26 Must-Have Tools for a Safe Dive | Scuba Diving

26 Must-Have Tools for a Safe Dive

Diving is the best sport in the world, but like all high-adrenaline activities, things can sometimes go sideways. When they do, your level of preparation can make all the difference.

There are products designed to keep you safer, but to help you stay safe, they have to be stowed in a BC pocket, clipped to a D-ring or stored on the boat, not collecting dust in a closet.

Here are 26 must-have tools for building a safety cushion into your dive plan.

Moray Diver's Communication Torch (DCT)

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Moray Diver's Communication Torch (DCT)

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The DCT is a powerful dive light that’s depth rated to 500 feet, with a noisemaker integrated into its rugged ABS casing. Just shake the light and you’ve got an effective attention grabber. ScubaLab testers tried it out underwater and found that, true to its claim, the noisemaker can be heard from a distance of 100 feet. Offering an eight-hour burn time at full power, the DCT comes with batteries and a lanyard. Price: $130; moraydivegear.com

 

Ideations Dive Alert Plus

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Ideations Dive Alert Plus

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One way to attract attention, both at depth and on the surface, is with a pneumatic audible alarm. The latest version of the Dive Alert Plus connects without tools between your BC’s inflator and its quick-disconnect hose. For surface use, all you have to do is squeeze and it activates a horn that can be heard from as far as a mile away. Underwater, another squeeze emits a loud buzz. Either way, people will know you’re there. Price: $80; divealert.com

 

Oceanic B.U.D. Backup DC

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Oceanic B.U.D. Backup DC

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Most divers rely on dive computers to monitor no-decompression limits and to stay clear of the deco zone. But if the DC crashes, all dive data is gone, and so is the day’s diving — unless you carry a backup. Designed specifically as a backup DC, the B.U.D. is nitrox capable to 50 percent and comes with two algorithms, so it’s easy to match to your primary computer. Price: $330; oceanicworldwide.com

 

SCUBAPRO C200 Octo

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SCUBAPRO C200 Octo

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The octo reg is the traditional approach to backup breathers. Octos breathe as good as most primary regs, and they’re relatively inexpensive. SCUBAPRO’s C200 high- viz yellow cover and 39-inch hose are easy to see in emergencies, and the extra-long hose makes for easy air sharing with a dive buddy. The C200 comes with a diver- adjustable dive/predive switch that lets you detune the octo to minimize free-flows when it’s hooked to your BC. Price: $219; scubapro.com

 

Submersible Systems Spare Air 300

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Submersible Systems Spare Air 300

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Some divers prefer a “bailout” system independent of their reg and tank, and the Spare Air 300 can provide vital extra breaths to help you get safely to the surface. It comes with a 3-cubic-foot bottle, regulator, nylon carry pouch, mouthpiece cover and lanyard, as well as a tank-fill adapter for easy recharging from a scuba tank. Price: $299; spareair.com

 

Atomic Aquatics SS1 AAS

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Atomic Aquatics SS1 AAS

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Divers who appreciate a more streamlined dive rig tend to prefer an alternate air source as their backup breather. The SS1 is low profile, so it rides relatively flat on your left shoulder. Inflate/deflate buttons are positioned for easy one-hand operation, even when the SS1 is in your mouth. But more important, the SS1 is a superb breather, better than many primary regs. It’s designed to be removed from the BC for cleaning and storage with the regulator. Price: $240, $370 in titanium; atomicaquatics.com

 

Princeton Tec Torrent LED

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Princeton Tec Torrent LED

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This light’s compact casing holds eight AA batteries that deliver close to five hours of burn time at full power, and 30 hours at less than full power. The Torrent is small enough to fit in most BC pockets yet feels substantial in the hand. Its locking thumb switch eliminates accidental activation. Most important, this torch cranks out some good illumination. The lens is double O-ring sealed and depth rated to 328 feet. Batteries and lanyard are included. Price: $75; princetontec.com

 

