Scuba Diving Accessories:

Which Are Optional? Which Are Essential?

There are a ton of scuba diving accessories out there. Do you need them all, all the time?

I would say definitely not.

Have you ever gone on a dive boat and seen a diver that can barely move since they have every dive accessory known to man on them?

scuba diving cartoon

And this is for a nice calm dive in the warm waters of the Caribbean.

We're not talking wreck diving, tech diving, cave diving or other diving where you need extra gear.

There is such a thing as overdoing it. So think of the type of diving you are doing and what type of situations you might find yourself in.

What dive accessories would you need to ensure you have a safe dive? That answer is a great place to start your list.

Below, I'll go over the main scuba diving accessories that are available. Which ones you take on your next dive is of course a personal decision. Just make sure you have a nice, safe dive.

Scuba Diving Accessories

Scuba diving accessory - a dive watch
  • Dive Watches
  • A dive watch is one of those dive accessories that works both on and off the dive boat. It's always nice when a piece of dive equipment can do double duty.

    If you are diving off the tables and do not have a dive computer, you need a dive watch. You will need to keep track of your dive time, your safety stop and your surface interval. Three very important pieces of information you need to know in order to have a safe dive.

    If you have a dive computer, a dive watch is not as essential since your computer will keep track of the above info. But it is still good to have a watch as a backup.

    Even though we both have dive computers, my husband and I still wear dive watches. It's your choice.

    You can read our complete guide to dive watches here.

  • Dive Computer
  • A dive computer is a great scuba diving accessory to have. It will be your best friend underwater.

    Do you absolutely need one? Absolutely not.

    You can dive off the tables as we were all taught when we got our scuba diving certification.

    But a dive computer will give you more time underwater. While you do not need one, I highly recommend you buy one. I can pretty much guarantee you won't regret it.

    For more info, check out our guide to scuba diving computers here.

  • Dive Light
  • For a typical daytime dive in the Caribbean, a dive light is obviously not an absolute necessity. However, you may want to bring one with you anyway.

scuba diving accessory - a dive light

    If you are going through tunnels, looking under ledges, diving a wreck, etc. a dive light is a great tool to have.

    I always have a small one in my pocket ready to take out before we do any swimthrus. I'll also take it out if we are diving a reef with lots of ledges so I can peek under and into all the nooks and crannies of the reef. You'll be surprised at all the things you can find.

    Now obviously if you are doing a night dive, a cave dive, etc. a dive light becomes a necessity. One of those scuba accessories that is a must have.

  • Dive Knives
  • No, these scuba diving accessories are not to fight off the sharks or some other underwater creature. It's purpose is to help you free yourself if you are ever caught in line or something else while diving.

    Unless you are in a marine park (and sometimes even then), good diving spots can be good fishing spots. So the presence of fishing line is not uncommon and you'll want that knife to free yourself if you ever get entangled.

    While we were diving in Florida, my husband was carrying the reel that had the diver down flag attached to it. A boat came through with fishing line out and the fishing line caught the line my husband was holding. Next thing I knew he was being yanked up quickly by the boat. Luckily he had a knife and was able to cut the fishing line before he was pulled all the way to the surface. You never know when you'll need it.

    I usually have a small knife that I carry when I am using my own gear. It's sheath is fixed to the inside of my BC pocket so I can never forget it.

    Now is it really necessary to have if all you are doing are guided dives in the Caribbean? No. It's up to you.

    For more info, you can read our page on choosing dive knives here.

  • Safety Sausages
  • A safety sausage is usually a long, colorful tube that you inflate either with your regulator or by breathing in it. It serves as a marker so that the boat can see you in case you get separated from your group. A longer safety sausage is better so the boat can see you even if you are in swells.

    I think it is always a good idea to carry a sausage. Especially if we are doing drift diving, I will always have a safety sausage with me. While it may not always seem necessary if you are doing a nice calm guided dive in the Caribbean, you'll be glad you have it if you ever need it.

