The Dive Otter

Basic Diving Concepts

As a new diver, I quickly encountered several concepts that piqued my curiosity after completing my open water training. When I turned to the Internet for answers, especially ScubaBoard (a mixed blessing), I found a lot of contradictory advice and overly scientific explanations. All I wanted was something simple and easy to understand.

These sections are designed for NOVICE divers who are approaching these topics for the first time. For those who consider themselves experts, I'll provide links to more in-depth resources at the top of each section.


When to use one. Why to use one. The ones I use as examples.

Hand Signals

The basics and what you are likely to see in Chicagoland


Why does the scuba diving world think they are evil. Are they really? Do they have a point?

BCD Types

Jacket, Back Inflate, Backplate & Wing (BPW). Pro and Con. Which one is for you? Is one better than the other?

Yoke vs DIN

Is one type of 1st Stage to tank connection method better than the other? Why would you choose one over the other?

Hose Routing

Standard, Under Arm, Long Hose, Sorta Long Hose, oh my.

Which Computer?

Literally 100s of options with various pro/con for each. I'll break down the various decision points so you can choose what is best for you.


Definitions, confusion, how to calculate, how to use in practice

Proper Weight

How to calculate it. How to measure/test it.

How much weight should be ditchable?

Why, when, is there a better way?


Why, where and when do we use it?

Dan Insurance

Are they dive insurance? Do I need dive insurance? Does it cover trip insurance? Is it a scam? Which plan should I buy?

Save-a-Dive Kit

Some ideas on what to put in one