When you’re first starting out in scuba diving, you’ve got a lot of questions. Is this really for me? What equipment do I need? Where can I get certification? How long will certification take?
To answer a few of those questions, we’ve done a bit of research and pulled together the information for you. We’re also taking a closer look at a specific wetsuit, to see whether or not it’s worth investing in. The Hollis Neo Tek wetsuit has a lot of rave reviews from real life divers, but why? We’ll find out below.
What Exactly is Scuba Diving?
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which the diver uses a breathing apparatus that’s independent of a surface supply. This allows the diver to breathe underwater. Divers carry their own source of breathing gas, which is usually compressed air, which allows them to stay underwater for a much more significant amount of time than something like a snorkel.
With scuba gear, divers can go much deeper than other divers, and may stay under the water for a much longer time than those without an air supply. Scuba divers can move about freely, instead of being tied to a particular location – such as a boat with an air supply.
Open circuit scuba systems discharge the breathing gas out into the water as it’s exhaled by the diver. The system itself consists of at least one diving cylinder that contains said breathing gas at high pressure. That breathing gas is supplied to the diver through a regulator.
Some scuba systems are closed circuit, or semi-closed circuit, and are rebreathers, meaning that the exhaled air is recycled by the system. Rebreathers extend the amount of time that a diver can be underwater.
These systems are often more attractive for that reason, as well as that they are smaller, make fewer bubbles, and are less noisy than open circuit scuba systems. Less noise and fewer bubbles make it easier for divers to approach marine animals and avoid disturbing them otherwise.
A minimum level of fitness and health is required for low-level, or basic skills scuba diving, and scuba diving is not generally recommended for anyone who has breathing issues such as asthma.
Safety Tips for Scuba Diving
Before you head out to scuba dive, be sure to keep these safety tips and protocols in mind. They are imperative to having a good dive and may save your life.
If you were to come upon an issue, equipment malfunction, or encounter a dangerous marine animal, being alone could very well be the end of your life. This safety precaution cannot be stressed enough. Diving alone is never a good idea, period.
You need to plan your dive thoroughly. Where you will go, who you will go with, when you go, et cetera. Then, when you get into the water, you need to stick to your plan. This can prevent a number of dangerous situations, such as getting lost or running out of breathing gas.
This fitness isn’t just the general basic “healthy and reasonably fit” sort of thing. You also need to be well enough to dive. If you’re overly tired, have a cold, any difficulty breathing, or any other ailment – you should plan to dive another day. Any of these symptoms may cause safety issues while out on or below the water.
Before taking off for your dive, as well as immediately before getting into the water, it’s necessary to check your equipment. Make sure everything works properly, tubes and hoses are unclogged, and the tanks are full of breathing gas.
Drinking alcohol, taking recreational drugs, or even prescription drugs that make your groggy or less lucid, can cause serious issues out on the water. Always dive sober and clear-headed.
If you take prescription drugs of any kind, speak with your doctor to find out if it’s safe to dive while using the specific medications you need.
Before planning your trip, it’s important to research the area where you’ll be diving. Knowing the basic features of the topography, the types of marine life you may encounter, and any sunken objects, like ship wreckage, can help to keep you safe while you dive.
Knowing all of these things can also help you prepare for more fun as well, as you can purposefully go looking for specific marine animals you’d like to witness in the wild, or visit wreckage that may be of interest.
Chances are, if you’re reading through these safety tips, you’re not a long-established, pro-level diver. And that means you should be going out with groups and organizations that are certified. This will help ensure your safety out on the water.
Much like looking regularly at your gas gauge in the car, your air gauge needs to be watched. Running out of gas can be dangerous, but – running out of air can be life threatening.
If you tend to be absent minded, set an alarm on your dive watch at regular intervals, to remind you to check your gauge.
Coral reefs are full of delicate wildlife that could become ill and even die if they are disturbed by human touch. There are also a number of animals that have hidden defenses that may cause illness, or even death. For example, the cute blue ringed octopus in Australia. It’s small, it’s brightly colored, and it’s kind of adorable. It’s also exceedingly deadly. Never touch any marine life in the ocean, for any reason. You don’t know what you may be interacting with, or how it will affect you or the creature.
Finally, don’t overtax your body. If you’re feeling like you’re getting tired, ill, or any other symptom linked with weakness, you should follow proper safety procedures to end your dive.
