Waterproof Cell Phones and Scuba Diving
As technology improves, perhaps it’s only fitting that we would want to take our most personal device, the cell phone, with us on our dives. After all, we use them for everything these days.
We can take photos and videos with them. We use them as a calculator and a place to write notes. We, of course, rely on them in emergency situations.
There are even diving apps that you can use to help with everything from reviewing course material, to organizing a dive trip, to calculating the dive plan, to logging your dives.
Clearly, cell phones can be a helpful tool in the diving world. But, can you really use them during a dive? With manufacturers now marketing waterproof and water resistant devices, it’s tempting to think about taking your cell phone with you on your dive.
Here’s a review of all your underwater options.
Waterproof and Water Resistant: What’s the difference?
Okay, so it’s probably pretty obvious that most cell phones are not designed for diving environments. In fact, most of the designs you’ll find on the market are not actually waterproof, but rather water-resistant, meaning that they can withstand water only to a certain degree.
Usually, a cell phone that boasts of being water-resistant can be dropped in a puddle or survive if you forget it outside in the rain. Anything more than temporary exposure to water, in other words, is going to ruin the phone.
You can determine the level of water resistance through the IP (or Ingress Protection) code, which consists of two numbers: a dust resistance rating and a water resistance rating. That second number is going to tell you how waterproof your phone actually is.
Unfortunately for your diving needs, none of the ratings are very good for prolonged exposure to water. At best, most phones can offer a rating of 7 or 8 in terms of water resistance, which will allow you to immerse the phone in freshwater to a depth of 1 meter for about a half-hour.
Obviously, if you’re planning on diving in the ocean at normal recreational depths, these parameters don’t do much for you.
As far as truly waterproof phones go, well, the technology just hasn’t quite caught up yet. Since diving tends to be an occasional activity for most people, perhaps there just isn’t a market for diving-specific cell phones.
Is it still worthwhile to get a water resistant phone?
Sure! If you dive often (or just tend to expose your phone to water every now and then), investing in a water-resistant phone is practical. After all, when you bring your cell phone onto the dive boat, there’s always a chance of splashing.
Plus, many manufacturers are moving in the direction of water-resistant designs already, so you probably won’t find yourself shelling out too much extra on this feature.
One other option
If you imagined yourself shooting videos or snapping pics from your phone underwater, don’t give up on the idea so fast. Because, while the availability of waterproof and water resistant phones may be limited, there are plenty of cases and bags that will get the job done.
Some things to look out for when purchasing a case:
Make sure it is 100% waterproof up to the depth that you’re planning on diving. Some cases are not built for increases in pressure, so make sure that you find something that is specific to your dive.
No mixing and matching. If you got a new phone and your old case seems to fit alright, don’t take the risk. Instead, look for a case that is specific to your model to avoid leakages.
Consider what you want to do with your cell phone. If you are going to be taking pictures, there are plenty of waterproof cases that are designed to enhance the camera on your phone, making the experience all the more enjoyable.
Do as much research as possible. That means reading through all the reviews of people who have tried that specific case. Surely, it doesn’t make sense to spend a ton of money on a case that tends to have bad reviews.
Making the final decision
Ultimately, the choice is yours. You can invest in a new phone that is water-resistant. You can explore the world of waterproof phone cases. Or, you can wait until the technology catches up to the needs of the diving world.
Whatever your choice, try not to let the limitations of diving with a cell phone take away from your experience. Cell phones can be a great tool for diving, but the main thing is that you are mentally present for your dive and having a good time.
The cell phone will be waiting for you when you get back to the boat!