If you are like most people, you go on vacation to take a break from everyday stresses. If you are like most people who work in the dive industry, your vacation usually includes diving! There is a reason they call it “ocean therapy” and we recommend daily appointments (more if necessary).
The whole process of traveling can be stressful. For some, organizing itineraries and making plans is the most stressful part (personally, I love the planning stage). For others, safety is their main concern. Is your destination a safe place to travel? Is the airline safe? Is the area where you are staying safe? Is the Kona Dive Shops you have chosen known for their safety procedures? There are many Kona Dive Shops to choose from. Some have brick and mortar shops set up while others operate primarily online.
In light of the current Coronavirus pandemic, businesses are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of their guests and their employees. Kona Dive Shops are no exception! Most Kona Dive Shops have procedures in place to reduce the risk of any contamination to your personal gear as well as the rental gear they provide. Some Kona Dive Shops have used extra measures to provide the safest and cleanest rental gear possible to their guests. That being said, there is no better feeling than the confidence you have in knowing your gear. That is why now is the perfect time to invest in your own dive gear. It is probably something you’ve considered at some point and with the extra precautions being taken it is only natural to want your own equipment.
I think the benefits of owning a well-fitting mask are pretty obvious. If you have ever had to dive while using a mask that does not quite fit, you know how much more enjoyable it is when you can see properly without fiddling with an ill-fitting mask. Also, your own personal “nose jellyfish” are the only ones you will have to think about.
To bottle or not to bootie: that is the question. I have learned throughout the years that fins can be a sensitive subject for some divers. I have learned that some divers who prefer booties and open heel fins are put off by the idea of wearing a full foot fin. I have learned that some divers who prefer full foot fins find the addition of a bootie a hassle. Whichever way you lean, the right fins can make a huge difference on your comfort level, air consumption, and buoyancy in the water.
Have you ever put on a brand new wetsuit? You KNOW it has never been peed in (and it never should be, despite what you may have heard) and there is something very comforting in knowing you aren’t sharing any bodily fluids with a stranger. To be honest, rental wetsuits are abused. They’re stretched every which way to accommodate different body shapes and sizes. This means that they become compressed faster, develop rips and tears quicker, and fail to provide the same warmth they once did when they were fresh out of the box. Ahhhhh, I love the smell of fresh neoprene in the morning! Now, your wetsuit only touches your skin. Your regulator goes in your mouth. I think you can see where I’m going with this. Despite the obvious appeal of not sharing a mouthpiece with someone, having your own regulator has other benefits as well. Your scuba regulator is your life support equipment when you are underwater. Imagine how much more comfortable and confident you will feel when breathing underwater if you know personally how your regulator works and when it was last serviced and by whom. Have you ever seen someone get seasick underwater? Imagine if you are renting equipment from that dive center. Are you confident that the regulator with remnants of that diver’s breakfast will be thoroughly cleaned out of the mouthpiece before the next diver uses it? You can never be too good at buoyancy. If you are a newer diver or a diver that is still figuring out your buoyancy (there are more of you out there than you think), it can be challenging to really dial it in if you’re using a different BCD each time you dive. The different styles of BCDs commonly used in rental gear (back inflate, jacket) affect your buoyancy in different ways. Additionally, there are backplate and wing setups, sidemount, etc. All of the styles will affect your buoyancy in different ways. Owning your own BCD will help you feel more comfortable, improve your air consumption, and prevent your from having to mess around with your inflator too much during your dive.
If you’re concerned with price, most manufacturers offer package deals which provide a discount on each item if you buy everything at once. The different Kona Dive Shops offer different brands and styles. There are some dive shops that are known to carry Aqualung, ScubaPro, Mares, Cressi, Hollis, and other big named brands. If you don’t see what you want, most dive shops near you can special order anything from any brand they carry! When it comes down to where you should purchase your gear, it’s more about value than cost. As they say, “you get what you pay for”.
Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a new diver just starting out, the benefits of owning your own dive equipment are endless. If you are traveling to the Big Island of Hawaii and would like to go scuba diving in Kona on your next dive vacation call Kona Honu Divers and we’ll take you on some of the best scuba diving Hawaii has to offer! We welcome non-certified divers too! With all of the beautiful reef fish and shallow entry dive sites, Kona is a perfect place to try diving for the first time. We also offer free nitrox for those who carry a certification card for enriched air.