprene offers some insulation and so fewer undergarments are required.
Membrane or Trilaminate: These are made from a thin (but extremely tough material. The suit itself offers no insulation, but allows for plenty of undergarments to be worn underneath.
For either of these types, there are myriad of different brands and options. Prices typically start around £350 new but can go well above £1000. There have been some highly successful eBay purchases of dry suits recently for much less. Ask an instructor or committee member for advice if you are planning on going that route.
Everybody tends to start off in a semi-dry and then progress to a dry suit after a few years. Recently, however, more and more of our divers are starting off in second hand dry suits. If you feel cold in the pool and can see yourself doing a lot of UK diving a dry suit is definitely a worthwhile investment. If you're only going to dive in the summer a dry suit may not be necessary. Semi-drys are also easy to travel with, but a dry suit is awkward to transport and over-kill for tropical seas. Dry suits are also high maintainence, requiring rinsing in fresh water after every trip, new wrist and neck seals when the old ones wear out and has a delicate zip that needs careful looking after.
Renting of both semi-drys and dry suits is possible. A semi-dry will typically cost £8 a day. If you intend on coming to Porthkerris and staying for the week, that is already £56 which is at least one third the cost of a new suit. If you plan to do any more diving (weekend trips or the big trip to Skomer at the end of Summer term) it would be more economical to buy a suit. A dry-suit will cost around £25 to rent for a day. Renting or borrowing a drysuit is a good idea, as you can get a feel for diving with one before buying one.
Washing kit is extremely important. Chlorinated or salt water are extremly corrosive. Washing in fresh water removes this and extends the life of the equipment.
- Rinse the outside
- Wash the regs. Keep the air switched on and give them a gentle purge. This ensures that both sides of both diaphrams are cleaned
- Turn off the air and purge the regs
- Remove the primary stage and dry it with a small blast of air from the cylinder. Remember to replace the dust cap
- Deflate the BCD fully
- Fill the BCD with water (through the inflator hose)
- Drain the water out of the BCD
- Hang up the BCD by the waist straps. This causes the inflator hose to hang at the lowest point, and so any remaining water will drain into it
- Cylinders go into the section marked 'empty'
- Regs are hung up on the appropriate hook
- Any malfunctioning or broken kit is logged in the database and damage reported