There are four pieces of scuba diving gear that I think are essential for your scuba diving safety. I make a point of having them with me on every single Asia dive trip and liveaboard dive adventure that I do. My experience in the water has shown me the importance of these potentially life saving diver tools, for you and you dive buddies.
Safety Sausage, this surface marker is the cheapest piece of dive equipment you can buy besides a whistle, which is also a good thing to have, but today they are almost always standard equipment on many “BCD’S”. The safety sausage can be seen even in choppy seas from a long way off with the unaided eye. Today there are brands that also include a strip of night reflectors that will light up very brightly when it is hit with any kind of light.
A dive light, preferably a LED light as the burn times is so long. At night if you are drifting, you can catch the attention of passing boats, helicopters or airplanes. Certainly if a search is being made for you at night, you really increase the odds of being seen. I keep one in my pocket all the time as I like to look in holes for small critters on dives, so I get a lot of use out of my pocket light, always knowing in the back of my mind that I have it should I drift off and go missing into the night.
Knife I can remember one time in Cambodia I was diving with a group, and I was looking at something and got separated, as I was heading to the pick up spot, I very nearly swam into a large, nearly invisible, Phantom net! It would be very easy to have gotten entangled and with out a knife I would have had a very hard time to get out of it.
I have a friend that works with nets fishing Hawaii shore lines, and when he does this at night, he swims naked to decrease the chance of having anything hang up on the net and drowning him, which does happen to this type of fisherman.
Dive computer, today they are very inexpensive and they last for years. Why rely on the old analog gauges with tables and charts, when you can have this very essential piece of dive gear for, roughly calculated for most divers, less than a dollar a dive. The bends is something that you don’t want to mess around with, having a dive computer lets you know right there on your wrist or dive console, exactly where you are at as far as you nitrogen loading and dive time, which will also will tell you how much of a decompression stop you should make if you accidentally exceed the safe limits on your planned dive profile.
Dive with a safety sausage, inexpensive and very easy to see on the open ocean, if you can get with light reflector, even better.
Dive light to use as a signal at night to attract attention from boats, helicopters and search planes.
Dive Knife used to cut fishing line and fishing nets that you might accidentally run into.
A Dive Computer keeps you from accidentally getting decompression illness (DCI)
Remember to plan your dive, and dive your plan, and be prepared with the right dive equipment.