Scuba and Snorkeling Regulators
Without a scuba diving regulator, you can't scuba dive. The regulator is responsible for keeping you supplied with safe, breathable air underwater.
What Does a scuba Regulator Do?
A scuba regulator is an essential piece of scuba diving equipment. It reduces the pressure of the air in your tank so that you can safely breathe it.
- The first stage of a scuba regulator attaches to the pressurised air tank. Air from the scuba tank flows into the first stage and is allowed to pass through a valve into the second chamber. When the second chamber reaches intermediate pressure, the valve shuts.
- The second stage connects to the mask and reduces the air pressure further to match the surrounding water pressure, making it easy for the diver to breathe. It is also responsible for releasing air only when you are actually breathing in, in order to reduce waste. Breathing in air from the second stage reduces pressure inside it, which in turn allows more to flow in.
Which Features Should I Look For in a Regulator?
- Look for a regulator designed for your diving conditions. Scuba diving equipment designed for shallow leisure dives may not be built for deeper dives or diving in colder water.
- Make sure that your regulator is compatible with the mix of gases that you plan to use. Not all scuba regulators will work if you want to breathe enriched air nitrox.
- First and second regulator stages may be balanced or unbalanced. Unbalanced regulators may have their pressure affected by changes in tank or ambient pressure, so breathing gets slightly more difficult as the tank empties. Balanced regulators deliver constant pressure at all times.
- A backup demand valve, known by scuba divers as an octopus, is a very useful piece of equipment to have. It allows you to share your tank with your dive buddy in an emergency. The octopus usually has a swivel mount and a long hose so that you aren't forced into uncomfortable positions.
- There are two main ways in which regulators attach to your air tank: yokes and DIN connectors. Not all tanks accept both connector types. Yokes are more common but DINs attach to the tank more firmly.
Which Other Equipment Do I Need to Go Scuba Diving or Snorkeling?
- A diving mask is designed to cover the eyes and nose and keep water out. Most diving masks make equally good scuba or snorkel masks. You can often find snorkel sets made up of a diving mask and a snorkel.
- Scuba and snorkeling fins are essential for getting around underwater, turning your slow flutter kick into rapid forward motion.
- A snorkeling watch or scuba dive computer will let you track your time underwater. Scuba dive computers can also calculate safe ascents and monitor your air tank pressure.