    For more info, you can read our page on safety sausages here.

  • Gear Bags
  • Well, now that you have all this dive gear, you need something to lug it around.

    There are many types and styles of dive bags to choose from. You can get a generic bag or use one made specifically for dive equipment.

    There are the bags made to handle everything and the kitchen sink or smaller bags made to handle one piece of gear such as your regulator.

    Read our take on dive bags here.

  • Tank Banger
  • If you are not familiar with these scuba diving accessories, it's basically a hard piece of plastic on a bungee type cord.

    You position it on the bottom of your tank so you can reach around and grab it. All you do is yank it away from the tank and let go. It makes a nice loud noise that your dive buddy (and probably the whole dive group) will hear so you can get his attention.

Scuba diving accessory - a tank banger

    I have a tank banger and like it. While I try not to use it too much, I will use a tank banger to get my husband's attention if I want to show him something. And I feel safer knowing I will be able to get his attention quickly in case of an emergency.

    Some people hate these things and think they are unnecessary at best. Everyone has their own opinion and you can make your own decision.

    Personally, I love having one. It's cheap, small and easy to pack. I won't be leaving home without one.

    Is it a necessity? No. But it's one of those scuba diving accessories that's good to have in my opinion.

  • Log Book
  • You record all your dives in a log book. You can put as much or as little detail in it as you like. Is it a necessity? It could be.

    You will sometimes see dive shops that want to take a look at your log book so they can see how experienced you are and when you did your last dive. Some shops will require you to do a check out dive if a certain amount of time has passed since your last dive (usually 6 months). A dive log book proves when your last dive was done.

    That being said, this is more the exception rather than the rule. In 15 years of diving, I have only had to show my log book a handful of times. But I was certainly glad I had it when I needed it or there was no diving for me.

    It's not hard to keep and it serves as a nice reminder of all those great dives. So why not keep one?

  • Compass
  • A compass is always good to have, especially if you are diving without a guide. You'll be able to (or should be able to anyway) find your way back to the boat without having to surface.

    When we go diving in the Caribbean, we are usually with a divemaster so I don't find it to be essential in that instance. But if you are on your own, I would definitely carry one of these.

Scuba diving accessory - a dive slate

  • Dive Slates
  • This is usually a small white rectangle slate that you can write on underwater. Is it one of those must have scuba diving accessories?

    No - but I love mine.

    If you ever tried to tell someone what you saw or communicate something else underwater, you know how frustrating it is if they don't understand. Just pull out your handy little slate and write it down.

    I always carry a small one in my pocket. It has saved me from alot of pantomime. For more info, check out our page on dive slates.

    And if your the DIY kind, this is one of those scuba diving accessories that is easy to make. If you want to make your own, check our page on DIY Dive Slate.

  • Scuba Compressor
  • OK, this may not be your typical dive "accessory" but it would be great to have wouldn't it? Imagine being able to fill your own tanks and going diving any time you want. No figuring out when the dive shop opens, etc. It would be heaven.

    There are some smaller models accessible to the individual but they are still not cheap (think in the thousands). But some lucky individuals do have their own compressor. The ultimate in luxury, in my opinion, would be to have one on your boat. Now we're talking.

    If you are thinking about a compressor, you can read our introduction to compressors here.

There are lots more scuba diving accessories out there, but these are pretty much the main ones. If you bring some of these scuba diving accessories with you on your next dive, it should help make it a safer dive.

Have a great, safe dive with whatever scuba diving accessories you choose to use.

Need some information on your main dive equipment? Check out our free scuba gear guides including our picks for best dive gear.

 Want to stay down longer and improve your buoyancy control and other diving skills? Our free report "Increase Your Bottom Time" along with our practical, weekly actionable tips will have you looking like a seasoned diver in no time. So come join us and see improvement on your very next dive!
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