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Watch, Bottom Timer or computer

Discussion in 'Computers, Gauges, Watches & Analyzers' started by rfwoodvt, Feb 17, 2021.

  1. rfwoodvt

    rfwoodvt Registered

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Vermont
    Evening all,

    Noob here looking forward to summer here in the NW Vermont...a bit of ice still on the water and not too inviting to me...yet!

    Anyhoo, currently do not have a reliable underwater timing device and will need one.

    Am debating the pros, cons and what-nots of the various options. Most, if not all, of my diving will be docks, moorings and swimming areas in the 10 to 30 foot depth range. Simple and reliable are my mantra. Am leaning towards a watch or bottom timer but have no idea which of either would be the best starting point. That said, I'm not totally opposed to computer either, but I think that goes beyond my current necessities.

    I am a gearhead and come from a fire/industry safety background so redundancy is part of my DNA...in other words I will have one device on me and one in reserve. Chances are I will probably think about having a third on me as a backup. This isn't to say I'm loose with the budget...Whatever I get will have to do the fundamentals reliably and well, but I'm not into anything just for the sake of foo-foo, bling or being trendy.

    I'd appreciate any insight and suggestions you may have to offer!
  2. 2airishuman

    2airishuman Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Greater Minnesota
    If your dives are shallow (<30') then time doesn't matter much. It is useful as a proxy for distance in navigation, but you can count kicks. It is useful as a proxy for air consumption, but you have an SPG.

    Typically on shallow (again <30') dives I carry a small, inexpensive DC because it is the most compact and cheapest way to measure time and depth. There are no high quality bottom timers in current/recent production that are cheaper than an inexpensive DC. There are no high quality depth gauges in current/recent production that are as compact as a small, inexpensive DC.

    I use a dive watch occasionally in place of a DC on shallow dives where a depth gauge isn't helpful, mainly because I like my dive watch.

    As for redundancy, these devices are reliable, and on a shallow dive you can just end the dive when they fail. No point cluttering up your kit with things you don't need. On a deep dive where you may have to sit out the rest of the day if you lose your DC people carry spares.
    lowwall, Akimbo, inquisit and 2 others like this.
  3. Jonn

    Jonn Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Alberta
    Agree with previous: at such shallow depths time hardly matters, but you should probably have a computer just to have it.
  4. rhwestfall

    rhwestfall Woof! ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: "La Grande Ile"
    I'd agree with the above, and get a PDC. The pricing of them has gotten so low, it makes a watch pointless.
    Marie13 likes this.
  5. beldridg

    beldridg ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California, USA
    Get a dive computer -- but not because you need it on those dives. Get it because it will get you in the habit of using it and learning the different features & functionality. When you eventually dive somewhere where you do need it, you will be familiar with how it works.

    - bret
  6. Fishyhead

    Fishyhead Contributor

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: California
    Even an inexpensive dive computer like a used Suunto Zoop would be overkill for those depths/locations but getting used to using one will be beneficial if you decide to go dive elsewhere like on vacation in the Caribbean. The computers can give you useful data if you want it. As for redundancy, that's a personal choice but I think it's unnecessary unless you're doing multiple dives for multiple days.
  7. GJC

    GJC Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southern California, USA
    Bottom timers were only popular before computers were available. You might have trouble finding a new one to buy.

    For less than $200 you can get a low end computer that you can use if/when you go on a dive vacation. It's a lot easier to use than a watch and dive tables and it will have the capability to adjust for nitrox (if you get into that).

    A good dive watch can cost more than a good low end computer.

    Eventually you will develop your own likes and dislikes for dive equipment and then decide that you want specific features in your dive computer. Until then, just get a low end one and replace it later when you feel the need.
  8. happy-diver

    happy-diver Skindiver Just feelin it

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Same ocean as you!
    If you want to go diving get a computer

    Shearwater Peregrine

    If you want to go computing get a watch
    rongoodman likes this.
  9. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    Do not waste more than $200.00 for a dive computer for your type of diving.
    Most basic dive computer nowadays can be set to gauge mode ie as bottom timer.
    Dive computer is useful if you decide to venture out in the future.
  10. jale

    jale Contributor

    Get a second hand analog depth meter for a few dollars and a simple diving watch from your "Wallmart-alike" and you will be ok :)
    an exemple:
    Diving watches
    Start also to be aware of the relationship between the time, the depth and the gas consumption and after a few dives, by looking at the time you should know how much gas left you have and vice-versa
    Don't forget a compass...useful to get back and navigate between the different "landmarks":)

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