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Equipment

If you take up scuba diving seriously, over time you will want to buy your own kit. All our recommendations have been tried and tested over the years by our members and we do not receive any commissions. Although many of the items are expensive you will get many years service from them so it is worth buying the best you can afford.

It is best if you purchase your kit from a specialist shop so that you can get advice on the best equipment for you needs. The following local suppliers are recommended:

 Northern Diver
 01257 254444  http://www.ndiver.com
 Aqualogistics  0161 480 5745  http://www.aqualogistics.co.uk

Mask

A mask is probably the first piece of kit you will buy, not least because of the hygiene issues (divers are a snotty bunch!).

MDG do not recommend a particular brand of mask. The most important thing is that the mask fits you properly and is comfortable to wear. Masks can be fitted with prescription lenses.

Buy a well known brand such as Scubapro, Cressi, Tusa or Mares. Prices start from around £25.

Fins

That's fins not flippers please! There are many different shapes and sizes but, as with masks, we do not recommend a particular brand.

Ensure that your fins have straps that are easy to undo and buy a well known brand such as Scubapro, Cressi, Tusa or Mares. Prices start from around £30.

Dry Suit

If you are going to dive in UK waters, you need a dry suit. As the name suggests this keeps you completely dry and therefore warm. There are essentially two types: membrane or neoprene.

Neoprene suits are made from synthetic rubber which contains millions of tiny air bubbles and come in a variety of thicknesses and densities. If torn or puncutured neoprene suits are relatively cheap and easy to repair.

Membrane suits are made of thin materials such as vulcanised rubber and offer little thermal protection in themselves, requiring an undersuit to be worn. They are comfortable to wear for long periods and offer less restriced movement than neoprene suits.

Neoprene suits start from around £300; membrane suits are usually more expensive with prices from around £400. A dry suit will typically last you for over 10 years and many are available second hand for considerably less.

Most club memebers wear Northern Diver suits although Otter are also popular.

Stab Jacket

Sometimes called a BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) or BC (Buoyancy Compensator), a stability jacket is a sleeveless, inflatable over jacket that enables you to control your depth under water.

MDG buy and recommend the Buddy range from AP Valves with prices from around £250.

Regulator

A regulator consists of two stages. The first stage connects to your cylinder and reduces the high pressure in the cylinder to an intermediate pressure of around 10 bar. The demand valve is a mouthpiece that contains the second stage which transforms the intermediate pressure air to the ambient (surrounding) pressure so that you can breathe easily. Often a regulator incorporates a spare demand valve called an octopus which connects to the same first stage and enables you to share air with your buddy in an emergency situation.

From a safety perspective, a regulator is the most important piece of dive kit and it is essential that you buy one which is high quality and you look after it by getting it serviced regularly.

MDG buy and recommend the XTX range from Apeks. Prices start from around £200.

Computer

Dives must be planned and although you can work out everything using tables and a pen and paper, in practice you need a dive computer.

Most members use Suunto Gekko or Viper computers with prices from around £100.