Seasoft Scuba Raygun Hi Beam

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Seasoft Scuba Raygun Hi Beam

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Even loaded with batteries, the Seasoft RayGun weighs just over 6 ounces yet packs a punch when it comes to power. You’d be hard-pressed to find a dive torch this size that delivers as bright or as wide a spot as the RayGun. Its polycarbonate body is textured for easy gripping, and its double O-ring sealing system uses a twist on/off light switch. Price: $100; seasoftscuba.com

 

Aqua Lung Suunto SK7 Compass

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Aqua Lung Suunto SK7 Compass

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The best nonelectric underwater compass we’ve come across, the SK7 sports high-visibility numerals, convenient side-viewing window and phosphorescent card. It’s easy to read, and its +/- 30-degree tilt makes it usable at any angle. The bezel ratchets every 5 degrees to allow for precise navigation. Price: $100, $135 for the retractable; aqualung.com

 

Nautilus Lifeline Satellite-Based Electronic Rescue

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Nautilus Lifeline Satellite-Based Electronic Rescue

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Our hands-down favorite for local diving is the Nautilus Lifeline. The Lifeline is fully waterproof and depth rated to 425 feet. It’s also falling-down-simple to use. The Lifeline makes use of VHF radio and GPS. Press the green button, and you can use your VHF radio to make nonemergency contact with the dive boat. The orange button, preset to Channel 16, sends out your verbal distress call directly to the Coast Guard, and the red but- ton transmits a digital Mayday with your exact coordinates to the Coast Guard and any boat in the area equipped with Digital Selective Calling. Price: $299; nautiluslifeline.com

 

Spyderco Warrior Black Blade

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Spyderco Warrior Black Blade

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The Warrior Black might be more knife than you need for your standard top- side cutting needs, but oh, what a knife it is! Measuring just over 10 inches long with 5.5 inches of curved black blade, this is one wicked cutter. Its blade is ground from rust-free H-1 steel and, according to Spyderco, it possesses the same differential hardness properties of a clay-tempered Samurai sword. The Warrior also comes with a textured handle and ballistic nylon snap-closed sheath. Price: $450; spyderco.com

 

Scubamax KN-800 Titanium Knife

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Scubamax KN-800 Titanium Knife

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Made of 100 percent titanium, the blade is just over 3 inches long with a blunt point, smooth cutting edge and line cutter. The knife’s handle parts can be easily removed with a hex wrench for cleaning. Price: $124; scubamax.us

 

Riffe Terminator 1 Knife

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Riffe Terminator 1 Knife

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The narrow stiletto blade is made of Teflon-coated 420 stainless steel, and features a fully serrated edge on top and smooth edge below. There’s even a notch at the base of the 4.5-inch blade for removing speargun shafts from stuck places. Price: $82; speargun.com

 

Mares Force Bat Titanium Folding Knife

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Mares Force Bat Titanium Folding Knife

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Many divers who don’t like carrying a fixed blade often prefer a folding knife. Feather light, the Force Bat weighs only 2.5 ounces and features a 3.5-inch rust-free titanium blade that folds into a contoured handle. Price: $120; mares.com

 

DAN Surface Signal Kit

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DAN Surface Signal Kit

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This 6-foot signal tube with reflective strips and an internal radar reflector packs in a mesh pocket that clips to a D-ring. When you need to deploy it, it can be hooked to your BC. Price: $75; diversalertnetwork.org

 

Innovative Scuba Concepts Wind Storm Whistle

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Innovative Scuba Concepts Wind Storm Whistle

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This bright-yellow noisemaker (and its cousin, the Storm) can be heard up to a half- mile away. What’s more, the Wind Storm is inconspicuous, clipping easily to a BC D-ring, making this the quintessential backup safety device. Price: $7-$10; innovativescuba.com

 

