If you plan on hunting lobster, fish, or plan on collecting artifacts in areas that allow that, a collection bag is important. Collection bags come in all sizes and shapes and are usually made of a nylon mesh material. They roll up easily and depending on their size can be stowed easily in a pocket. Larger collection bags can be rolled up and clipped to a D-ring on your BC’s waist belt.
Cost: $10 to $50
Dive compasses are usually needle direct compasses. The compass has a magnetic needle that points north and a bezel that can be rotated around the needle. The bezel is marked from 0 to 360 degrees in a clockwise direction. Compasses also have a lubber line, which is a line on the face of the compass that is used to make sure that the compass is pointed in the same direction that you are going.
Compasses come in all sizes, but the smaller compasses are usually very difficult to use underwater. A larger, high-quality compass is easy to see and works well underwater. Some compasses have a window on the side that allows you to read the heading you are going and a leveling bubble within the liquid-filled casing that helps you make sure the compass is level.
Compasses are used in two basic ways: to determine the direction you are going and to follow a predetermined heading toward a certain destination.
Cost: $30 to $100
A dive flag is used to let people know divers are in the area. It is required by federal and local law and makes diving much safer. When diving from a boat, shore, or drift diving, flying a dive flag is a warning to others to stay clear of the area. You should know that many boaters don’t know the meaning of a dive flag and may not stay clear of your area. Always be aware of your surroundings and what is taking place in your area.
There are two different dive flags, the recreational dive flag required by U.S. state laws and the international Alpha flag. The recreational dive flag is red with a white diagonal stripe and is the most recognized flag in the U.S. The Alpha flag is required by the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGs). The Alpha flag is white and blue.
Cost: $5 to $25
Lift bags can be used for a multiple of things, such as underwater lifting and salvage, marking device while at depth, additional surface flotation, or as a signaling device. For example, when drift diving, lift bags can be used to indicate your position underwater to the boat crew while drifting along. Or, when deep diving or wreck diving, they can be used to indicate your position if you were unable to maintain contact with the deco line or anchor line and you were drifting in the open ocean and could not surface because of decompression obligations.
Lift bags come in many sizes. Technical divers or for light salvage operations common sizes range from 50 to 200 pounds.
Lift bags are typically designed as open or closed devices, meaning they are inflated underwater by using your second stage regulator and dumping air into the open end of the bag or for closed devices that have an inlet valve, can be filled with an inflator hose.
Cost: $75 to $200
Line arrows are triangular, plastic devices that are used to indicate the direction of the exit. They attach to the guideline and point to the exit. Typically, it is recommended that you carry at least three line arrows on every overhead environment dive. When cave diving, many of the caves have permanent lines and already have lines arrows. Sometimes, distances are marked on the arrows. Also line arrows are used to indicate a jump location. This is done with two line arrows in a row on the main line indicating where to tie off a jump line. When placing line arrows on a line, mark sure that you always orient them showing the direction out.
Cost: $1 to $2 each
“See Me” marker safety tube
The “See Me” safety tube is designed for use as a surface signaling device that alerts divers or boaters where you are. “See Me” tubes are brightly colored inflatable tubes. The “See Me” tube can be orally inflated on the surface. When not in use, it rolls up to fit inside a pocket or clipped to your BC. The “See Me” tube is required by many dive operators and can be purchased at any dive shop or online inexpensively.
Cost: $15 to $25
Dive slates are special underwater notepads that you can write on. Dive slates can be very useful for recording information, communicating underwater, and keeping notes about your dive. Once you surface, the information can be transferred to a notebook or computer and then the slate can be erased for the next dive. Slates should be carried in a pocket on your exposure suit or on your BC so that they don’t dangle, cause drag, or get entangled.
Cost: $10 to $25
Storage pockets on your dry suit, wetsuit, or harness can be used to store a compass, slate, dive tables, tools, etc. When attaching a pocket, make to position the pocket so that it creates the least amount of drag when swimming. This is generally on your upper thigh for a dry suit or wetsuit pocket or under your shoulder if you have one on your harness. Storage pockets come in all shapes and sizes and should have a D-ring or sewn in cord that can be used to clip objects to.
Cost: $10 to $40
Jon lines are used to easily clip and lock into an anchor line or down line so as to maintain a certain depth for decompression or safety stops while still maintaining contact with the line. The line easily unlocks from the line when changing stop depths. It also allows multiple divers to stay at the same depth on the line, and helps to keep you form being pulled up and down when the boat is pitching and rolling in rough seas.
Cost: $15 to $25