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Save on quality dive gear by shopping with a discount retailer. Discount dive shops purchase large volumes of inventory for less and pass the savings along to customers. Even if there is a traditional dive shop nearby, be sure to check for deals online as well. You might find a cheaper price and maybe even free shipping.
Scuba tanks or diving cylinders carry high-pressure breathing gas for scuba diving. They hold about 80 cubic feet of air. Take care when handling and using dive tanks. Complete your dive gear package with a compact spare air system. These mini scuba sets are easier to use than an octopus.
Scuba stands for self-contained breathing apparatus. It is the method for breathing underwater with a dive tank full of air. Modern divers can thank oceanographer Jacques Yves Cousteau for inventing the aqualung in 1943.
He is the grandfather of scuba diving and is responsible for bringing the wonders of the ocean and diving into the living rooms of Americans in the 1960s with his TV show, "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau."
Many advances have been made in scuba diving in the decades since. While scuba diving used to appeal to young men with a strong sense of adventure, today it attracts a diverse following -- men and women of all ages; teenagers; and entire families. PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors, reports that 1 million new scuba divers are certified every year.
If you are taking a dive class, expect your instructors to bring the scuba air tanks. They are hard to transport and among the more expensive pieces of equipment, costing between $100 and $200 each.
After you earn your C-card, you will want to invest in diving gear beyond the mask, snorkel and flippers. A good place to start is the buoyancy compensator and regulator, vital pieces of equipment that will function better if you own and maintain them yourself.
Once you become a regular diver, you may want to skip the hassle of renting used scuba tanks at diving shops and get your own. In the meantime, make sure the dive company you rent from keeps and maintains accurate records of its equipment.
Here is a checklist of tips for caring for your scuba tank that seem obvious, but could have disastrous results if ignored:
Dive tanks often are the last piece of equipment that dive instructors and dive shops recommend for purchase. They are costly to buy but easy and cheap to rent.
Divers who go out more than twice a month generally invest in their own tanks. But all tanks are not the same. Consider the tank's size, volume, material, valve and weight characteristics.
Standard aluminum 80s have a working pressure of 3000 psi, pounds per square inch. A capacity of 80 cubic square feet should be enough for most sport diving. If you want more air for longer or deeper dives, you will have to go with larger or twin tanks.
When purchasing an aluminum scuba tank, be aware that the pretty paint on it might not last. Some theories hold that paint may encourage corrosion of your tanks.
Yellow is a popular choice for tanks, but it seems to chip and flake with repeated dips in saltwater. Some divers don't mind the chipped paint. It is like a badge of the rugged outdoor experience of diving..
In the long run, divers may be better off with brushed aluminum coatings, which are "shot blast" or textured to a dull gray color. No paint is used.
Filling a scuba tank completely is not that simple, and divers should make sure they give ample time to the staff at a dive shop to do the job right. It's not a bad idea to drop off your scuba air tanks the day before a dive and pick them up in the morning as you head out.
Here are some other tips for making sure you do not get short air fills:
Aluminum or steel? Most recreational divers use the cheaper aluminum scuba tank. These are the tanks that dive shops sell and rent to recreational divers. They are easy to maintain, though they may dent more easily than steel.
Steel scuba tanks are more expensive and more rugged. Steel tanks can last for many years -- some say as long as the life of the diver. But steel tanks eventually rust and require a lot of care. Steel tanks, which are negatively buoyant, are most often worn by technical divers.
Divers want a scuba tank that is lightweight but has the capacity they need for air. Check out this list of tank capacities and how they fit divers' needs: