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Yes, another equip buying question thread..

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by jd950, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. jd950

    jd950 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    I am new to this...real new. I don't have a burning desire to buy stuff I don't need and will be lucky to make two diving trips of a week or 10 days per year, but all my diving will be in warm water outside the U.S. So each trip will be an expensive flight, with hotels, restaurant meals, and so on. It's not like I'm going to rent stuff on Friday afternoon to dive Saturday and return the gear on Sunday. I will be doing my open water cert in Mexico in a few weeks.

    I already have mask, snorkel and fins and because I am hard to fit I purchased a wetsusit. In confined water dives I have already encountered a BC that had a slow leak into it from the low pressure hose, making buoyancy kind of challenging. I have seen gauges that are so scratched they are hard to read, another BC with a tank strap so worn it was hard to properly secure the tank, hoses that leak at the 2d stage, etc. As I said, I am hard to fit, so the BCs have either been too long or overly tight, but tolerable, at least in a pool.

    Am I just using a crappy shop for instruction? Can I expect better rental equipment than this? Is the really crappy stuff just reserved for certification classes or can I expect these problems when I rent stuff in Mexico, Bonaire, Roatan, etc? Someone on this site even claimed that his dive buddy got a rental reg clogged with vomit from some prior user! That just doesn't sound like a lot of fun.

    I am tempted to buy a BC now to avoid fit problems with rental stuff, then get a computer or reg several months from now. I suppose if I had to, I could also manage either or both the reg and computer now, but it would be difficult. I would think the computer would be the easiest item to rent and take with me.

    I don't want to fly to some remote destination and have to put up with lousy gear for a week, and I am not sure it makes sense to rent stuff here and carry it there and back, plus I don't know if U.S. gear is going to be any better.

    What is the daily cost to rent the stuff, say in Cozumel or Bonaire, that I might otherwise buy...a bc, weight belt and computer?

    I'd appreciate suggestions. Thanks for the help!
  2. Kray_Z

    Kray_Z Manta Ray

    for the most part this just sounds like some old equipment from a shop that doesnt make enough to want to buy new stuff... if you feel it is unsafe... then dont rent from there/buy your own stuff... my personal opinion is to buy regs before you buy a bc. couple of reasons why: one, that vomit in the reg gave me chills :D, two because you know how it is maintained and what condition it is in. truthfully,, unless your diving doubles and stage bottles, you dont need a bc to survive if it were to fail... cant say the same for the regs... that and they are a lot more of a "personal" item. renting bc's are no big deal... just surface if there is a major failure... yeah you might have to actually use your fins to move vertically :D but no real threat... so yeah... go for the regs first... buy good quality stuff that can easily be serviced in your area. dont know about prices for rental in coz/bonaire. maybe someone else can chime in :D

  3. mjatkins

    mjatkins Master Instructor

    I can tell you that the shop on Cozumel where I have worked charges $5 US per piece per day. In my opinion, well maintained rental gear from your local shop is probably a better option than renting from the dive shop at your destination. When it's rental gear you have brought with you, you get used to it and it's the same every day. If you get gear from the shop at your destination, you will probably need to return it after your use each day, and the one they give you the next day may not be the same item and in the same shape. If you go on an unusually busy week (spring break etc.) the dive shop at your destination may not even have enough of the size/piece you want, to accomodate you and all the rest of the clients.

    I am a big believer in owning your own, and would put the regs and computer at the top of my list, but if full ownership is not an option at this point, the fewest surprises the better. Enjoy your trip.

  4. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    A couple of observations related to your questions:

    Most Caribbean dive locations (at least the ones I've been to) include weights in the cost of tank rentals. Might want to buy your own weight belt though, it's relatively inexpensive, easy to pack and I've seen some slip when the buckles get worn out.

    Or buy a weight-integrated BCD. Most of them take either hard weights or shot bags so you can leave your weights home. And with the 50' weight limit being adopted on more international flights, I'm finding it hard not to.

    I was on a boat in Cayman a couple years ago. The diver opposite me had what looked like a very new, well maintained Oceanic BCD. When I asked how he liked it, he said I don't know, it's a rental.

    Another example: Capt. Don's on Bonaire rents ScubaPro gear. A quote from their website:
    Reg, BC, Computer through them would be $33/day. But I think there's a weekly discount. Other places on Bonaire are similar.

    Personally I own everything. I have since being certified. But I did wait till I was before buying anything - never know what can happen, how often you'll really be able to get away etc.

    I bought my BC first for the comfort factor - both fit and familiarity - then my reg. They didn't sell computers when I was certified so I didn't buy one until about 5 years ago. Now I might buy the computer first, it's the one thing I'd like to be able to read up on/practice with first. Although most dive operations will rent/loan you one if you dive with them. And they help you interpret the results. I even dove on a boat once that attached their computer to my hose even though I had mine on my wrist.

