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Surface supplied commercial diving equipment on display at a trade show
|Other names||Dive gear|
|Uses||Facilitate underwater diving operations|
Diving equipment is equipment used by underwater divers to make diving activities possible, easier, safer and/or more comfortable. This may be equipment primarily intended for this purpose, or equipment intended for other purposes which is found to be suitable for diving use.
The fundamental item of diving equipment used by divers is underwater breathing apparatus, such as scuba equipment, and surface supplied diving equipment, but there are other important pieces of equipment that make diving safer, more convenient or more efficient. Diving equipment used by recreational scuba divers is mostly personal equipment carried by the diver, but professional divers, particularly when operating in the surface supplied or saturation mode, use a large amount of support equipment not carried by the diver.
Equipment which is used for underwater work or other activities which is not directly related to the activity of diving, or which has not been designed or modified specifically for underwater use by divers is excluded.
This is the diving equipment worn by or carried by the diver for personal protection or comfort, or to facilitate the diving aspect of the activity, and may include a selection from:
Thermal, sting and abrasion protection.
The purposes of this class of personal equipment are to:
Surface detection aids include:
Life support equipment must be maintained and tested before use to ensure that it remains in serviceable condition and is fit for use at the time. Pre-dive inspection and testing of equipment at some level is standard procedure for all modes and applications of diving. The use of checklists is known to improve reliability of inspection and testing, and may be required by the applicable code of practice or operations manual, or manufacturer's operating instructions. Inadequate pre-dive checks of breathing apparatus can have fatal consequences for some equipment, such as rebreathers, or may require the diving operation to be aborted without achieving its objective.
Maintenance can be categorised as:
Diving equipment may be exposed to contamination in use and when this happens it must be decontaminated This is a particular issue for hazmat diving, but incidental contamination can occur in other environments. Personal diving equipment shared by more than one user requires disinfection before use. Shared use is common for expensive commercial diving equipment, and for rental recreational equipment, and some items such as demand valves, masks, helmets and snorkels which are worn over the face or held in the mouth are possible vectors for infection by a variety of pathogens. Diving suits are also likely to be contaminated, but less likely to transmit infection directly.
When disinfecting diving equipment it is necessary to consider the effectiveness of the disinfectant on the expected pathogens, and the possible adverse effects on the equipment. Some highly effective methods for disinfection can damage the equipment, or cause accelerated degradation of components due to incompatibility with materials.
National and international standards have been published for the manufacture and testing of diving equipment.
Underwater breathing apparatus
A scuba set is any breathing apparatus that is carried entirely by an underwater diver and provides the diver with breathing gas at the ambient pressure. Scuba is an anacronym for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. Although strictly speaking the scuba set is only the diving equipment which is required for providing breathing gas to the diver, general usage includes the harness by which it is carried, and those accessories which are integral parts of the harness and breathing apparatus assembly, such as a jacket or wing style buoyancy compensator and instruments mounted in a combined housing with the pressure gauge, and in the looser sense it has been used to refer to any diving equipment used by the scuba diver, though this would more commonly and accurately be termed scuba equipment or scuba gear. Scuba is overwhelmingly the most common underwater breathing system used by recreational divers and is also used in professional diving when it provides advantages, usually of mobility and range, over surface supplied diving systems, and is allowed by the relevant code of practice.
Recreational diver training is the process of developing knowledge and understanding of the basic principles, and the skills and procedures for the use of scuba equipment so that the diver is able to dive for recreational purposes with acceptable risk using the type of equipment and in similar conditions to those experienced during training.
Surface-supplied diving is diving using equipment supplied with breathing gas using a diver's umbilical from the surface, either from the shore or from a diving support vessel, sometimes indirectly via a diving bell. This is different from scuba diving, where the diver's breathing equipment is completely self-contained and there is no link to the surface. The primary advantages of conventional surface supplied diving are lower risk of drowning and considerably larger breathing gas supply than scuba, allowing longer working periods and safer decompression. Disadvantages are the absolute limitation on diver mobility imposed by the length of the umbilical, encumbrance by the umbilical, and high logistical and equipment costs compared with scuba. The disadvantages restrict use of this mode of diving to applications where the diver operates within a small area, which is common in commercial diving work.
A diving mask is an item of diving equipment that allows underwater divers, including scuba divers, free-divers, and snorkelers, to see clearly underwater. Surface supplied divers usually use a full face mask or diving helmet, but in some systems the half mask may be used. When the human eye is in direct contact with water as opposed to air, its normal environment, light entering the eye is refracted by a different angle and the eye is unable to focus the light on the retina. By providing an air space in front of the eyes, the eye is able to focus nearly normally. The shape of the air space in the mask slightly affects the ability to focus. Corrective lenses can be fitted to the inside surface of the viewport or contact lenses may be worn inside the mask to allow normal vision for people with focusing defects.
Recreational diving or sport diving is diving for the purpose of leisure and enjoyment, usually when using scuba equipment. The term "recreational diving" may also be used in contradistinction to "technical diving", a more demanding aspect of recreational diving which requires greater levels of training, experience and equipment to compensate for the more hazardous conditions associated with the disciplines. Breath-hold diving for recreation also fits into the broader scope of the term, but this article covers the commonly used meaning of scuba diving for recreational purposes, where the diver is not constrained from making a direct near-vertical ascent to the surface at any point during the dive, and risk is considered low.
