The absolute minimum gear for a scuba diver is an air cylinder (tank), regulator, dive mask and swim fins. Many divers also use a snorkel, wet suit, weight belt or vest, and a buoyancy control device.
Technical divers who make very deep dives often bring along multiple air cylinders bridged by a manifold to prolong their dives. Many also use a dive computer to monitor decompression, depth, water temperature and other factors.
The main health hazard for divers is the absorption of too much nitrogen by the blood when the body is under high pressure. When the pressure subsides as the diver returns to the surface, this nitrogen can rapidly come out of the blood in bubbles, leading to anything from mild aches to death.
Most scuba diving organizations teach beginners the equivalent of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors' Open Water basic dive training program. This covers the elementary skills needed for recreational diving, and at the end of the program divers are cleared for dives of up to 60 feet.
Recreational Dive Limits
The safe limit for a recreational diver is generally defined as between 130 and 140 feet. Past this, specialized skills, planning and equipment are required.
While most divers prefer warm waters, enthusiasts dive just about everywhere. The usual points of interest are shipwrecks, reefs and other undersea formations that attract fish.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.