While SCUBA diving carries some inherent risk, it can be made exponentially safer by properly preparing for your dives. The SCUBA safety accessories described below are just five out of a large array of safety accessories you may want for your dives. Keep them in a BC pocket or attached to a D-ring so that they are available when you need them. However, although various accessories can certainly come in handy on a dive, be sure to keep your profile as streamlined as possible to conserve air and keep from dragging your gear through the substrate or reef!
A knife or a pair of EMT shears will help you free yourself from anything that you may become entangled in, from marine plants to abandoned fishing line. It might even help you ward off an underwater attacker!
A compact battery powered light is a preferred SCUBA safety accessory for many divers, even if the dive isn’t expected to be particularly dark. You never know when your visibility might become compromised, and you can easily find one that will fit in a BCD pocket for such a situation. Most lights are very well-sealed and can depth rated to as much as 350 feet, with features such as a locking switch that prevents accidental activation. If you are going on a night dive or to a dive site where light will be necessary, a backup light (or two) is never a bad choice!
Spare air is one of the most important SCUBA safety accessories. If your tank runs out of air and your diving buddy isn’t nearby, spare air will allow you to make a safe ascent to the surface. These canisters can be purchased in a variety of bottle sizes, commonly known as pony bottles. You can also buy a ready-made kit by the company Spare Air that will include everything you need to fill, use, and secure the kit to yourself on every dive.
A surface marker buoy, often called an SMB, is a very smart SCUBA safety accessory to tuck into a BCD pocket on every dive. Should you ever become separated from your group, buddy, or the dive boat, deploying a surface marker buoy will greatly increase your chances of being spotted on the surface. Some divers also carry a signal mirror to even further increase their visibility in open water. An SMB can be inflated manually or with your inflator hose, depending on the model. It rolls down very tight and can easily fit in your pocket or latch onto a D-ring for easy access.
Many divers will not go diving without their trusty audible signaling device, which can range from a handheld rattle to a device that connects to your inflator hose for audible signaling both below and on the surface. While some divers detest them when they fall into the hands of a diver that over-uses an audible signaling device, their compact size and efficient operation make them one of the most useful SCUBA safety accessories.