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7 reasons why dive computers matter

by Jorge Mezcua on Feb 03, 2023

You will not read here about how important it is to know how to read decompression tables or how little often recreational divers use them. There is no doubt that every year less divers carry that tables with them but we should not worry about that. But, there are some other things we've seen that we worry about. On two of the last dive trips we have participated in we have seen divers who either did not bring a dive computer and rented it (arriving at a dive destination hoping that someone would rent us a dive computer that we do not know about and which we do not have the user's manual seems dangerous to us) and we have even seen people about to do 18 dives in a week without their own dive computer nor renting it, relying on the dive buddy's computer, or worse, on divemasters dive computer. True story.

For those who want to get into diving or doesn't realize how important is the dive computer, we give you 7 reasons that explain why not bring a dive computer is a reckless. But first let's answer a simple question that you maybe you have never asked before.

What is a dive computer for?

The dive computer is an electronic device that the divers carry with them that works thanks to algorithms. These algorithms compare their decompression models with the data obtained during the dive (time, depth, air mixture, previous dives and even water temperature) to calculate the level of nitrogen saturation in the tissues. According to these data, the computer calculates and displays the time remaining underwater as well as the time and depth of the safety or decompression stops that must be made. The ultimate goal of a dive computer is that the diver does not suffer any decompression sickness during or after dives.

The dive computer, as works with information and data (mainly depths and time) of the underwater activities of the diver can only provide reliable information of the diver who wears that computer. And the more information the computer has from previous dives and the more dives he has made with that device, the more reliable the data will be.

So, knowing what a dive computer, how it works and what is the purpose of the it, let's see what are the reasons why it is INDISPENSABLE to get one and dive with it always.





Safer diving

The dive computer avoids human errors, mistakes and wrong calculations made with the decompression tables. As we have commented, it captures the data of the dive and analyzes it to help you avoid decompression illness, showing you alerts that help you to avoid diving accidents. In addition, having your own dive computer you don't need to rely on somebody else that we do not know if knows how to use his computer.

Ascent control

Many times, we are so thrilled with what we see underwater that we does not realize our speed of ascent or there can be certain circumstances that will take us to the surface faster than we should. Believing in the motto "do not ascent faster than the smallest bubble" is very reliable but I assure you that more is a dive computer. Pay attention to the beep of your dive computer that tells you that the ascent should be more controlled.

controlled ascent

Controlling the speed of ascent is vital for safe diving. Image from

Never deeper than you should

As in the case of ascent, we may have problems while descending. If we go further than we should (something that can happen easily if we dive on a wall, for example) we can suffer narcosis or oxygen poisoning with very serious consequences. The computer calculates the maximum depth of descend considering your air mix and partial pressure, warning you if you reach the limit.

More time under water...

...than if you planned the dive with decompression tables. With tables, we use the maximum depth time as if all the dive will take place at the same depth, without taking into consideration ascents and descents that, although they were minimum, are important in the time of the dive and the safety stops. This means that decompression tables are more conservative and that the dive would be shorter if that same dive is planned with a dive computer. Thanks to its depth gauge gets each descent and ascent exactly as it is, recalculating bottom times and possible stops. Ultimately, the dive computer works to maintain you safely diving for as long as the air allows you.

Increasingly affordable

The price of diving computers is being reduced considerably as their functionality increases. Although there are certainly some very expensive models, everything you need for recreational diving you will find in cheap dive computers for less than 200 $

Accurate dive log

Diving computers are also used as dive logs, providing you exact data of your dives such as depth, dive time, temperature, if there was any steep ascent... Almost every computer can store tens or hundreds of dives and can be connected with computers, mobiles and tablets via USB or Bluetooth to download the complete information and profile of the dive. Even if you are using manual logs in your logbook, the dive computer will allow you to know and use certain very useful data.

Essential in diving trips

If you are planning to do dive trips around the world you should keep in mind that more and more liveaboards require each diver to bring to the safari their own dive computer, especially if there are going to be advanced or deep dives. It is true that you can rent a diving computer in some boats but it is better not to take a surprise on a dive trip or a dive in which you cannot take part for not having a computer. Always carry one with you, your own.

Finally, you have to keep in mind that dive computers are not magical. Although they are device of great reliability, even the most expensive ones, they are not infallible. Remember that the only thing they measure is data related to the dive, do not know how much you weight, your level of stress or hydration, how many hours you have slept, your age or physical condition, relevant factors in decompression diseases. Study, learn to use the decompression tables and understand their importance. Get yourself a good dive computer and learn how to use it. There is no reason not to have one. Your life may depend on it.

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