Whether you’re a new or seasoned diver, you’ll sometimes find the need to write something down underwater. For new scuba divers, you may want to take note of the marine life you’ve encountered or dive information for your logbook. Some underwater photographers need to remember camera settings for specific photos that were taken. It might even be important for diving instructors to list down student evaluations while underwater. Whatever your need, underwater writing devices are highly beneficial for scuba divers.
But how is it even possible to write underwater? In case you’ve never heard of or seen underwater writing devices, we’ll enumerate some of the most frequently used ones. We’ll also
recommend actual products that you may want to have with you on your next scuba diving expedition.
Different Underwater Writing Devices
Now that you have an idea why you should include an underwater writing slate in your diving equipment, learn more about the different underwater writing devices to help you choose the right one for you.
Standard Underwater Slates
One of the most commonly used underwater writing devices is the standard underwater slate. It’s a white slate that’s blank on both sides and is attached to a plastic hook clip. The Innovative Junior Pro Slate with SS Carabiner, however, is attached to a steel carabiner that allows you to clip it onto your BCD for easy reach.
The Standard Slate comes in a variety of sizes and comes with both a pencil clip and a pencil tether made of latex tubing to prevent you from losing the pencil. There are also luminous glow-in-the-dark variants that glow brightly after shining your dive light on it for a couple of seconds, allowing you to conveniently write on it during night dives.
Underwater slates are quite cheap and are reusable, as you can erase the slate with an ordinary pencil eraser. If you prefer not to waste elbow grease, a clean magic eraser like the Aqua Dive-Slate Cleaner works easier.
Scuba notebooks or notepads look just like regular notebooks, except they contain waterproof and tear-resistant yet erasable writing paper. There are usually 15-30 sheets of this special paper attached to a spiral-spine book, and the sheets can be torn off if necessary.
This traditional type of underwater writing device comes in a variety of sizes. Many divers find that wet notes are so much easier to carry than big bulky slates, plus they fit in the pockets of your BCD with ease—just like the 14x22cm Dive Rite wRite Notebook.
Most waterproof notebooks come with special plastic underwater pencils that are already attached to them with a bungee-like cord, so you don’t have to worry about losing your pencil or having to buy a separate pencil.
Multi-Page Wrist Slate
This unique underwater writing device combines an underwater notebook and the standard slate to produce multiple stiff, yet thin, slate pages. Even better is that the slates are curved so the whole thing can be worn on the diver’s wrist using an elastic velcro strap.
By having the writing device on your arm, you can easily access it and write on it with just one free hand. The Multi-Page Wrist Slate is very ideal for navigation dives and for communicating with your dive buddy. Its compact and unique design also ensures that it will be easy to carry and won’t get in the way of your diving operations.
Magnetic slates use special patented technology which allows the diver to write on a plastic surface using a special magnetized pen that causes tiny magnetic particles inside the slate to form the writing. And yes, just like those magnetic writing slates for kids, this one can be easily “cleaned” with a slide eraser.
Because the magnetized “grains” form very visible markings, magnetic slates write better and are considerably easier to read. However, they’re not the best choice if you have a lot to write down. The Quest Slate with Holster, for example, is great for writing short messages for your dive buddy or students, but there are also large notebook size slates (as well as smaller, wrist-mounted types).
AquaSketch Minno Wrist Slate
The AquaSketch Minno Wrist Slate is really its own kind of underwater writing device. It features tiny vellum scrolls inside, which can be rolled with a knob to provide an unlimited amount of writing surface. An ordinary graphite pencil can be used to write and erasing is possible as well.
As if the obvious advancement wasn’t enough, the AquaSketch’s surface is phosphorescent, which means it can illuminate notes during night dives. The vellum scroll can be purchased and refilled at a variety of different lengths.
Finally, one of its biggest advantages is that the scrolls can be scanned into a computer after the dive for documentation and future reference. If you have the budget for it, you should really check out the upgraded variant, the AquaSketch Minno II Wrist Slate.