Dive Equipment. Rent or buy

Dive Equipment. Rent or buyIf you are coming to Thailand for a dive holiday you may be wondering if it’s better to bring your own gear or rent it here. There are several considerations with no clear cut best answer.

May be you haven’t bought your own gear yet and are considering buying. This will depend on how often you dive and where you dive. If you are a regular diver in your home country, or have plans to be, it will be financially beneficial to own your own gear, even when you factor in the cost of servicing. But even if you have your own dive gear you still have to decide whether to travel with it or not. Some airlines, especially the budget carriers, charge extra for scuba gear. You also have to consider if you want to carry a big dive bag around on your holiday when you are not diving, or where you can leave it while you go on, for example, a jungle trek.

Thailand equipment rental prices

The typical cost of renting a set of diving equipment (BCD, Regulator, Mask, Snorkel, Fins, Wetsuit) is cheap in Thailand. Prices range from 500 – 800 baht per set per day so on a typical 4 day 4 night Similan liveaboard equipment rental will only cost an extra 2,000 – 3,200 baht. That’s not much to save you the hassle of traveling with your own gear.

Here is an example of the breakdown of rental costs:

Mask and snorkel: 100 baht
Fins: 150 baht
Regulator: 200 baht
BCD: 200 baht
Wetsuit: 100 baht
Full set: 500 baht

Dive computer rental is usually 400-500 baht extra per day so it’s definitely worth bringing your own if you have one. More and more boats are now making it mandatory to dive with computers.

But price is not the only consideration, safety and comfort are also important.

Safety

We should never forget that dive equipment is life support equipment so you need to know that your rental gear is new and/or well serviced. A dive shop offering free dive equipment rental may not be the deal that it first appears.

From a safety point of view having your own gear is definitely better. In an emergency it helps to know where everything is quickly. If you are a buddy pair who always dive together and have own equipment you will each know how to find your buddy’s alternate air source quickly, how to release your buddy’s weights in an emergency and so on.

Comfort

You also need gear that fits. Putting on unfamiliar rental gear will not be as nice to dive in as your own equipment that you know inside out. You’ll probably spend your first dive in rental gear adjusting buoyancy and trim. If you wear different equipment each time you go diving you’ll never tune in to what it’s like to be really perfectly set up on a dive so that you are neutrally buoyant and perfectly at ease in the water.

Rental fins are nearly always the closed heel variety so if you prefer open heels with straps and booties you should invest in your own.

Rental wetsuits are 3mm shorties. If you need a long suit you will need to bring your own or buy one here (wetsuits are cheap in Thailand).

If you need a prescription mask you should bring your own. Even if you don’t need a prescription mask the benefits of diving with your own mask that you are comfortable with cannot be ignored, a leaking or fogging mask can ruin the enjoyment of a dive, waste air and be a safety risk.

Rental BCD’s do not have integrated weights and are not gender specific. They also tend to be lacking D rings and decent pockets.

Hygiene

How well is that rental dive gear really cleaned. Are you sure you want to use a rental snorkel or regulator mouthpiece? Did the previous renter have a throat infection or a cold sore? How do you feel about wearing a wetsuit that someone else has peed in?

Travel dive gear

In recent years dive equipment manufacturers have addressed the issues of travelling with dive gear and introduced equipment that is lighter and packs smaller. A travel BCD can fit in your suitcase and a regulator in your hand luggage. How to pack your gear is a subject for another day.

Many divers travel with basic gear and rent the big items. A mask and snorkel should always be in your bag, especially here in Asia where there are so many great places to go snorkeling. A rash vest is often good enough for exposure protection, the water temperature here is around 27°C.

Small accessories that won’t be included in a rental gear set include things like tank bangers, delayed smbs, reels, slates and surface signalling devices like whistles. If you have these they are worth bringing, just don’t forget them on tanks and in BCD pockets.

Buy dive gear in Thailand

You may also like to check out the price of buying dive gear here in Thailand, differences in the exchange rate can often make it cheaper to buy here and all the top brands are available with international warranties. Wetsuits which are manufactured in Thailand often work out cheaper here, you can even have your own custom fitted suit made at Hotwave in Phuket.

What not to bring

We have seen divers arrive on the boat with their own lead weights (and expect the staff to carry their bag). While we’ve never seen anyone bring a drysuit to Thailand there are plenty of cold water divers who leave their drysuit hose attached to their first stage. Why not remove it and leave it at home? Pony bottles and dive knives are also pretty troublesome to travel with.

20% Off White Manta liveaboard

White Manta liveaboardLast minute special offers

There are some really good deals around at the moment. Here are four promotions to get you diving soon.

