It's one of the most important bits of diving gear you can take underwater. The Scuba Diver Girls explain why.
A dive computer is one of your most essential bits of gear and can keep you safe when your dive plan changes, says Margo Sanchez, president of Scuba Diver Girls.
“I saw a hammerhead shark,” says Margo. She and her buddy Stephanie had been diving a wall in Papua New Guinea with Tufi Resort. Their plan had been to stay at around 25m (80 ft) – but then they spotted this beautiful hammerhead, which typically patrols deeper depths. “It is better to have a computer that will help you adjust on the fly.”
Sanchez did not want to pass up this amazing opportunity to get closer to this majestic animal and swam deeper. Her Suunto D6i alerted her of the depth. She kept her eye on her wrist so she could monitor how long she could stay at her new deeper depth while she filmed the great hammerhead. “Even though I wanted to continue to follow that beautiful shark, I used my Suunto to gauge when it was time to begin my ascent to shallower waters.”
“Manual gauges won’t be there to assist you with your dive profile when your dive strays from your plan, and you can really get yourself into trouble.”
Margo notes that many things can change your plan while diving, and it is better to have a computer that will help you adjust on the fly. “Three minutes can seem really long when you are just hanging out in the big blue.”
Sanchez finds that the upgrade to a computer from manual gauges has further benefits. “It’s also a timer – it counts your safety stop down for you,” she says. “Three minutes can seem really long when you are just hanging out in the big blue with not much to do. The computer tells you when it is safe to make your ascent to the surface.”
Dive computers also track your time out of the water, so you know the second that the pool is open again for a second dive. Says Sanchez: “You can figure your surface interval with dive tables, but it is much easier to push a button on your computer and see exactly when it’s time to dive again.”
She also likes her dive computer for its accuracy. “Gauges often aren’t accurate – on a number of occasions my air pressure gauge has been off by as much as 300 psi.” She likes the air integration with the computer where she can see very accurately what her psi is during a dive.
Finally, Margo notes that there are other features of her Suunto that she loves. “The ability to check the temperature when I am diving in Southern California is great. The water can get pretty cold and it is fun to see real time what the temperature is.”
Also she likes to be able to scroll through her dive profile after the dive and see air consumption throughout the profile. “It is fun to keep track of all the amazing places we have been, where we dove, and what we saw there. You don’t get that with manual gauges!”
Image: ©Larisa Steele