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Just getting started
05-01-2012, 08:56 PM,
Just getting started
Hey guys,
I'm just getting started into this amazing sport. And with that I have no equipment. There is a dive shop where I'm from that rents stuff. Is there anything that I should get right away? I'm planning with sticking with diving for years and years to come.
05-01-2012, 09:13 PM,
Re: Just getting started
I would start with just the basics:

A well fitting mask
(I suggest a black skirt, if you plan on diving MN a lot) the black skirt keeps the light from reflecting of your lens back into your eyes.



The rest you can try before you buy.  Try many different bc's, including back plate/wings.

That's my 2cents.
05-01-2012, 10:41 PM,
Re: Just getting started
^^ what he said ^^ 

And as I am only in this sport a year, do a lot of reading, and asking before you buy. It will save you from buying the same things twice. (I am learning the hard way)

There is always great deals to be had buying used stuff, but that can be risky too.

look into the future, and if you think you might want to get into tech diving, than don't waste a ton of money on rec stuff, unless of course you have a ton of disposable income, than buy two of everything ;D
05-02-2012, 08:11 AM,
Re: Just getting started
I guess the next best thing in my opinion to get would be a wetsuit or a drysuit. rental exposure suits... need I say more ;D
that was one of my first bigger purchases. I think many will agree that up here, a drysuit is the way to go! But definitely do a lot of research before that purchase, and get the proper training ;D
05-02-2012, 08:27 AM,
Re: Just getting started
Hey skiman... I'd get a boat first.  No, just kidding.  What, or who got you so excited about diving?
Cold and dark down there huh?
05-02-2012, 05:10 PM,
Re: Just getting started
I did a discover scuba the last time I was in Florida, and a good family friend is an avid diver that we see regularly talks about diving and has some really cool videos!
Thanks for the help everyone!
05-02-2012, 10:39 PM,
Re: Just getting started
Have you been diving locally yet or gone through Open Water certification?  I love diving locally and definitely don't intend to squash any spirit or anything, but I always try to throw the disclaimer out there that it doesn't seem to be for everyone.  My amazing wife, for instance... doesn't like the cold water, the lower viz or the fact that there is "nothing to see" since we don't have a million colorful fish and coral everywhere.  ;D  Natural/man-made formations, shipwrecks, finding random junk and/or simply attempting to improve your skills on a dive just doesn't end up interesting everyone for some reason!  :o  If it turns out you don't care for local diving as much as expected and would rather limit your diving to more tropical areas, your gear requirements/desires can change significantly.  Back to the original question, though...

Generally, Open Water classes will require you to have your own mask, snorkel and fins and you can usually rent the rest if needed.  If you've taken OW and don't already own these, this is still where I'd start as others have mentioned.  Also as previously stated, try before you buy on everything possible.  I think I was a bit lucky in many of my early purchases (ie. I haven't had to completely replace much of anything), but my usual dive buddy and his wife have each gone through a few versions of many items already.  Talk to your avid diver friend and to anybody and everybody at the dive shop for advice.

All that being said... I would 2nd the opinion of buying your own wetsuit first thing after mask, snorkel, fins.  This is the one most likely piece of equipment that could give you someone else's rash, for instance!  Most dive shops try to rinse them out well, but there's still nothing better than knowing exactly where it has been.  It is also an item that will not require regular servicing from the dive shop, so your price is pretty fixed over time.  When buying your own suit you can always customize sizing a bit if needed, or get a different brand that fits you better than the brand(s) the dive shop sells.

Beyond that, for me, it basically came down to weighing (equipment cost + service cost over time - convenience discount) vs (rental cost over time).  The convenience discount is the non-monetary savings from not having to pick your gear up before your dives and dropping it off at the shop after your dives... and remember that often times one or the other isn't very convenient for you because the shop is closed!  (evenings, sundays, etc)  The only problem is that this convenience discount doesn't kick in much until you have everything you need, including tanks!  If you want to get really in-depth (or want to fudge the numbers further towards buying more equipment  Wink), you could be sure to add in the costs of paying for extra rental days due to not being able to get to the shop in time!
05-02-2012, 11:02 PM,
Re: Just getting started
Hey Mike....Welcome home!!!

