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I find shears to be more useful than knives. I've cut several fishing lines with my shears and it was effortless every time.
Most dive knives are cheap craps that couldn't cut butter much less anything else. If you're going to carry a dive knife, then get a good knife and not the typical junk that everybody and their brothers stamp their names on and sell (Mares, UK, Scubapro, Aqualung, ad nauseam).
I've gotten entangled in monofilament line while diving on Cape Ann, and had to cut myself free. The guy at the shop was probaly trying to sell you something more expensive. IMHO, EMT shears are the way to go. They're easier to use one-handed, and can cut a steel leader a knife won't touch.
What he ^^^ said.
I bought a dive knife soon after open water because I was told I needed one. I have never even come close to using it. I now don't bother carrying it. Unless you will be cutting rope then I prefer shears for the reasons above and have used them once or twice. I find dive knives won't keep an edge on them either.
Currently in the Pacific Northwest, a few hours east of Seattle.
Until you've been entangled in a gill net, you have no idea...
Originally Posted by awap
I always carry one or more cutting tools but never a "dive knife". EMT shears and a folding SS knife are effective and have never caused a problem even at sites that do not allow knives.
Always carry a cutting tool. Monofilament nets are nearly invisible underwater, and once you are in one it's doubtful you'll get untangled by yourself. A cutting tool is critical.
Shears are often more valuable than a knife IMO (for cutting nets) because they have opposing cutting surfaces and don't require the same motion as a knife.
Remember that when you're escalated it's easy to drop things. If you only have one tool when you get caught in a net, and you drop it, you're not having a good day. Carry a back-up cutting tool.
Like awap I carry shears and a small folding Spyderco SS knife. And I've seen a diver caught up in a gill net. They are a nightmare. Sounds to me like your "shop guy" has never enjoyed that particular adventure, or else he would not have been so dismissive of the value of a cutting implement.
I tend to dive around a lot of line and prefer to carry 2-4 cutting devices. Overkill? A little for recreational, but standard for PSD and I try to keep some consistency in my set-ups. When doing searches we come up with line more times than not, and, for that, shears are my overwhelming preference.
I also consider all my cutting devices disposable. If you're stressed, low on air, and have just cut yourself out of line, do you really want to try to get a knife back into a sheath by your neck/chest/hoses/drysuit? (particularly in cold water/gloves)
With that in mind, cheap trauma shears work great for shears, and the DIR style of cut-down steak knife works very well for a knife. It's small, sharp, and $5 will get you 4 knives. If you've a DIY bent, a AA mini-maglite holster will fit a cheap steak knife near-perfectly.
One of these days I'll write a short post.
Going down is optional; going home is not.
All opinions expressed are the way I dive, not necessarily those of any sanctioning body, cert level, or my team. If you don't like it, don't do it.
In defense of the guy at the dive shop, he really didn't seem like he was trying to sell me something more expensive.
My main concern was that his opinion on dive tools may differ from the mainstream opinion so I figured I'd ask around.
Fair enough. He may have been offering advice with the expectation that most (if not all) your diving would be from tour boats at vacation destinations. In those situations (in my experience) there's VERY little chance you'll need a cutting tool, and some ares even prohibit them to protect the reef creatures.
If you're diving in New England though, consider it non-optional. I personally carry a knife AND shears.
I'm wondering if the dive shop guy was talking about the open water certification dives. Most students don't/shouldn't have a knife on them.
I am not picking a fight here, you train divers, I do not. I am just curious why on OW training dives the students should not be carrying a cutting device (I don't have a problem if you want to say no knives for some reasons).
My opinion is that a cutting device is a peice of safety equipment. I would no sooner get into the water (other than a pool) withous a cutting device than I would without an SPG or redundant regulator.
I am from the "train how you dive" school of thought. If you do everthing the same way every time there is less likelyhood of a mistake.