Scuba diving equipment allows you to visit the underwater world by making it possible to breathe, see and move comfortably while below the surface. Gear helps you change from being a land-dweller to somewhat of an aquatic being – if only for a little while. A mask lets you see clearly. A scuba regulator and tank provide the air you need. Fins allow you to swim efficiently, and a wetsuit helps you stay warm. Whether you’re just starting as a scuba diver or you’re an experienced diver looking for new equipment, you’ll find helpful suggestions and tips in this section while we share with you what equipment we use and how we take care of it.
What we use at Bocas Dive Center: 63 / 80 / 100 cubic feet aluminum tanks LUXFER
Maintenance: Yearly visual inspection as required by regulation.
General information: High-pressure cylinders are relatively small, yet very strong containers that hold large volumes of compressed gas. Being able to carry your gas supply with you is what defines SCUBA (self contained underwater breathing apparatus). Whether it’s filled with regular filtered air or enriched air nitrox (higher oxygen and lower nitrogen content) or trimix (three-gas combination) for technical diving, a scuba tank is one of the most important pieces of gear.
What we use at Bocas Dive Center: Scubapro MK2/R095
Maintenance: Regulators are cleaned and inspected daily to check for any malfunctions or cracks. Every six months, our regulators are completely overhauled (ultrasonic bath, replacement of rings and lubes) according to manufacturer’s specifications, by a trained professional technician.
General information: Breathing underwater is pretty remarkable and only possible with a scuba regulator. A scuba diving regulator is the hub of your dive equipment and links many pieces of gear: your scuba tank to your BCD, your submersible pressure gauge (SPG), your alternate air source and you. You’ll always remember your first breath underwater using a regulator. Bocas Dive Center will provide you with a reliable breathing regulator so you can focus on scuba diving in the beautiful waters of Panama.
What we use at Bocas Dive Center: Scubapro Pilot
Maintenance: Monthly visual inspection and test as required by regulation.
General information: Imagine scuba diving while hovering, weightless underwater – eye to eye with a fish. How is it possible? It starts with your buoyancy control device (BCD).
A BCD does exactly what its name describes – it gives you control in the water. Sometimes you want to float on the surface comfortably. Occasionally, you want to kneel or stand on the bottom, sometimes during a training course. Most of the time, you want to drift along effortlessly mid-water, observing the scenery. To do this efficiently, you need a BCD that fits you well, along with a weight system to fine-tune your buoyancy. The BCD also holds your tank.
What we use at Bocas Dive Center: 3mm suites ScubaPro.
General information: It’s called exposure protection because while scuba diving you’re not only exposed to water’s cooling ability but also to things that can scrape, cut or sting. Because water temperatures vary from really warm near the equator to icy cold in some areas, there are three basic styles of exposure protection – the wetsuit, dry suit, and body suit.
Wetsuits get their name because you still get wet while wearing one. Your body quickly heats the thin layer of water that gets in and you’re insulated from the cooler surrounding water by the wetsuit material. You choose your wetsuit style and thickness based on the water temperature where you’ll dive.
What we use at Bocas Dive Center: ScubaPro
Maintenance: Regularly inspecting rubber and glass.
General information: A mask is one of the most important, and personal, pieces of scuba diving equipment you own because it lets you explore with your eyes. You want a good quality mask that fits you well and gives you the best viewing area possible, because you don’t want to miss anything underwater.
What we use at Bocas Dive Center: ScubaPro
Maintenance: Regularly inspecting rubber.
General information: There are fins for swimming, snorkeling, free diving and body surfing. You’ll want fins for scuba diving because you’ll be much more comfortable with fins designed to move you and your gear through the water with minimal effort and maximum efficiency
Maintenance: Regularly inspecting rubber and mouth piece.
General information: A snorkel is a very personal piece of equipment. It lives with your mask, spends time in your mouth, and lets you breathe while you look below, until you’re ready to submerge on scuba. Whether you use your snorkel a lot while exploring the local dive site between scuba dives, or just occasionally to swim back to the boat after surfacing, you’ll appreciate that it makes your surface time easier.
Maintenance: Regularly inspecting the buckle and the belt.
General information: Most people float, which is great if you like to stay at the surface. However, scuba divers want to descend and need a weight system to help them offset this tendency to float. You want just enough weight to allow you to sink slowly. Having the right amount and proper distribution of weight allows you to fine-tune your buoyancy.
What we use at Bocas Dive Center: ScubaPro Pro Nova 200
Maintenance: Regularly inspecting the "O" rings and change of batteries every 3 months (or less if required).
General information: It’s obvious that a dive light is necessary to scuba dive at night to help you navigate, see your gauges, and observe interesting aquatic life. But it’s also a good idea to carry a light during the day to peer inside wrecks, see under ledges and light up caverns. You’ll use it on all your scuba diving adventures to look into the cracks and crevices where shy creatures hide.
Underwater Photography Equipment
Maintenance: rinse after every dive, inspect "O" ring, rubbers and lubricate before every dive.
General information: With the rise of digital photography capabilities, there are now numerous options for capturing images underwater. From simple point-and-shoot cameras that take both photographs and video to more high-end equipment that shoots high-definition images, you’re sure to find a system that meets your needs.