Dive Slates:
End the Underwater Pantomime

Ever get frustrated trying to communicate to your dive buddy underwater? Dive slates may be the answer.

I've done more than my fair share of pantomime trying to tell someone what I just saw underwater. I point, wave my arms and talk through my regulator. If I can't get my message across, I usually have to give up in frustration. Must be a sight to see.

Then they ask what I was trying to tell them - and of course half the time it is hard to remember. Had to be there at the moment.

If this sounds familiar, you may want to get a scuba dive slate.

Dive Slates


A dive slate is really a simple piece of scuba gear. Probably one of the cheapest scuba diving accessories you will buy. And it can save you alot of grief.

In it's simplest form, a diving slate is just a piece of white plastic that has a pencil attached. You are able to write on the slate underwater.

dive slates

In addition to communicating with your buddy, you can use it to write down what marine life you saw, dive profile information, camera information - just about anything you can think of.

I always have my slate in my pocket on all my dives. I don't use it on every dive, but I do use it on a good number of dives. And I am always glad I have it.

Types of Slates


There are several different types of diving slates out there - or something that is the equivalent. All are pretty simple designs - no rocket science here.

  • Typical Diving Slate
  • The typical dive slate is a piece of white plastic with a pencil attached via a piece of rubber tubing. You can store in in your BC pocket or clip it to your BC. Write on it underwater, clean it on the surface (or with fine sand in a pinch) and you're good to go again.

    Drawback - you'll have to transfer the information you want to remember during your surface interval if you run out of room on the slate.

  • Wrist Dive Slate
  • This is a piece of white plastic which wraps around your forearm and has a pencil attached. Same principles as your typical slate. Sometimes this has a few pages attached.

    wrist dive slates

    Drawback - can be a bit uncomfortable and you may not have much writing room - especially if it only has one page.

  • Erasable Magnetic Diving Slate
  • This type of slate allows you to write on the surface and easily erase it underwater by touching a button (or similar method). Good if you like to communicate underwater alot.

    erasable dive slates

    But obviously can't keep any dive details or other information you want to remember on this slate if you erase it while underwater.

    Drawback - can be a bit bulky.

  • Waterproof Paper
  • Not a slate per se, but does the same job. Typically this type of product is like a small notepad that you can write on underwater. Thus you have quite a few pages and can record alot of info. You also won't have to immediately transfer the data since you have lots of room to record information.

Best Dive Slates

Best dive slate

What do we vote as the best slates for your money?

One of the neatest slates we found was this mini slate.

It has both a magnetic erasable screen and a conventional slate on the back. It receives top ratings from users for its ease of use, size and functionality.

If you want a basic slate, you can't go wrong with this next one. We vote it as our best value dive slate.

best value dive slate

It is cheap and there is nothing wrong with that.

OK, so now you have a scuba slate and have used it to record some information. But...

How do you clean dive slates?


There are several different methods that people use. The one I use the most is plain 'ol toothpase. It works wonders and is cheap. Just use the paste kind, not the gel kind.

Another method I've seen used is rubbing alcohol. Just pour it over and not much rubbing is required.

Some divers swear by Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I've never used this but it seems like it would be a good solution.

I've also seen Soft Scrub liquid recommended as well as an eraser. I've tried an eraser but I wasn't happy with the results. Give me toothpase anyday.

If you are in a pinch, sand will also help somewhat. I have found it doesn't work as well as the above methods but if that is all that is available, go for it.

So if you are often frustrated trying to communicate underwater, you might want to give a slate a try. They are easy, cheap and can help lower your blood pressure :).

If you are looking for other scuba gear, you may want to take a look at our picks for best scuba diving equipment.



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