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SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) diving equipment has
come a long way since Jacques Cousteau invented the aqualung in
1943. Today's divers have a wide variety of scuba equipment that is
designed to make their time underwater fun, safe, and educational.
The first scuba diving equipment was developed in 1943 when French naval engineer and diver Jacques Cousteau developed the first automatic underwater breathing device with French engineer Emile Gagnan. During the last 60 years, scuba equipment has become more efficient and comfortable to wear, so that today a wide range of scuba diving gear is available for various diving conditions ranging from the Great Lakes to the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Basic scuba equipment includes a face mask, a pair of fins, a snorkel, a weight belt, and a buoyancy compensator device (BCD) as well as an exposure suit, a compressed air cylinder with valve and regulator, and several submersible instruments. Face masks help divers to see more clearly underwater, fins help divers swim through the water efficiently, and snorkels enable divers to breathe comfortably with their faces below the water surface. Weight belts help divers compensate for the buoyancy of their bodies and equipment, while BCDs enable divers to adjust their buoyancy as they dive to different water depths. Exposure suits, in the form of diving wetsuits or drysuits, help protect divers from the elements. Compressed air scuba cylinders, with their valves and regulators, enable divers to breathe underwater.
All scuba divers need instruments to track their current depth, their bottom time (time spent under water), the current air pressure in their air cylinder(s), and the maximum depth they have reached during their dive. Submersible pressure gauges, depth gauges, and dive watches are all used to provide this information. Other accessories, such as diving compasses, underwater lights, knives, tools, and spare parts, may be appropriate for certain situations.
Young Woman, Wearing a Full Wetsuit, Prepares to Scuba Dive
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