Black Skirt Mask vs. Clear Skirt Mask

I have been diving with a clear silicone mask skirt since the mid-80s when my old black neoprene skirt mask finally gave up the ghost. The neoprene had deteriorated to the point of leaving a black ring on my face. Like most of the diving world, I found the silicone skirt comfortable, well sealing and long-lasting. I never looked back. Now you can’t even find a neoprene mask on the market.  But divers began to crave the benefits of a black skirt in the late […]

Top Ten Tips to Keep Your Dive Gear Working Like New

Remember how your dive gear looked and felt when it was brand new? Your wetsuit was flexible and slipped on easily. Moving parts functioned smoothly without sticking. That new gear look and feel, and more importantly that new gear performance, can last longer with a bit of routine maintenance. Here are my top ten tips to keep your gear working like new. 10) Soak, rinse and thoroughly dry your gear at the end of every dive trip. I normally like to soak gear overnight, particularly […]

Snorkel Savvy

Some time ago I was on a dive boat where the current had shifted 180 degrees. Fortunately, it had gone from strong to only moderate, but it left a fair amount of divers stuck downcurrent with a long snorkel back to the boat as the only alternative. A handful of divers returned to the boat huffing, puffing, coughing and sputtering from what should have been just a moderate swim back to the boat. I like to people watch and sometimes dive boats are the best […]

How to Buy a Dive Mask: The 3 Most Important Points

I’ve seen more dives ruined by dive mask problems than any other piece of dive gear. Hey, if you can’t see, what’s the point? Furthermore, a leaky dive mask will lead to coughing, sputtering, and an overall sense of claustrophobia. You gotta have the right dive mask—and faces are as individual as fingerprints. Throw in moustaches, scars, etc., and you’ve got a mix that can be hard to overcome. The good news is masks are better than ever. Here are the three most important points […]

How to Buy A Dive Knife

A dive knife has long been considered a necessary piece of dive gear for extraction in the unlikely event of entanglement. But more than that, the dive knife has become an important tool for light underwater work, exploration, probing, and hunting. PURPOSES Specifically what kind of dive knife you choose will depend largely on its intended use. If you are a spearfisher, you’ll need a razor sharp knife with a sharp point (for quickly dispatching a large fish, if necessary). If you like to take […]

Considerations for Consoles

If you think a dive console is simply a collection of gauges, you’re sorely mistaken. The console of the 21st century has become a dive information center, a way to plan dives and track their progress. It not only organizes several pieces of gear, but it should assist in organizing your dive THINKING. A good console will tell you your relative position in space and time. It will tell you where you’ve been, how long you’ve been there, where you should be going, and the […]

Getting a Grip on Gloves

In the tropics it is now advocated that you not wear dive gloves when you dive. It is said that gloves give you the sense of “permission” to touch the delicate coral reefs. While this may be well and good, it does not, and cannot, apply to California diving. We dive in a much more harsh environment than your run of the mill tropical island. Temperature alone is enough to have you throwing on the warmest gloves possible. And then there is the urchins, wrecks, […]

Snorkels: How They Work, How They Work Best

Along with the mask, it was the first piece of dive gear invented. The snorkel allowed the user to breath underwater (albeit only a few inches) and take in the grandeur of the underwater world. BASIC PRINCIPLE At its most basic level, the snorkel is simply a tube that allows you to breath surface air with your body partially submerged. So why won’t it work a few feet down rather than just a few inches? Simply put, our lungs are relatively weak and cannot overcome […]

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