Scuba Certification: Essential Items for Your First Day in the Water

Scuba C-CardsEach diving program specifies what a student needs to bring to their course. Some programs (normally resort courses) require students to bring nothing but pen, paper and an open mind. Some agencies require a student to purchase or rent everything from them.

If you have any question as to what you need to bring, check with your instructor well ahead of your first day in the water. Although you can rent nearly everything required, some essential items cannot be rented and others are just smart to purchase. Having these items will help you get through the course a little smoother.

These are five items every student should consider for their first day in the water;

Waterproof sunscreen. You will spend more time on the surface than you will underwater. Bring a high quality, waterproof sunscreen. I have suffered on many occasions for not having it in my dive kit.
Sun Bum PRO SPF 30+ Premium Endurance Sunscreen 1.5 OZBullfrog Marathon Mist Sunscreen, 6 fl oz (177 ml) SPF 50

Mask Defogger. This is what I consider essential. It is not a lot of fun when you cannot see the instructor. Being able to see well through your mask is a must. You can use spit, a soap concentrate or commercial product. I have made the progression and now use…
JAWS SEEsafe Antifog And Cleaner With Cloth 2.ozMcNett Sea Drops Anti-Fog & Lens Cleaner, 1-14 fl oz (37 ml)

Your Own Mask and Snorkel. Your mask should fit right. This is one piece of gear you do not want to get wrong. Buy the best. A bad, ill-fitting mask can make for a miserable diving experience. I have had the best luck with frameless Cressi and Mares masks.  Your snorkel should be one that drains when vertical. 
Cressi Frameless Mask PinkCressi Sigma Snorkel
Well Fitted Fins. The right fins fit. This is another area you do not want to go cheap on. Good fins will last and pay for themselves over time. Bad fins will tear your feet up and make your time in the water painful.

Cressi Pro Light Fins Black Medium/LargeTusa Solla Fins

Boots or booties. Before I committed to using a set of booties and then dive boots, I would take it for granted that a day of diving would leave me with blistered heels and ankles(see Well Fitted Fins). At a minimum I would recommend getting a pair of inexpensive booties. In a scenario when you have bad blisters, be sure to bandage them up properly. A pair of snug fitting synthetic socks can also help you get through the day.  
SEASOFT Stealth 6 mm Boot X-Small Size 7VINCERE Grip Socks Soft Soled Booties

Dive Log. Get a basic and inexpensive dive log before your class begins. Your dives during your certification course do count. Its a good idea to get in the habit of logging ALL you dives starting with #1. If there is one thing I hear time and again from experienced divers it’s that they wished they had done a better job logging their dives.

Blue Reef Waterproof Log BookPADI Divers Log, Red (70048)

Once again, if you have any question as to what you need to for your first day, check with your instructor and come prepared.

Good Diving!

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