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To ensure your maximum safety overseas, U.S. Dive Travel recommends that all scuba diving clients bring their own dive gear -- except tanks & weights. of course. All reputable dive shops worldwide will provide you with reliable tanks, weights & weight belts as part of their daily dive package. When scuba diving in foreign locations, it is much safer to use diving gear that is comfortable, in excellent repair & completely familiar to you. We recommend you never rent diving gear overseas, especially regs & BCs. The potential safety hazards you face may outweigh the minimal convenience factor. Scuba diving is a gear-intensive sport & we recommend no diver, however experienced, take the repair status of his or her regulator & BC for granted.

1. MASK, FINS & SNORKLE: For all clients who have prescription lenses mounted inside their masks, we strongly recommend that you bring a spare mask. Losing or breaking your mask might end your diving vacation. This is extremely easy to prevent.

2. BUOYANCY COMPENSATOR VEST: Since we place a high priority on reef preservation, we ask that you bring a B.C. that you've used on at least 5 previous dives, so you're familiar with it & you can maintain good buoyancy control near sensitive corals. Remember, one stray fin kick can destroy a century of coral growth.

3. REGULATOR & OCTOPUS: This is the one gear item most essential to your safety. Please ask your local dive shop technician to give the first & second stages a complete check. Overhaul all worn-out or damaged components before the dive trip. If high-pressure & low-pressure hoses show any major wear, replace them -- this is crucial. Again, be sure to complete at least 5 dives with your regulator & octopus, to ensure your complete familiarity with its fit & operation in all conditions, including deep water & brisk currents.

4. DEPTH GAUGE, TANK-PRESSURE GAUGE, UNDERWATER TIMER & COMPASS: At many dive destinations, your divemasters will be working strictly by conservative no-decompression tables, to ensure the highest standard of safety for all clients. However, because new dive computers are extremely accurate, you may use one in place of a traditional submersible console. If you haven't had your console instruments or computer checked within the last year, please have your dive shop technician make a thorough safety inspection before the dive tour. We also ask that you log at least 5 dives with these instruments before the tour, so you're fully attuned to all of their functions.

5. WETSUIT: For all moderate tropical climates such as Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean & the South Pacific, bring a full-length medium-weight wetsuit, preferably the back-zipped jumpsuit style. Ocean temperatures in these regions seldom vary from a range of 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, most clients will feel more comfortable, will be protected from cuts or scrapes, & will enjoy longer bottom times, when they wear an exposure suit of about 3 mm in thickness. Hoods are not necessary in the tropics. Neoprene gloves & boots with strong semi-rigid soles are recommended for protection against accidental brushes with coral, urchins or other spiny marine organisms.

6. UNDERWATER LIGHT & BACKUP LIGHT: Essential gear for night diving. Both lights must be completely waterproof down to 130 feet. Inspect the O-rings & replace them if worn. Bring new batteries -- plus a set of spare batteries & bulbs -- for each lantern. A standard "gun-grip" light with a weight-belt lanyard is an excellent choice. The backup need only be a small flashlight-style unit that clips to the weight belt.

7. DIVING KNIFE: Bring a small-bladed rustproof stainless-steel sheath knife, with both regular & serrated edges, a flat prying point & a curved inset for slicing nylon lines. The knife -- which is a tool & not a weapon -- should strap to the mid-calf.

8. DIVE LOGBOOK: Self-explanatory. You might want to bring an underwater slate, too.

9. THE TROPICAL TEN ESSENTIALS: Passport; driver's license; money belt; security pouch; traveler's checks in Polynesia (you get much better exchange rates!), but cash ($5 to $50 bills) works best in the Caribbean & the Americas; dark sunglasses with neck cord; wide-brimmed sunhat; lots of #29-40 waterproof sunscreen; insect repellent; iodine-based water purification tablets (Potable Aqua is excellent, if you're not allergic).

10. FIRST-AID & HEALTH KIT: Bring a plastic bottle of hydrogen peroxide & a box of Q-tips to disinfect even minor cuts & scrapes in the tropics, since staph infections are common. Also bring ointments for athletes foot & jock itch, & anti-fungal powder. Consider a prescription for an extended course of antibiotics to combat staph infections (use only if you contract a major infection, NOT as a preventative!). Your kit also should include band-aids, antibiotic cream, several sterile gauze bandages, an ace bandage, tweezers, small scissors, thermometer, sterile cotton balls, a good water filter such as a Katadyne, multi-vitamin pills, over-the-counter pain reliever such as acetominephan or ibuprofin, anti-diarrhea medicine & jellyfish sting lotion. Before using any medicines, prescription or not, we ask that you please consult your doctor about any possible health effects that you, because of your unique biochemistry, may experience while scuba diving.

11. OCTOPUS KEEPER: This small plastic clip attaches your backup second-stage to the middle of your B.C., & prevents it from dragging across the bottom or snagging on reefs.

12. TWO MEDIUM-SIZED PADLOCKS: For your dive bag in transit, & for a hotel or guest-house storeroom overseas. Carry one set of keys on your ring. Bring one spare set.

13. TRAVEL SUNDRIES: Don't forget small but essential items such as toothpaste & toothbrush, film, a few books for killing time, deodorant, chapstick, shampoo, cotton underwear, swimsuit, shorts, T-shirts, writing tablets, gum, dry snacks, shaving cream & disposable razors. These little items can be very expensive overseas. Pack everything to survive rough baggage handling. In the South Pacific, small gifts such as Tupperware, pens, gum, candy & tinned meats are appreciated & relished by native islanders.


© Copyright U.S. Dive Travel.
E-mail: divetrip@bitstream.net

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