My son just had the time of his life diving in Hawaii.  His first Discover Scuba experience outside of a pool was Turtle Canyon off the coast of Honolulu, Hawaii.  You should see his face light up to talk about it! 
Me, on the other hand....Certified since 2005 and this was the first Blue Water dive I'd ever done!  My husband and I have already bought "everything times two" off e-bay.  If you want to try something, give me a call, I probably have one or two in your size!  (612) 597-2105
My name is Lisa and I'm a SCUBAholic. It's been toooo long since my last dive!
05-03-2012, 11:01 AM,
Re: Just getting started

For classes, you'll need a mask, snorkel, fins, and booties.  They’ll give you the rest to use.

First, let me say “Support your LDS (Local Dive Shop) where possible.”  If they're not around, it'll be tough to rent gear or get tank fills. Smile

That being said, there are a couple of online places that have great deals.  Often times, discontinued stuff can be had a good discount.  For new gear, I like , , and stuff can be found on too.  gets some good deals if a clearance item fits you.  Amazon and Leisurepro are good spots to find reviews., and are good diver-owned places to shop.  Craigslist and ebay can be decent too, but you really need to know what you’re looking at before you buy.  There is a lot of junk out there.

This is a nice mask for $25.  I have an Atomic frameless that cost much more but doesn't seem much different.

I haven't had a problem yet, but some masks don't fit some people's faces well, so try on a few things first to see if you have to watch out for it.

Get open-heeled fins for around here.  They're for use with booties and/or drysuits.  I like the monoprene (black rubber) fins.  (Scubapro JetFins, Scubapro TwinJet, Aqualung Rocket Fins, etc.)  They seem durable and long lasting.  Spring straps are nice, but can be added on later if they don't come with them when you find them.  They're longer than you might expect - typical fins you'd see at Target or Walmart are more for snorkeling than scuba.  You need larger fins to push yourself and all your gear through the water.

Regulators need checkups yearly and service every other year.  If you buy a used one, expect to have to get it serviced before use.  Yoke-style is more common.  DIN is generally considered superior.  I went DIN, but find it harder to get tanks.  Some tanks come with valves that convert between the two styles.

Regulators are life support equipment.  This isn’t the place to skimp on costs. Smile  Look for things like ease of breathing, tendency to free-flow, and in MN it won’t hurt to look at cold-water performance.  Computers (vs analog gauges) used to be considered a luxury, but they’re getting to be pretty universally expected.

Tanks need yearly visual inspections (VIP) and hydrostatic testing every 5years.  Watch out for old Aluminum tanks.  There are some that were made with poor alloys that won't pass testing (and can't be refilled).  Steel generally lasts longer than aluminum, but can rust.

You may not want to buy a used wetsuit (Probably want 7mm thickness for MN).  They lose their insulating properties with age and number of dives.  Also, people tend to pee in their wetsuits (seriously), so I kind of put it in the category of buying used underwear. Smile

Snorkels (with a few exceptions) are fairly universal.  Either they'll be dry, semi-dry or a straight tube.  Dry keeps water out, but can suddenly clamp off your air supply when you're not expecting it.  I did class with Walmart mask and snorkel.  Mask fogged up a lot (even with defog).  Snorkel was fine.

BCs come in two main styles, jacket and BPW (backplate and wings).  Weight integrated is nice.  Keeps you from having to keep a separate weight belt.

In general, I’d say get your own mask, snorkel, fins, and boots for class.  Add a BC, wetsuit, and regulators when you can.  Gloves and hood are good to have in MN.  Little things like a safety marker, whistle, light, and knife are good to have too.  Save tanks for last.  They’re highly rentable.  Drysuit can extend your dive season, but can be pretty expensive.  They can be found used, but may require sending off for new seals or patching.  Superior Diving is a MN company and pretty well respected for alterations and repairs. 
05-06-2012, 10:21 AM,
Re: Just getting started
Versus buying things off of ebay or another source, maybe try posting on this forum the items you are looking for and what size. As Queen had posted earlier, many of us have spares or items that we are no longer using but tend to forget about unless someone asks. Buying from MNScuba folks is generally a lot safer experience than craigslist or ebay. Everyone on here knows the someone or someone who knows the someone who is selling it. This keeps the honesty and trust level up when buying used gear.

Just my 2 cents
In Life, You Either Do or You Don't. I Did! - (Wallace the Pit Bull 4/3/02-8/23/13)

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