  5. halocline

    halocline Solo Diver

    If you search this forum, you'll get a torrent of advice...so much that it might be really difficult to figure out what to do.

    Personally, I think you made a good choice by getting your wetsuit first; fit is everything and it's almost impossible to get a great fitting wetsuit as a rental. Plus, a good wetsuit that fits and is appropriate for the environment you're diving in will have the biggest impact on your diving comfort of any piece of equipment.

    Rental equipment varies quite a bit from place to place; for example some place in Cozumel have great rental gear and others have terrible; it's probably hit or miss. With that in mind, the more gear you own, the better. There's nothing at all wrong with buying used gear from the right source or with the help of someone who knows the gear. Sometimes the LDs where you get certified will sell off some of their rental gear; it can be a good deal or a lousy one depending.

    You don;t need to spend a lot to get a perfectly acceptable reg; all the major manufacturers make good entry level regs that work just fine for rec diving; don't listen to the BS about "spend as much as you can afford, your life is worth it..." the safest regs are the simplest "bulletproof" designs that have been around for decades.

    As far as the BC goes, it's best to try out different styles, as they really do act differently in the water. a good option would be to find an inexpensive used BC to get you through a year or so of diving until your buoyancy skills are such that you can evaluate what will work best for you. Many divers buy a BC when they start only to repeat the process after several dives because they learn they want something different, like a BP/wing set up or a back inflate.

    The computer is a really good thing to have as a new diver; I think it does add a measure of safety because it helps you monitor your ascent rates more accurately; runaway ascents are probably much more likely to get you into trouble as a new diver than staying down too long. This is only true if you're using a standard size (AL80) tank and sticking to recreational depths, and observing good surface intervals. The point is, buy a computer if you want, but since all computers have ascent rate indicators and alarms, you don't need the higher priced air-integrated or tech-oriented computers. (Many tech divers don't use computers anyway)

    Godd luck and have fun!
  6. Stu S.

    Stu S. Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Florida
    This is the voice of experience. All the bad regulators left the market years ago. There's too many lawyers out there for a company to make a risky regulator. Another line of BS is "buy a regulator that you can grow with". If your immediate plans are below 200 ft., spend for it. I suppose the expensive stuff is a status symbol or maybe a sense of security to many buyers.
  7. fisherdvm

    fisherdvm Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499

    Unless you are the 50% of the population who walks into a diveshop, and find an exact fit suit, I totally agree with the wetsuit. I am in the other 50% who is not standard in size and shape.

    I am a very hard to find fit for wetsuit. If I rely on rental suit, it will be too big and sloshy, to tight and small, or none at all.

    If you wear a suit that is tight on either the abdomen or chest, you will not utilize your lung capacity to the fullest. This will make it hard for you to control your bouyancy without using your BC and make you use more air.

    Get a well fitting wet suit. Try on 5 before you buy, or get a hyperstretch.
  8. UKdivemaster

    UKdivemaster Angel Fish

    personally i tend to go with the up-close & personal aprroach with buying kit
    flippers & mask
    regs or computer (depends a bit where you live)
  9. haha49

    haha49 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: British Columbia
    personaly it depends on were you go some place with boats include rental in their price.. others dont ive seen some really bad looking gear when i was diveing with the crusie linner made me feel glad i had all my own gear..

    get fins (open heel) boots bcd reg dont have to have a computer but it makes it easyer and most place have it included in the package.. i wasnt going to get a dive computer when i bought my gear but it was cheaper with it included so why not :eyebrow:

    id get the reg first you dont need a dive computer as you dont dive much why not just use the tables and a bottom timmer then your owen personal gear and a bcd if your hard to fit then you wont have any problems you wont be worried about how the gear works ect..

    you also got to consider is your life worth the risk.. thats the way i looked at it and i just bought me gear less problems that way and i tend to make things last a very long time
  10. Colliam7

    Colliam7 Tech Instructor Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Kents Store, VA
    Fully agree, and I would put a reg near the top of my list, if i were buying gear for infrequent, but remote, use. Sounds like you now have an exposure suit that fits properly (GOOD for you!). For warm water, modest depth diving, the major manufacturers all made quality entry-level regs, so brand is important in terms of what you can have easily serviced locally, AND while traveling. Resort diving areas expect to deal with service issues with most major brands. I would therefore avoid lesser known brands, even if very inexpensive.

    In a separate thread describing gear divers most regretted buying, jackets BCs (instead of back-inflates), and BCs (instead of BP/W rigs) were mentioned with some frequency. The idea of an inexpensive used BC as a 'starter' is a good one.

    As a newer diver, going on a couple of warm water trips each year, I might not buy a computer early on. I bought mine AFTER my reg, and then AFTER my BC - but, that's just me. I agree with mattboy as well. Going back to gear divers most often say they regret buying, I would discourage air-only, and console-mounted. Many folks end up with nitrox-capable and wrist-mounted computers.

    Is there any chance that having your own gear will encourage you to dive more frequently?

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