Being a beginner in the diving world can feel a bit daunting. There is a lot of technical gear to get familiar with, and a lot of buzzwords to learn. To make sure you arrive prepared, we’ve compiled these cheap scuba diving accessories for beginners for your first trips into the blue.
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We’re not talking about expensive gear because you simply don’t need it when you are starting out, and it’s an unnecessary cost if you don’t plan on using it regularly. Having said that, after diving in five countries and taking our advanced qualifications, we still use all of the same stuff I recommend below. So it might last you a good while too!
Our first diving experience was a ‘discover scuba’ session on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Everything was organised for us and we were diving from a huge boat with changing areas and a shop, so we didn’t need to worry about taking anything with us other than a towel and some cash.
But the experience is a bit different when you go on your first course to learn to become an open water diver. You will probably head out on smaller boats to do multiple dives in a day, and there isn’t quite as much hand-holding as there is for a discovery course.
We quickly learned that there were a few things we needed with us each day to ensure we enjoyed the dive and made the most of our time. These aren’t just diving accessories, they are also ways of recording memories and keeping yourself safe.
Our recommended scuba diving accessories for beginners
Large travel towel
You will need a towel when you’ve finished your dive to get dry and keep yourself warm. It’s probably the most essential scuba diving accessory. But picking the right towel is going to be very important.
When you are diving from a boat, or at a location without anywhere to change, having a large towel will be very useful for wrapping around yourself and not exposing anything you don’t want to while you wriggle out of your swimsuit and into your clothes.
A travel towel is perfect because they are not bulky, they dry quickly and they come in really decent sizes. This is the exact towel we use. Remember to wash it a few times after you’ve bought it and before you go out and use it for real, or it will be like trying to dry yourself with a plastic bag.
Scuba diving, as you can imagine, involves a lot of water. Sometimes you will be able to store your things in a safe location at the dive shop, but if you’re heading to a different location or if you’re spending a day on the boat, this is a must-have diving accessory to keep your things safe.
As you can imagine, when everyone gets back into the boat in their scuba gear it gets pretty wet. Keeping your towel, log book, electronics, snacks and drink in a dry bag will ensure that everything stays just the way you want it – dry.
A good dry bag also has clips that can be secured to the boat, which is really important if it’s a small boat, because waves can knock things over the edge in the blink of an eye. We were diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and we saw a woman lose her underwater camera by putting it on the side of the boat while she put her fins on. Waves came over the steps and knocked it straight in the water – never to be seen again!
Staying hydrated while diving is an absolute must. Diving is physical exercise, even though you feel like you’re drifting a lot of the time. And you spend a bunch of your day in salty water. Taking a large water bottle with you on every dive will become second nature.
As a diver, you will also learn about the effects of plastic on marine life, so having a reusable metal water bottle is one way to do your bit for the environment while cutting down on costs by drinking tap water (although you may need to sterilise or boil it beforehand depending on where you’re diving).
Log book and pens
We would recommend that you purchase a lovely new log book and pen that you can take out with you on your dives. Having them with you on a boat means that you can record all of the amazing things you just saw, straight after the moment. This way, you won’t forget a single thing!
This is really helpful if you are doing two or more dives on one day, because it helps you remember the different dive sites. Log books are a necessity to show that you have experience diving (they get stamped by the dive centres after each dive as proof), but there is no reason that your log book can’t be awesome. Put yourself into it, and it will be a diving memento you can cherish forever.
Headband (if you have long hair or a fringe)
Having to clear your mask over and over again underwater is super annoying. Sometimes this happens because your hair gets underneath the seal and lets water in. I french-braid my hair to try to keep that to a minimum, but wearing a buff (or similar) as a headband stops it from happening altogether.
This is a perfect diving accessory for beginners because it maximises your time spotting beautiful marine life, and allows you to focus on more important things like breathing and buoyancy.
GoPro case (and GoPro!)
I wouldn’t recommend bringing this on your first ever dive – in fact your instructor probably won’t let you if you are doing a course – but even on your first couple of fun dives you should be focusing more on your buoyancy and enjoying what you’re doing.
We use a GoPro Hero Session (the older one) and we use this exact case. It’s what we took on our dives in Malta and we went down to 22 metres without any issue. It will fit any of the GoPro sessions if you have a different model.
What else to take with you on your dives
Now you’ve got all of the essential diving accessories for beginners, here are some other things to pack in your dry bag if you’re heading out for a day of diving:
- Snacks/lunch (if not provided)
- Sun glasses
- Swimming costume or shorts (although you really should be wearing these under your clothes!)
- Depending on the length of the day and the size of the boat, you could take underwear to get changed into after your last dive
What you don’t need to buy as a beginner
Equipment that you can hire through most dive shops:
- Dive computer
- Fins and booties
- Small writing board
- Metal pointer/tapper
- Buoyancy control device (BCD)
Looking for somewhere to dive?
Australia and Asia
We did our first scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef and instantly booked our PADI open water course at Bali Reef Divers in Amed, Bali. It was an excellent place to learn with incredible marine life and beautiful wrecks.
We then took our SSI advanced adventurer course in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. Again, another great location for beginner divers as the water is calm and clear and there is plenty for you to see. This is where we encountered black tip sharks.
Moalboal in The Philippines provided great conditions for beginner divers and we swam with an incredible school of sardines. There’s nothing quite like swimming below millions of fish with the sunlight streaming through.
Malta is a fantastic location for beginner divers and we would recommend Watercolour Dive School in Sliema to book your dive with. The water is crystal clear and there are some fantastic things to see in shallower locations.
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