What is a Scuba Diving Save-a-Dive Kit and what’s in it?
A gear-intensive activity like scuba will eventually lead to some equipment breaking. Typically, that will happen at the worst moment and in the most unfortunate location, like on a boat and you are a long way from a dive shop to do a repair.
Therefore, any diver should have a Save-a-Dive Kit with them when going on a trip. It’ll help to quickly fix small issues that otherwise might end a trip before it started!
When it comes to diving, there’s an old saying that seems particularly fitting:
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Because, inevitably, something is bound to go a little wrong: the lens will pop off your underwater camera, your fin strap will snap, or your brand new mask will mysteriously spring a leak (and sometimes all of the above!) And while you can’t plan for each and every mishap, there is one way that you can alleviate some of the pressure when you’re on a dive trip.
It’s called a save-a-dive kit.
This package of backup supplies can really help you out when you’re on the dive boat and you realize that something is missing, broken, or otherwise off. It’s a little bit like making sure that you have the necessary tools in the trunk of your car.
You may never have to use it, but if you’re ever unlucky enough to break down miles from civilization, you’ll be really glad you took the time to pack it.
Do you really need one?
If you are new to the sport and plan on going on a dive trip with a company, you probably shouldn’t worry too much about putting together a set of items to save a dive. Diving companies who specialize in excursions will have plenty of their own supplies to make sure that you only have to focus on enjoying your time underwater.
Same items for beginners vs. experienced divers?
On the other hand, if you’re a more experienced diver using your own supplies, you should definitely have a saving-a-dive kit. You really don’t want to be that person on the boat that is asking if anyone has an extra fin strap. At least not more than once.
Building your own Assortment
So, what exactly goes into such an assortment of tools and spare parts to fix your equipment on a dive and how can you tailor it to your specific needs? Well, here are a few suggestions from some seasoned divers.
What do you need to put into it?
There are a few key items that you’ll find in every diver’s save-a-dive kit. Here are just a few ideas on spare parts and accessories you want to put into your container:
- Mask strap replacements
- Fin straps
- Regulator mouthpiece
- O-rings (plenty of them, and in different sizes) and O-ring tools – since there are so many pieces of equipment that use O-rings, like your regulator, underwater lights, tank valves, and underwater camera housings, it’s a great idea to have a good amount of extra replacement parts
- Zip ties, bungee cords, and duct tape – for repairs and creative solutions to tricky problems
- Carabiner or other clips
- First aid supplies – waterproof bandages, disinfectant, motion sickness pills, and ibuprofen to aid with any scrapes and scratches
- Batteries – for devices like your dive computer or underwater camera
- Some elementary tools, like a wrench or screwdriver
- Wetsuit or drysuit sealant or glue
- Zipper Wax for sticky zippers – you can buy diving specific zipper wax or use beeswax or candle stubs
Add what you need
Obviously, what you choose to put in your save-a-scuba-dive kit is going to require some consideration. Because although there are a few recommendations that you can get from other divers about what makes a good dive kit, your specific list should reflect your set of diving equipment and needs.
Maybe your save-a-dive kit includes extra contact lenses, for example, or a de-fogging agent. That said, having some universal items can also come in handy for your fellow divers (after all, scuba diving is never an individual experience).
Being able to share some much-needed zip ties or a mask strap with a buddy can really go a long way towards making everyone’s trip more enjoyable and relaxed. Make sure to remember what replacement parts and contents you share so you can replenish before going to dive again.
Also, make sure that essential repair items like a mask strap actually match your dive mask. Similar for the fin straps. The items in your save-a-dive kit have to match your gear.
What else should you consider?
Checking with your dive buddy
Speaking of your diving companions, you may want to collaborate with other divers in the group on the contents of your gear-fixing kit before you start packing. You and your dive buddy will inevitably be sitting down to go over the dive plan, so why not also ask what extra supplies he or she will bring so that you can both lighten the load? It’s not necessary that both of you have a bunch of zip ties or even a spare dive computer in your save-a-dive kit.
What are the essentials?
Of course, there are some things that divers should bring with them, like extra mask straps and mouthpieces. Yet others, like duct tape, can be the responsibility of only one person. This is especially helpful when you plan on diving with the same person for multiple trips.
It does however depend on what you consider as being essential replacement parts. Some divers even bring a spare mask in their kit so they can be sure to have a replacement in case their mask breaks or otherwise malfunctions.
Choosing the right container
Once you’ve got the list of supplies that will go in your gear-repair kit, it’s time to find the right container. One mistake that many divers make is buying the container beforehand and changing the supply list to fit in the box.
That method leads to compromises where you end up missing spare parts like an extra mask strap. You just don’t want to make it, so it’s best to buy the container afterward.
What you’re looking for is something waterproof, clear, and sturdy. You don’t want something that is going to pop open if it gets jostled around in the boat, and a clear case will allow you to easily see what you’re missing as part of your save-a-dive kit.
Another tip: get a bag or container with dividers. When you find yourself in a frustrating situation out at sea, you don’t want to add to the fire by having to dig through a disorganized box of supplies. Instead, invest in something like a tackle box for fishing that has separate compartments to build your own diving kit.
Consider buying a prepackaged kit
These kits have gotten more popular recently because they just make diving a little easier. The only drawback to buying such a kit online is that you can’t really customize it for your dive. If you buy one, you’ll still have to create your own list and crosscheck it with what comes in the prepackaged kit to match what you need as a diver.
Replenishing the supply
There is nothing more disappointing than thinking that you have a backup item and then realizing you forgot to replace it.
Check your Save-a-Dive-Kit regularly
Every time you’re getting ready for a dive, you should check your Save-a-Dive kit for equipment repairs and make sure that used items have been replaced. And, if you’ve collaborated with a dive partner, it might be a good idea to remind them of any used supplies, as well.
And there you have it
With just a little bit of planning and prepping, you can arrive on dive day a little more relaxed and confident. Not only will you be able to help out a buddy in need, but you’ll also have the peace of mind that comes with having a backup plan and a Save-a-Dive Kit with the most essential spare parts you might need when scuba diving.
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