The buddy check is a procedure carried out by scuba divers using the buddy system where each diver checks that the other's diving equipment is configured and functioning correctly just before the start of the dive. A study of pre-dive equipment checks done by individual divers showed that divers often fail to recognize common equipment faults. By checking each other's equipment as well as their own, it is thought to be more likely that these faults will be identified prior to the start of the dive.
Scuba diving is a mode of underwater diving where the diver uses a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba), which is completely independent of surface supply, to breathe underwater. Scuba divers carry their own source of breathing gas, usually compressed air, allowing them greater independence and freedom of movement than surface-supplied divers, and longer underwater endurance than breath-hold divers. Although the use of compressed air is common, a mixture of air and oxygen called enriched air or nitrox has become popular due to its benefit of reduced nitrogen intake during long or repetitive dives. Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas into the environment as it is exhaled, and consist of one or more diving cylinders containing breathing gas at high pressure which is supplied to the diver through a regulator. They may include additional cylinders for range extension, decompression gas or emergency breathing gas. Closed-circuit or semi-closed circuit rebreather scuba systems allow recycling of exhaled gases. The volume of gas used is reduced compared to that of open circuit, so a smaller cylinder or cylinders may be used for an equivalent dive duration. Rebreathers extend the time spent underwater compared to open circuit for the same gas consumption; they produce fewer bubbles and less noise than open circuit scuba which makes them attractive to covert military divers to avoid detection, scientific divers to avoid disturbing marine animals, and media divers to avoid bubble interference.
Diver rescue, following an accident, is the process of avoiding or limiting further exposure to diving hazards and bringing a diver to a place of safety. A safe place is often a place where the diver cannot drown, such as a boat or dry land, where first aid can be administered and from which professional medical treatment can be sought. In the context of surface supplied diving, the place of safety for a diver with a decompression obligation is often the diving bell.
A snorkel is a device used for breathing air from above the surface when the wearer's head is face downwards in the water with the mouth and the nose submerged. It may be either separate or integrated into a swimming or diving mask. The integrated version is only suitable for surface snorkeling, while the separate device may also be used for underwater activities such as spearfishing, freediving, finswimming, underwater hockey, underwater rugby and for surface breathing with scuba equipment. A swimmer's snorkel is a tube bent into a shape often resembling the letter "L" or "J", fitted with a mouthpiece at the lower end and constructed of light metal, rubber or plastic. The snorkel may come with a rubber loop or a plastic clip enabling the snorkel to be attached to the outside of the head strap of the diving mask. Although the snorkel may also be secured by tucking the tube between the mask-strap and the head, this alternative strategy can lead to physical discomfort, mask leakage or even snorkel loss.
In underwater diving, ascending and descending is done using strict protocols to avoid problems caused by the changes in ambient pressure and the hazards of obstacles near the surface such as collision with vessels. Diver certification and accreditation organisations place importance on these protocols early in their diver training programmes.
Underwater breathing apparatus is equipment which allows the user to breathe underwater. The three major categories of ambient pressure underwater breathing apparatus are:
This is a glossary of technical terms, jargon, diver slang and acronyms used in underwater diving. The definitions listed are in the context of underwater diving. There may be other meanings in other contexts.
Scuba skills are the skills required to dive safely using self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, (scuba). Most of these skills are relevant to both open circuit and rebreather scuba, and many are also relevant to surface-supplied diving. Those skills which are critical to the safety of the diver may require more practice than is usually provided during training to achieve reliable long-term proficiency
Doing It Right (DIR) is a holistic approach to scuba diving that encompasses several essential elements, including fundamental diving skills, teamwork, physical fitness, and streamlined and minimalistic equipment configurations. DIR proponents maintain that through these elements, safety is improved by standardizing equipment configuration and dive-team procedures for preventing and dealing with emergencies.
Dive leader describes the minimum requirements for dive leader training and certification for recreational scuba divers in international standard ISO 24801-3 and the equivalent European Standard EN 14153-3. Various organizations offer training that meets the requirements of the dive leader standard. Some agencies use the title "Dive Leader" for their equivalent certification, but several other titles are also used, "Divemaster" may be the most widespread, but "Dive Supervisor" is also used, and should not be confused with the very different status and responsibilities of a professional diving supervisor. CMAS affiliates certifications which meet the requirements of CMAS 3-star diver should meet the standard by default.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to underwater diving:
The following index is provided as an overview of and topical guide to underwater diving:
Diving procedures are standardised methods of doing things that are commonly useful while diving that are known to work effectively and acceptably safely.
DIN 7876 is a German standard specifying how swimming fins should be dimensioned, tested and marked for conformity. In 1980, the Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) published consecutively numbered German standards DIN 7876, DIN 7877 and DIN 7878 dedicated respectively to the swimming fin, the diving mask and the breathing tube, which constitute basic underwater diving equipment. DIN 7876 of October 1980 is entitled Tauch-Zubehör – Schwimmflossen – Maße, Anforderungen und Prüfung in German and subtitled “Diving accessories for skin divers; Flippers, dimensions, requirements and testing” in English. This standard establishes certain quantitative and qualitative specifications for swimming fins, with particular reference to foot pockets and heel straps. Swimming fin manufacturers fulfilling such requirements may mark their products as compliant with this standard. The status of DIN 7876 is currently zurückgezogen, meaning: “withdrawn”.
The underwater diver relies on various pieces of equipment to stay alive and in reasonable comfort and to perform the planned tasks during a dive. The design of the equipment can strongly influence its effectiveness in performing the desired functions.