Scuba computers, or dive computers, are compact digital devices which perform the task of nitrogen management without the need for a watch or dive tables.
Combining a timer with a depth gauge, and intelligent software which computes absorption of gases, dive computers are popular with experienced recreational divers.
While it is essential that all divers learn about residual nitrogen and decompression using manual dive tables, a computer is a valuable device that enhances your dive experience by automating nitrogen management.
A dive computer does not plan a dive for the scuba diver. The diver is still responsible for planning a dive safely in accordance with health guidelines.
The dive computer keeps track of the divers' depth and time spent underwater, computes the amount of nitrogen present in the diver's body, alerts the diver of levels getting too high and guides the diver to make appropriate decompression stops, if necessary.
Computer Tip - Don’t share it and don’t turn it off. A dive computer tracks changing theoretical gas levels for each individual diver during a dive, between dives and during a second dive.
Therefore, you can’t share it during the day. If you turn it off, it loses its memory of your previous dives (not good!), which means you can’t dive any more for at least 24 hours.
You can’t turn off most modern computers, but changing the batteries during the middle of the day can be a problem. See the manufacturer instructions.
Professional dive watches can do more than just the typical watch.
Professional dive watches have the ability to be worn in and out of the water and with the added bonus of substituting for your dive computer as well.
Some of the watches even have the ability to become an air integrated computer substituting for your pressure gauge.
Economical dive watches include everything from simple digital and analog watches from a variety of manufacturers.
Dive Watch Tip - If you scuba dive without a computer, then a dive watch is your primary timing/safety device; if you dive with a computer, then your watch is a secondary or backup timing device. Either way, it’s crucial gear for a safe dive and must be precise and reliable.
Scuba Gear |> Regulators and Gauges |
Sometimes, deciding whether to buy a new watertight dive watch or one of the traditional dive computers can be a tough decision to make.
This guide will help beginners find a good dive watch for scuba diving and understand how divers use dive watches to track bottom time underwater.