20% Off White Manta liveaboard
31 Oct-3 Nov
3 days 3 nights liveaboard diving at Hin Daeng, Hin Muang, Koh Haa (10 dives)
Standard cabin 17,600 baht (reduced from 22,000 baht)
Deluxe cabin (twin or double bed) 21,600 baht per diver (reduced from 27,000 baht)

20% Off White Manta liveaboard
3-7 November
4 days 4 nights liveaboard diving at Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock (14 dives)
Standard cabin full
Deluxe cabin (twin or double bed) 36,600 baht per diver (reduced from 45,000 baht)

20% Off The Junk liveaboard
For bookings made before 31 October

25,000 baht for any available berth on The Junk
1-7 November
5 days 6 nights liveaboard diving at the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock

Help save reefs

Help save reefs

Kata Noi reef clean up

We don’t want to preach to divers who on the whole are pretty environmentally friendly but the reefs of the world are under threat and need our help. Here are a few things that any diver can do so that they are not adding to the problem.

Hands off

Don’t stress the marine life or coral by moving it. Most marine life is actually pretty tough but in an already stressed environment your touch may push it over the edge. Touching some corals can remove the protective film that covers them, leaving them open to disease. Most marine life doesn’t like to be touched and has defenses to ward off predators so touching marine life, even coral and shells, could be painful or even deadly.

One way to prevent yourself touching coral while diving is to dive with hands bare, there is really no reason to wear gloves when diving in warm water on a tropical reef. Not wearing gloves will reduce your temptation to touch stuff which could cause you injury. If you feel that you need to wear gloves to hold on you are probably diving in conditions beyond the limits of your ability. Dive on easier reefs or work on your buoyancy control. Would be underwater photographers should be especially sure of their skills before purchasing that first camera. If you cannot remain neutrally buoyant and stationary you are not fit to hold a camera. Your photos will also improve as your buoyancy improves. The reef is not there for you to steady yourself or your camera on, marine creatures are not models to be moved in to position at will.

Not touching also applies to knees, arms, bums and fins. Improve your buoyancy and be aware of your surroundings, the reefs will thank you. Kicking up sand behind you can suffocate coral. Gorgonian sea fans break easily with a fin kick.

Clean up

Don’t throw garbage off the boat, don’t throw food waste on top of a reef. This should go without saying but we see it all the time, everyone seems to view the sea as a dustbin. If you come across some garbage on a dive why not collect it and dispose of it later? If every diver collects a few bits in their BCD pockets the reefs will stay clean for all. Collecting plastic bags will not screw with your buoyancy and could save a turtle from ingesting it and dying a nasty death.

Cover up

The sun is powerful and sunburn is painful and to be avoided. It is possible however that sunscreen with UV protection is damaging reefs. Wherever possible cover up instead of applying sunscreen. Organic sunscreens are available as are bio degradable soaps and shampoos for that after dive shower on the dive platform.

Eat and buy responsibly

If you eat fish on the endangered species list they won’t be around for much longer to enjoy on a reef or a dinner plate. Do not eat shark fin soup or eat in a restaurant that serves it.

Do not buy souvenirs made from coral or shells.

Ride a bike

Or walk instead of taking the car. Doing so will not only increase your lung fitness and give you a longer dive but it will help reduce CO2 immissions. Carbon Dioxide is responsible for ocean acidification which effects the health of the whole marine food chain so anything that reduces your carbon footprint is beneficial.

Report bad practice and support good practice

If you see a boat dropping an anchor on a reef report it. Or a divemaster playing with marine life. Or a fishing boat in a no fishing zone. Report to the relevant authorities or post your views on forums like trip advisor.

Support the dive centres that encourage marine conservation, train their divers to dive responsibly and organise or participate in local conservation efforts.

Get involved

There is a huge worldwide movement of divers concerned about the fate of the world’s oceans. You can advocate, participate and donate. A good starting point is PADI’s Project Aware.

 

20% off plus free nitrox plus free equipment

Thailand Liveaboard Special OfferAnother fabulous special offer for any diver who can drop what they are doing and go diving at the last minute.

20% off Deep Andaman Queen liveaboard.

4 days 4 nights to the Similan Islands, Koh Bon, Koh Tachai and Richelieu Rock

  • 20-24 October 2014.
  • 25-29 October 2014.

Discounted prices start at 24,000 baht per diver.

Plus you get free rental dive equipment and nitrox certified divers get free nitrox fills.

Boat details here: www.easydivethailand.com/deep-andaman-queen/

Contact us for full details and booking. Email info@easydivethailand.com or call +66 (0)81 2727556

 

 

20% Off the Junk Similan liveaboard

Phuket liveaboard in JuneThis is an amazing offer. Book and pay for a 2014-15 season trip on the Junk before 31 October and get 20% off!

  • Twin/Double cabins:
    55,600 baht per diver 69,500 baht per diver.
    You save 13,900 baht per diver
  • Triple share cabins:
    39,600 baht per diver 49,500 baht per diver.
    You save 9,900 baht per diver
  • Four share cabins:
    31,600 baht per diver 39,500 baht per diver.
    You save 7,900 baht per diver

Offer subject to space availability. Please contact us for details.

