2. Figure out what you DON’T need to carry
It’s easy to get carried away when thinking of all the things that you *might* need. Some would argue that they need to carry a complete set of back-up gear and a full tech bench worth of tools with them wherever they go.
The problem is this: carrying more things usually means that it’s more difficult to find what you need when you need it. While it might be practical to carry a minivan full of spares for a Saturday at the local dive quarry, it’s not practical to do this when diving off a private 21′ boat with three other divers. Spend some time thinking about ways to prevent a problem from occurring, rather that just agreeing to carry another extra item in the box.
For example, a spare rubber fin strap is one of the most commonly recommended items for a save-a-dive kit. I’ve had a strap break on me 10 miles from shore before: it can be a very real problem, and cost you a trip (unless you’re prepared to dive “No Fins November” style)!
I don’t carry a spare fin strap in my tool box. Shocking, I know.
Instead, I stopped using rubber fin straps completely. I’ve used spring straps for several years now, and have found them to be much more comfortable and infinitely more durable than the plastic buckle / rubber straps combo sold with most fins. Because the chance of a spring strap breaking is incredibly low, there’s no need for me to carry any extras. For more info on fin straps, check out The Best Thing You Can do For Your Fins.
3. Organize your save-a-dive box
A lot of divers will come up with a great list of items for their emergency tool box, then make the mistake of tossing everything in to a single compartment tube or box. This poses two problems:
- It can be incredibly difficult to find what you’re looking for. My save-a-dive box is usually opened up on the deck of a rocking boat, or sitting on the sandy ground as I’m looking for something before a beach dive. You’ve got a good chance of loosing small parts when digging through a pile like that.
- You’re more likely to try the dive with a small leak instead of fixing it, due to the hassle of digging through your box. Although it should go without saying, the best idea is to fix the problem at the first sign of impending failure rather than trying to get “just one more dive” out of it. Foregoing a simple repair when you have the parts and tools on hand is asking for catastrophic failure at depth.
Take a little bit of time and come up with a way to keep your tool box tidy. You’ll be much more likely to use it!
I carry a small kit with me on all dive trips in a waterproof box and it’s helped me solve tons of minor problems that would have otherwise kept someone (or me) out of the water. I frequently get questions and comments about my save-a-dive kit – here’s what I carry on every dive trip: