10 Benefits Of Using A Dive Computer
Cast your mind back to you Open Water Course. The hardest part of the course (apart from taking your mask off) was probably getting your head around the dive tables.
Have you actually used the dive tables since your diving course? Probably not, as most people pay for guided dives and rely on the Divemaster to control their depth and time. However, as you get more experienced in scuba diving you may want the freedom to dive independently especially if you are diving on a liveaboard. Dive computers then become an essential part of your dive equipment.
Here are 10 benefits of using a dive computer.
1. Forget the maths!
Planning a dive on the dive tables especially a multilevel dive involves working out your dive profile, recording the profile on a slate and monitoring your plan underwater using your depth gauge and dive watch. Whereas using a dive computer is easy. All you need to do is remember to put it on your wrist and correctly interpret what it is telling you. If like me you have forgotten to put it on your wrist, you can get a computer mounted on your regulators to eliminate this problem 🙂
The computer tracks your surface interval and adjusts your no-decompression limit for repetitive dives. However computer brands differ, so a bit of manual reading is required to understand what the computer is telling you.
2. Eliminate dive profile mistakes
Cast your mind back to learning to dive and the question that said you should be in pressure group R but you keep coming up with pressure group P because the table is so tiny and your finger slipped.
Dive computers eliminate human error, working out pressure groups and carrying forward theoretical nitrogen loads for repetitive dives. So when the dive computer beeps at you or flashes a warning, take notice of it as it is correct.
3. Enjoy longer dives
Even with the introduction of the electronic tables for computing multi-level dives, there is still a limit on the number of levels you can plan and this device calculates your theoretical nitrogen loading based on you spending exact times at certain depths.
We don’t dive like that! So dive computers track your profile accurately, minute by minute, giving you more time underwater than a dive planned using a table. It also gives you credit for ascending to a shallower depth. Eliminating the rounding built into the tables give more time to enjoy the underwater world.
4. Stop and enjoy the nature
The biggest pleasure in diving is the interaction with the marine life. You pay for dives hoping you will encounter a whale shark, dugong, manta ray etc. If you are lucky enough to encounter these creatures and they hang around, you don’t want to miss out on a few incredible minutes just because your calculated dive plan says you have to up now.
We are lucky enough to have a manta cleaning station here in Bali and run frequent dive trips to Nusa Penida to see them.
Diving using a computer offers the flexibility of altering your plan on the fly, within reason. Remember, it does not give you any extra air and always follow the warnings.
5. Safe ascents and stops
Dive ascents should not be faster than 18m/minute or not faster than your slowest bubbles. Looking at a depth gauge and dive watch while you make the ascent to the safety stop doesn’t really give you much chance to take in the last few minutes of your dive.
With a dive computer you can set audible alarms that warn you if you are ascending too quickly. It will also count down your safety stop while displaying your depth on the same screen.
6. You can hear audible warnings
Computers can be set so that they will audibly alert you at a given depth or a given dive time, if you have run out of no-decompression time or if you are ascending too quickly. These alarms can also be heard by your dive buddy, making it a safer dive.
7. No more paper log books
Many computers allow you to download your dive to your PC where you can scrutinize it and create a dive log. This digital version enables you to add photos and notes and can replace your tatty water-stained paper version.
8. You can use other gases
Have you ever felt really tired after a 3 dive day? Especially on dive liveaboards where you are doing multiple dives on consequtive days, nitrox is becoming very popular. Nitrox increases your no-decompresion time due to the increased percentage of oxygen and because you are absorbing less nitrogen, most people feel they are less tired after using Nitrox.
There are specific tables designed for using Nitrox, but with most diving computers all you have to do is set the oxygen percentage (after you have analyzed your scuba tank of course!) and it does the rest for you.
9. You can integrate your air pressure
Using a transducer some computers allow you to integrate your air pressure with you computer. So looking at your computer you will see not only your depth, NDL and time, bur the amount of air you have left too. All on one screen!
10. They are a great ice breaker
Some dive computers are small enough to wear as a watch. However fellow scuba addicts will recognize them as a dive computer. A great way to strike up a conversation about your passion.
Diving Indo have dive computers buy and hire in our shop next time you scuba dive in Bali