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While diving is considered a very safe sport, safer than golf or horseback riding, there is some risk. You might not bring the following 11 scuba tools on every dive, however, in certain conditions, it would be wise to bring them.

1. Get yourself a Nautilus Lifeline

Open oceans, cold water, rough seas and strong currents are conditions that many divers love. A diver in these circumstances surfacing far away from the dive boat is at the mercy of the dive crew to spot them. It can happen the crew is not able to see and find the buddy team or group, and a search needs to be organized, often calling all boats and the coast guard for help.

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Also read: What to do if you're left behind in open water?

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an emergency system of communications between ships. In 2009, GMDSS made some modifications including the addition of Maritime Digital Selective Calling using VHF radio and GPS capabilities. Since then waterproof and depth proof versions are available for divers.

The Nautilus Lifeline is one of these devices; it allows divers when reaching the surface to call their dive boat to let them know they are safe and on the surface ready to be picked up.

The Nautilus Lifeline has three modes: Green, orange, and red. The green mode operates as a standard VHF radio you select the channel you want to use, and you can talk to others on your let's such as the dive boat or other lifeline users.

The yellow button broadcasts on the VHF emergency channel, and the red sends an emergency message with your GPS location which can be picked up by VHF radio in the area.

2. Bring a line reel

The line reel is a required item for when you explore and penetrate sunken ship wrecks and cavern dives, however, it can be used in other situations too.

If you took a search and recovery specialty, you can see how it would be helpful when making a search pattern. One way that this can be used as a safety device is to locate your descent and ascent line in poor visibility.

As an example, let's say you are diving a wreck with no mooring line. The dive boat drops anchor about 10 meters from the wreck, however, as you start down to the wreck you can tell that the visibility will make seeing the down line from the wreck difficult.

When you reach the depth, you attach the reel line to the down line and head to the wreck. Securing the reel to the wreck gives you a reference point and a way back to the down line.

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3. Learn how to use your dive computer

Get to know your dive computer and it's many functions. Your computer will warn you and will keep you up to date regarding all need to know info during a dive.

You'll need to know how to take action to remain safe. Only reading through the computers instruction manual and testing out the features before going on a dive should be enough to get yourself acquainted with it.

4. Don't go out without a snorkel

The use of a snorkel is pushed on us in the open water course as a safety device on the surface in case of waves or long swims. However, in some situations such as wreck diving, they are a safety hazard. Whether you take one should depend on your dive profile.

5. Learn how to use a DSMB

DSMB stands for delayed surface marker buoy and is commonly called a safety sausage because it's essentially a long balloon in the shape of a sausage. The primary difference between an SMB and a DSMB is that the DSMB is designed to be filled underwater and released to the surface attached to a line.

While the deploying a DSMB is quite simple, it does have some safety concerns if not used correctly. You could become entangled in the line, and it could pull you to the surface. You should practice with a new DSMB in shallow and calm water before you will use it on more advanced dives.

Did you ever forget to bring an piece of gear on scuba trip? Download the ultimate scuba trip checklist today just like 5.000+ other divers already did and never miss a dive again.

6. Make a signaling mirror part of your standard kit

The reflection of light from a small mirror is often easier for the eye to see then a person in the water and efficient for signalling both boats and helicopters, provided you have seen them first to signal at them. It works in any daylight conditions (though less powerfully if it is cloudy), and is of course never going to run out of power. The downside is it is no good to you at night.

An easy and cheap option is to have a good old CD or DVD attached in one of the pockets of your BCD. Make sure to check it once in a while because the salt water can deteriorate the shiny layer of the CD. For our younger readers who do not know what a CD (compact disc) you might want to read more here

7. Blow your whistle

The most basic type of a signalling device you can get is a whistle. You will probably get one of these even with rented primary dive gear, and it makes sense to carry one on every dive.

A whistle can be surprisingly effective at getting the attention of people searching for you – the sound can carry as far as half a mile away. It will also work for you at any time of day, unlike a lot of visual aids that require it to either be light or dark.

The drawback to a whistle is that it probably can't be heard over a boat's motor. And it is of no use at all if you are trying to signal a rescue helicopter that is looking for you. A more powerful audible surface signalling device is an air horn. These are made for divers to create loud bursts of sound with the air in their tank above or underwater.

The sound can be heard up to a mile away though it is still of no use when you are dealing with a helicopter. The other downside is that if you have no air in your tank, you can't use it. If you have an air horn, still carry a whistle as a backup for this very reason!

Also read: How not to abuse your underwater signaling device

8. Learn how to use a reef hook

A reef hook is a device designed to hold you in place in a current. Many sites allow them, but some do not as improper use will quickly damage a delicate coral reef. In an emergency where you are being swept away in a current, a reef hook can hold you in place and keep you from being dragged across reefs and away from your dive site.

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Use a reef hook with care and common sense

Also read: 5 reasons why you should use a reef hook in strong currents

9. Bring a pair of trauma shears

Trauma shears might be even more efficient than knives as you can easily use a pair with one hand whenever you need to, even if you have to cut a line. Using these shears instead of knives also reduces the risk of injury to others and yourself, and you'll also have to deal with fewer potential legal problems when traveling with them.

10. Make proper use or a Jonline

If you've never heard of a Jonline, it's a carabiner or hook that's attached to roughly 6 feet of webbing. Attach the jonline to the shot line during a safety stop in which you're surrounded by other divers so that everyone can stay in the safety zone. After attaching the jonline, you'll be able to move out of the way without having to worry about getting swept away by the current.

11. Use common sense

Before you head into the water, during your diving expedition, and after you exit the water, the most vital piece of gear you'll use is your common sense. Always respect your own limits, remember all that you were taught while taking diving courses, and, quite frankly, avoid doing anything stupid.

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Did you ever forget to bring an piece of gear on scuba trip? Download the ultimate scuba trip checklist today just like 5.000+ other divers already did and never miss a dive again.

Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.

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