Diving Report: Dive Computers

By: Kerry Freeland / Dive Pros

Once upon a time, men ventured forth into the sea in pairs. Between them they might have one submersible wrist watch and one wrist mounted capillary depth gauge. Armed with the most minimal of equipment, a sturdy knife, a two stage regulator, a cylinder of air equipped with a reserve valve and the skills and confidence born of solid training and superb waterman ship abilities.

Among the many skills divers need to master is the ability to monitor and calculate their safe dive time and accurate intervals between dives. In the past this involved a timing device a depth gauge and a set of mathematical calculations known as “Dive Tables” that are based on complicated Algorithms and variables. Divers monitor their mechanical instruments and use the “Dive Tables” to maneuver through a series of simple math formulas. “Simple Math Formulas”. Now there is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Not to worry. Modern technology has rescued us once again from a time consuming tedium and removed the specter of human error from the complex adding and subtracting. Behold the modern Dive Computer.

With over 30 years of success behind them the Dive Computer can hardly be considered a “new” innovation. Today’s sophisticated devices are the direct result of years of development and refinement by some of the finest designers and engineers in the world. Dive Computers have quickly become the “MUST HAVE” item in every SCUBA enthusiasts gear bag.

With enough information, screens, chimes, lights and switches to arouse an F22 pilot some dive computers seemingly do it all. It is paramount however that divers remember at all times that a Dive Computer, like all their gear, is a tool; a tool that only a skilled and informed diver should rely on and entrust their lives too.

Not everyone needs a dive computer that does everything but zip up their booties. In fact most recreational divers never use a fraction of the functions their dive computers are capable of. It seems as though every year companies bring more and more power to smaller and smaller dive computers. Picking your way through the maze can be a huge challenge and a costly error if a poor selection is made. There is even the temptation to make your selection based on price and internet availability. Caveat Emptor, (Buyer beware!). You are purchasing a crucial component of your SCUBA life support system. Do you really wanna rely on someone you will never meet, never be able to hold accountable and who quite likely isn’t even an authorized dealer? As in all things “Life Support” related it is best to seek the guidance of an informed professional and see and feel what you are buying. Go over the features and the benefits that you will use and make your purchase as an informed consumer from a dealer you can count on to service you for years after the sale.

Dive Computers are kind of like a box of chocolates Forest. You never know what’s inside but if you poke around enough and take a bite out of a few your probably gonna find one you like. However since the Dive Computer can be the single greatest financial investment a diver makes it is an excellent idea to have a professional guide on your search for subaquatic computational perfection. Ask questions. Do the research. Buy from a reputable local Dive Center. The right Dive Computer can give you piece of mind and allow you to really enjoy your dives with the confidence that your bottom time is being monitored and maximized for your safety and convenience.

For more information, contact Dive Pros at #850-456-8845