The equipment requirements for the courses I teach are built around the Hogarthian/DIR model and there is some detail about this below. I have complete rental sets with the exception of dry suits to assist you with completing an Intro To Tech or any recreational course, however, it is imperative that you begin to acquire your own equipment as soon as you can in order to become familiar with it.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
The most important considerations for equipment are:
- That the equipment is exactly adequate for the dive at hand
- That the equipment is consistent
- That the equipment is reliable
Having exactly adequate equipment for the dive at hand means having enough to deal with any single failure but no more. Getting in the water with inadequate equipment has obvious problems. Getting in the water covered in unecessary equipment serves no purpose other than to cause you to swim less efficiently, fumble for what you really need and present more oppportunities to become snagged or entrapped.
Remember, equipment can not replace skill and understanding.
Consistancy of equipment should be across two dimensions: your team and your career. Consistency across your career means that no matter what kind of diving you are doing, some things are the same. For instance, under a consistent configuration, you would have a long hose, Hogarthian rigged, whether you are diving back-mount, side-mount or rebreather. This means that the muscle memory you develop to do air shares remains the same. Equipment consistency across a team ensures that the team can easily assist with failures, as everything is familiar to everyone involved.
It goes without saying that equipment reliability enhances safety. Spending a bit more for a high-quality piece of gear may ensure reliability and longetivity. Consider this when making choices.
There is a lot of good information available to help in building an adequate, consistent, reliable rig. Dan MacKays seminal book Dress For Sucess is a great place to start
The importance of adequate, consistent, simple equipment cannot be over-emphasized. The photos below were taken in the harsh environment of the Great Lakes. Significant depth combined with a near-freezing temperature of 34F/1C places a premium on equipment and diver performance.
- Thermal protection must be adequate for the environment and planned dive
Having adequate protection assures that you stay alert and focused on the dive - not on how cold you are. This starts with a basic choice - wet or dry. Note that thermal choices have a significant role in your buoyancy choices - how you balance your rig.
- A heating system may be needed
If the water is particularly cold or the dive particularly long, a heated vest may be needed. Make sure you plan your battery capacity to allow for it, especially if you are sharing the battery with your light.
- Gloves and hoods should be chosen to maintain comfort and alertness
A lot of divers under-glove assuming they will not be able to manipulate their equipment with heavier gloves. This is a dangerous fallacy as it is far harder to work a bolt snap with hands stiffened by cold than with well gloved hands. Practice with all sorts of gloves and you will find that you can maintain comfort and flexibility!
- Masks should be low volume
You don't need 'purge valves' or other add-ons. Replace the silicon rubber mask strap with a 'slap-strap'. These resist breaking better.
A lot of technical divers use masks with black rubber skirts as these do not let in potentially distracting light from the sides. It's my personal preference.
George checking out the ship's bell on the Typo, Presque Isle, Lake Huron.
Photo By Rob Calkins
George checking out the ship's wheel on the Typo, Presque Isle, Lake Huron.
Photo By Rob Calkins
- Fins should be short, stiff and paddle bladed
These fins offer more propulsion efficiency and more precise control than the more elaborate hinged, split or other soft designs. They require more effort, but your effort will be rewarded with better control and more efficient swimming! The normal silicon rubber straps should be replaced with a more robust spring strap system.
- Primary Regulator should be a high performance model on a long hose
The primary regulator is attached to the right post via a 5-7' hose on a set of doubles. The wing inflation should also come from here.
- Secondary Regulator should also be a high performance model around the neck on a necklace
This is attached to the left post on a set of doubles. The pressure gauge is attached to this post also. Optionally, if you are not using helium, drysuit inflation is attached here also.
- A Drysuit Inflation System is required if you are diving a helium mixture
It's carried on the left side either as a small 6cf bottle attached to the backplate or as a larger 13-14cf bottle attached to the left tank of a set of doubles.
- Tanks should be adequate for the planned dive
If steel tanks are used, a drysuit is a must to provide redundant buoyancy. Stages and decompression bottles should be aluminum as the buoyancy shift has advantages.
- A backplate helps create a stable platform
The backplate can be made of stainless steel, aluminum or a synthetic as appropriate to create a 'balanced rig'. The choice should be integrated with your choice of exposure protection, tanks and other significant weighting items.
- The harness is woven in the backplate and completes the stable platform
- The harness is made from a single piece of webbing, no plastic buckles
- There should be two chest D-rings, one on each side
- There should be a single D-ring on the left waistband, aligned with the hip bone (pelvis)
- The crotch strap should have a D-ring on the front, for scootering only, and on the back, for reels and towing
Make sure you can always reach the rear one.
- A simple line cutter should be mounted at the waist on the left side waistband. The buckle completes the left side
An additional line cutter can be mounted to the primary light handle.
- Lighting is important for both signaling and illumination
A light is useful in all but the brightest conditions.
- The primary light is a cannister style held on the right side of the harness with a sliding buckle
- The primary light should have a Goodman handle. Soft handles are useful in some circumstances but are a poor choice when scootering or swimming against current
- Secondary lights should have very long burn times and be mounted on the chest at the D-rings out of the slipstream
George at 200FFW on the wreck of the Florida, Presque Isle, Lake Huron.
Photo By Rob Calkins
I am pleased with all the equipment listed below. Nothing here has failed me in any significant way, so these are the things I dive.
- Rebreather is a KISS configured as a fully manual CCR
- Primary regulator(s) are Scubapro Mk25/S600
- Secondary regulator(s) are Scubapro Mk25/G250V
- Stage regulators are Apeks DS4/TX50 2x
- Decompression regulators are Scubapro Mk20/G250 (O2 clean) and 3xOMS Workhorse(s)
- Twinsets: 1x Worthington LP108s, 1x Worthington HP100s, Faber LP85s
- Stage/deco bottles: 8x Luxfer AL80 4xLuxfer AL40
- Backplates: Hammerhead 6lb steel, Halcyon AL, UTD 12lb steel
- Wings: 60Lbs, 45Lbs, 30lbs single
- Primary lights: Light Monkey 10W LED, Salvo 21w HID w/EO, UTD 21w 'focusable' LED w/EO, Salvo 10w HID, 13.5aH cannisters
- Backup lights: 3x Light Monkey LEDs
- Drysuit: DUI Signature Series TLS350
- Gauge: Uwatec 330m depth Gauge/bottom timer
- Scooter: SS UV-26, UV-18
I own several spools/reels SMBs, lift bags and what not.
I do not represent or promote any particular kind or brand of equipment. I promote a set of selection criteria for equipment, not specific brands.