There are certain things that every diver of any skill level should pack with them for a day of diving. A Save A Dive Kit should be pretty high up on that list. As a dive professional my kit has a whole heck of a lot more than what I’m about to list here but these are the basics. As you progress as a diver and start to get into different types of diving you’ll want to add more items. These are the basics. These are not to be left at home. These will get you through 90% of gear trouble and get you back in the water. Before you run to your local dive shop and grab all this stuff, you’ll want to make sure you have a nice compact, waterproof place to store it. So grab yourself a pelican case, put your name on it and if you really want to keep your gear nice, wrap each tool in it’s own ziplock bag. Ok….on to the list…….
1. Zip Ties – these come in handy so often on a dive boat it’s hard to count exactly how many different ways there are to use them. Most commonly we use them to keep inflators or mouth pieces secure. They can also be used to attach whistles, bolt snaps or pretty much anything that’s loose or dangly. Don’t get in the habit of using a zip ties to secure everything though. For the most part it should be done as a fix and not a permanent attachment. The best place to get these is at an electronics store. The ones for electronics have a different head on them that hold better than the ones you get at a hardware store.
2. Scuba Tool – These things are just awesome. They’ve got wrenches, hex keys, flat and phillips heads screwdrivers etc. As long as you keep it rust free these guys work great in a pinch. You can swap hoses and gauges, tighten up any nuts and bolts and it’s all right there in one. They can be a little difficult to get into tight spaces but overall they work wonders.
3. Spare O-ring kit with silicone and brass pick – No diver should ever be without these. And we’re not just talking about spare O-rings for your tank. All most every connection of your dive gear has an O-ring of some type on it. Inside your dump valve, on all your hoses, pressure gauges, dive lights, etc. You’ll want to make sure you use a brass pick on that tank ring so you don’t damage your valve and make sure you grease them up a little to keep them from cracking. If you’re a photog, you’ll want to have plenty of backups for those camera rigs.
4. Spare Mask (or at least mask strap) – I take my spare mask diving with me at all times. It sits in my drysuit pocket for the “unlikely event” that my mask or my teammates mask should break or get kicked off. It might be overkill for the average diver but you definitely want to have, at bare minimum, an extra mask strap hidden away in your kit. It’s a cheap piece that could save your dive day.
5. Spare Fin Straps (if you don’t have spring straps….which you should) – Just like the mask strap, having that piece of rubber snap on you will ruin your dive day. It’s not a bad idea to have the extra buckles for your specific fins too. Those little plastic pieces are like magnets for falling gear, dropped weights and divers with big feet. But seriously, if you’re a diver and plan to keep diving. Get yourself some spring straps. They’re worth their weight in gold.
6. Spare Mouthpiece – I keep a couple of these in my kit. A good one for me…..and a couple cheapy ones for my buddies. My favorite mouthpiece is made by Atomic. It’s nice and thick but not too long. Ask any diver and everyone has their own favorite. If you haven’t tried different mouthpieces I highly recommend that you grab a few and test them out. They even have some you can mold to your bite pattern.
7. Allen Wrench Set – Usually you can get away with just a couple of these guys but I like to have a full set. Both in imperial measurements and metric. Just like with any tool, you’ll want to put it back in the right slot as soon as you’re done using it. I can’t count how many times I’m missing that 1 allen wrench because it didn’t get put back in my kit. (best way to avoid it is to make sure no one else uses your stuff……or make sure the DM on the boat puts your stuff back right away)
8. Angle Cutters – Typically when replacing scuba parts you’re gonna have to cut through some line, a zip tie or some sort of rigging. Angle cutters make quick, easy work of those things and you don’t have to worry about cutting through other important parts like hoses and BCDs like you would trying to use your dive knife.
9. Screw Drivers – Yeah, you should be able to use the one in your Scuba Tool but there’s always some hard to reach place that the scuba tool won’t fit in to. Or you let the scuba tool rust and it won’t open. So I always keep at least one flat head and one phillips head screwdriver in my kit.
10. Wrenches – Just like the screw drivers I keep a couple extra wrenches in my gear. Having 2x 9/16ths and 2x 5/8ths open ended wrenches around allows me to swap hoses and tighten down gear with ease. Most dive gear fits these sizes and having two of each lets you pull apart two different regs or gauges with lightening speed.
So that’s it. Obviously you can go way further with your kit but these are the must haves. If you want to step it up a couple notches you can add a spare spg, cave line, spare inflator, LP hose, DIN to Yoke adapter, shrader valves and shrader valve tool and a DIN fill adapter……..and so on……and so on……and so on………
My kit is a little nuts. It’s actually a 3 in 1 kit with first aid, tools and spare parts inside a rolling pelican case. Get creative. Have fun with your kits…..one of the coolest kits I’ve seen actually had all the tools vacuum sealed in their own little baggies. Whatever you do, don’t get caught without your kit and let it keep you out of the water.