Schedule and itinerary here: www.easydivethailand.com/the-junk/

Citizen Scientist Diver

If you are lucky enough to encounter a reef shark, whale shark or manta ray while diving in Thailand why not add your sighting to the data already collected by other citizen scientist divers and help the scientific community to learn more about these amazing creatures and aid with conservation efforts.

It costs you nothing to contribute your sighting and submit a photo.Citizen Scientist diver

Wildbook is a global visual identification database for whale shark sightings which uses pattern recognition software to record encounters with individual whalesharks: http://www.whaleshark.org/

Manta Matcha is an offshoot of the Wildbook for whalesharks database that is developing a global database of shared data for manta ray encounters. Manta rays are migratory and this database will help to itentify their movement patterns. Manta ray markings on their underside are as individually distinctive as fingerprints are in humans. http://www.mantamatcher.org/

The Thailand eShark Project by Shark Guardian is a Thailand only shark sightings data base that aims to raise awareness about the declining numbers of sharks in Thai waters and work towards creating shark sanctuaries to protect sharks. Anyone can contribute after each dive you make, even if you don’t see any sharks. Zero sightings are important too as they help to record the frequency of sightings. http://www.sharkguardian.org/thailand-eshark-project/

Richelieu Rock day trip from Phuket

Richelieu Rock day trip from PhuketDiving day trip from Phuket to Richelieu Rock

Available from November to April 3  times per week on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

2 dive day trip by fast catamaran. Numbers limited to 16 divers so book early to get a place.

Price: 6,100 baht plus 600 baht national park fees

Price includes dive guide, tanks and weights, lunch, drinking water and soft drinks on board. Nitrox tanks are free of charge.

Equipment rental is 500 baht per set

Richelieu Rock day trips are for certified divers only, when booking please advise your dive certification, number of logged dives and date of last dive. Please also tell us if you need to rent dive equipment or want to dive nitrox.

Richelieu Rock day trip from PhuketItinerary:
Pick ups from Patong hotels (Kata, Karon, Patong areas) start at 6.00am. It’s about a two hour drive from Phuket to the boat pier at Ban Nam Kem (north of Khao Lak). Coffe and a snack will be waiting for you there in case you missed breakfast.
08:30am Boat departure from Nam Kem Pier
10:00am Dive 1
11:00am Lunch on the boat. Relax on the sun deck
12.45pm Dive 2
15:15pm Arrival back at Nam Kem Pier and transfer back to Phuket
You should be back at your hotel around 5.30-6.00pm depending on location and traffic.

Richelieu Rock day trips are also available from Khao Lak.

Similan Islands, Koh Bon and Koh Tachai day trips are also available from Phuket.

*****Dive sites are subject of change depending on weather conditions.

Richelieu Rock day trip dive boatRichelieu Rock day trip dive boat

 

 

Similan National Park opens 15 October

similan islands diving seasonAre you ready to go diving?

The Similan Islands diving season starts when the national park opens on 15 October. The first dive boat departs in the morning of the 15th for 3 days 2 nights. You can book your cabin on South Siam 3 here.

Or there is a 4 day 4 night trip departing in the evening. Book your place on Deep Andaman Queen here.

Free equipment and free nitrox on Similan liveaboard

OktaviaA quick reminder that you can get free rental dive equipment and free nitrox (for nitrox certified divers) on any Oktavia liveaboard trip until 16 November.

ได้รับอุปกรณ์การดำน้ำฟรีค่าเช่าและ Nitrox ฟรีในการเดินทางใด ๆ การเรียนดำ Oktavia จนถึง 16 พฤศจิกายน

These are 4 day 4 night trips to the Similan Islands and Koh Bon

The price is 23,000 baht per diver in a standard cabin or 29,000 baht per diver in the huge master cabin with private en-suite bathroom.

Available dates are:

23-27 Oct 14
28 Oct-1 Nov 14
2-6 Nov 14
7-11 Nov 14
12-16 Nov

 

RIB charter special offer

Phuket RIB charter

Dolphin 7.8m fast RIB

Private Half Day (5 hours) RIB charter from Phuket to Khai Islands or to Phang Nga bay.

These 7.8m fast RIBS travel at 35 knots! They are the most fun way to island hop around Phuket.

Special offer until 31 October: Private charter price 15,000 baht. (reduced from 22,400 baht)

That price is for 6 passengers and includes skipper and crew, water, soft drinks, snacks, snorkeling equipment use and Phuket land transfers to Ao Por Grand Marina.

Not included are national park fees of 200 baht per person.

You can add extra passengers up to a maximum of 10 for 2,500 baht extra per person.

Note that for safety reasons children under 7 years old are not allowed on board.