Aqua Lung Reflective Kit

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Aqua Lung Reflective Kit

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This kit includes a reflective ring that fits underneath the BC’s shoulder exhaust valve, and a reflective patch that wraps around the corrugated hose just above the hold-down strap. Made from durable materials, these rings increase your visibility day or night Price: $12; aqualung.com

 

Oceanic Personal Safety Device

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Oceanic Personal Safety Device

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This 6-foot-long PSD is both orange and yellow. The PSD also does double-duty as a flotation device. Zip the two ends together and slip it over your head for hands-free buoyancy while waiting for pickup. Rolled up, the tube fits in most BC pockets, but a clip is also included. Price: $47; oceanicworldwide.com

 

IST Mini LED Self-Activating Strobe

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IST Mini LED Self-Activating Strobe

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As soon as this tiny strobe makes contact with the water, the completely sealed light activates, deliver- ing 200 hours of burn time. Its large, safety- pin-shaped clip allows you to position the light anywhere on your dive rig. Depth rated to 164 feet, the light uses a single LED, and is avail- able with either green or red globes. Price: $15; istsports.com

 

DAN Coast Guard Complete First-Aid Kit

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DAN Coast Guard Complete First-Aid Kit

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We’ve all cut a hand or twisted an ankle traversing slippery rocks or handling heavy gear, and a decent first-aid kit is worth its weight in gold. The Coast Guard Complete comes with all the supplies that meet the Coast Guard’s requirements for small passenger vessels, as well as DAN’s Dive & Travel Medical Guide, all packed in a durable, soft case. Price: $120; diversalertnetwork.org

 

Cetacea Save-A-Dive Kit

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Cetacea Save-A-Dive Kit

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Nothing’s more aggravating than having your diving abruptly ended due to something as basic as a broken mask strap or a blown O-ring. A Save-a-Dive kit can salvage the day’s diving for you, and it can elevate you to hero status when you help out a dive buddy in need. Cetacea’s kit includes fin and mask strap, snorkel keeper, mouthpiece, five O-rings and a pair of zip ties packed in a waterproof tube. Price: $16; cetaceacorp.com

 

Pelican Nemo 1960 LED Light

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Pelican Nemo 1960 LED Light

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Having a small torch for lighting the way when digging through a dive bag or search- ing the car trunk for that renegade dive glove can save a lot of time. This mini light’s LED bulb, teamed with just two AAA batteries, provides three hours of burn time. The beam is tight and focused, and the twist on/off switch is simple to use. As a mini pointer or backup light, the Nemo 1960 gets the job done. Price: $28; pelican.com

 

Innovative Scuba Concepts Deluxe Tool and Repair Kit

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Innovative Scuba Concepts Deluxe Tool and Repair Kit

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Diving’s all about the gear, and sometimes gear needs to be repaired. This dive-specific tool kit comes with a pair of double-ended wrenches sized to fit reg hoses, an adjustable wrench, a Phillips and flat-head screwdriver, hex wrenches for tightening port plugs, needle-nose pliers, an O-ring tool, zip ties, a jar of silicone grease and a 10-piece O-ring kit. Tools are organized in a zippered case, ready when you need them. Price: $35; innovativescuba.com

 

Nuvair O2 Quickstick Nitrox Analyzer

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Nuvair O2 Quickstick Nitrox Analyzer

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Easy to use, the O2 Quickstick allows you to take readings directly from the tank’s valve, or from the second-stage mouthpiece orifice by gently depressing the purge button. Price: $250; nuvair.com

 

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Vindicator Tank-Valve Handle

Vindicator Tank-Valve Handle

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Retrofittable on virtually any tank handle, the Vindicator valve handle reduces the likelihood of giant- striding off the boat with your air turned off. If the band shows green, the valve is open; red means it’s closed. Price: $20; scubastik.com

 

Halon Diving Tool

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Halon Diving Tool

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This clever modular system mates a knife and lights (rated to 300 feet; 4.5 hours of burn time) on a single carrier handle and sheath, which can hold two or three lights and either a blunt or drop-point blade. Price: $200; divehalon.com

 

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