There are a number of other critical diving safety informational tips. Be sure to listen to your instruction, get proper certification, and follow the training in all areas to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Equipment Needed for Scuba Diving
One of the most important things for safe diving is having the proper scuba gear set up. Here’s a critical list of gear that can make or break your experiences in the water.
The mask is one of the absolutely most critical pieces of equipment for diving of any kind. A high-quality scuba diving mask that fits properly will make all the difference between enjoying your dives, and being miserable.
Be sure to take your time choosing the mask you’ll purchase. You can rent one, but owning your own will guarantee the quality and fit required for the best experience possible.
Owning your own fins is also an important key to happy diving. This ensures you have the right size and fit every time you go out on the water.
Fins come in a variety of lengths and flexibility levels, so before you purchase, you may want to rent some pairs to test them out on simple dives or snorkeling trips to best learn your style preferences.
Buoyancy compensators are critical for stabilization while you dive. They tend to be bulky, heavy items, and so a lot of divers rent this particular piece of equipment rather than purchasing and transporting their own to dive sites.
Another important piece of diving equipment is the snorkel. This piece is a safety item, used for easier breathing at surface level of the water. The snorkel enables you to avoid lifting your head out of the water, which allows you to conserve energy if you are in a situation where you’re having difficulty of any kind.
A snorkel can also help a boat or rescue team locate a diver in the water.
Dive computers are not absolutely necessary, after all, in the old days, divers didn’t have them. But dive computers make calculations significantly easier than doing them in your head. On these devices, you can calculate no-decompression limits, and reduce your risk of decompression sickness, et cetera.
You may wish to use a dive watch instead of a dive computer. These little devices have water resistance up to 300 meters, and allows the diver to also calculate a number of things in relation to diving safety.
Of course, regulators are mandatory for scuba diving. They tend to be very expensive, and do not need to be custom-fit items, so most divers rent them rather than purchase their own. Regulators are reliable, and dive centers tend to have a large supply on hand.
If you do choose to purchase your own, be sure to do a lot of research, read reviews, and ask questions of professionals. If you purchase the right one, and properly care for it, your regulator should last your entire diving career.
Unless you travel on your own to a dive site, you won’t need to own your own dive weights. Generally, divers use the ones on the boats they dive with, or the ones provided by rentals, as a part of the price for the dive.
If you dive at small local sites, however, like beaches, lakes, and quarries, you’ll need to purchase your own.
Also, like the weights, tanks are usually included in the price of a dive if you’re going with a dive boat or dive shop. These are the cylinders that hold the breathing gas, and they tend to be bulky and awkward. They’re also potentially difficult to get refilled properly, which is another reason most people rent the tanks from dive shops, rather than purchasing their own.
Finally, the wet suit is critical for most diving situations. They need to fit properly to work correctly, which means form fitting to the body, and snug to the skin. Wet suits are designed to keep the body warm, and prevent the diver from becoming ill from being in the water for extended periods of time.
A Hollis Neo Tek Wetsuit Review
The Hollis Neo Tek wetsuit has tons of features that make it a bargain, but the quality of make is what really sells it.
- Double hip pockets
- Warm hood
- Double glued seams
- Blind stitch construction covered by liquid seam
- 8/7/6 millimeter mix of compression resistance
- Super stretch neoprene constructions
- “Lavaskin” inner liner for warmth
- G-lock horizontal zipper with internal bib
- Ankle, neck, and wrist internal dams
Our Verdict: Get the Hollis Neo Tek Wetsuit
Based on the reviews, the quality of make, and the features available on this awesome wetsuit from Hollis, we can’t do anything but recommend you get it for your dives. This suit should last a long time, keep you warm in challenging water climates, and keep you semi-dry, as described.
Nearly every review we saw praised this suit as the best suit the divers have ever known. To find the cons, we had to dig through a ton of reviews to even know what they might be.
Based on the manufacturer’s reputation, the obviously high-quality materials, excellent craftsmanship, and all of the praise for this suit that seems to fit perfectly, has perfect placement of pockets on the legs, and is extremely warm, this really is one of the best wetsuits you could possibly find available today.
Overall, we rate this with a 4.7 out of 5 stars, and declare the Hollis Neo Tek wetsuit as, “Highly recommended.”