What is SCUBA?

It’s a common question.  Many have seen SCUBA divers on TV, but don’t know what it is, or how it works.

SCUBA is an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus. As an acronym, SCUBA should always be upper case. However, the word is so common that it is often lower case, or Scuba. In it’s simplest form the “apparatus” includes:

  • a tank which contains pressurized air
  • a regulator which converts the high pressure air to a pressure we can breath
  • a Buoyancy Compensator (BC) used to adjust our buoyancy underwater

The above gear is often referred to as the “SCUBA unit”. There are other forms of SCUBA, but this is the most common.

Some other gear that we also use when SCUBA diving:

  • a mask which allows us air breathers to see underwater
  • fins that make it much easier to swim
  • an exposure suit to keep warm in cold water
  • various gauges to measure depth, time, and air pressure

We really can’t dive without this gear, but it’s not exclusive to SCUBA diving.

There is also a variety of safety gear used in SCUBA diving. As the diving conditions become more challenging, the amount of gear increases. Below I’ll cover each piece of gear in more detail.

3 Responses to “What is SCUBA?”

  1. SoCal Diver says:

    SCUBA can also stand for “Some Come Up Barely Alive.”

    Just thought I would throw that in!

  2. Dave O says:

    I’m sure we could come up with a few more.

  3. [...] We previously talked about basic SCUBA gear, so now let’s add a few items for tropical [...]

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