Dive tables used to be the essential tool divers used while planning. They could figure out the max times of the dive for the planned depth of their dives, when they would need to surface, and how they can avoid a decompression obligation. However, with technology leaping ahead in recent years, dive computers have become more accessible. Divers equipped with dive computers have a wealth of new possibilities ahead of them thanks to these technological advancements.
With dive tables, you could only plan for where you originally intended to go during the dive. Dive tables show you how long you can safely stay at a certain depth. If you deviate from that original plan, you need to rely on your fellow divers or your intuition for resurfacing. The widespread adoption of dive computers has allowed for extended dives thanks to the real-time information provided.
The primary use of dive computers is to track your current depth and calculate how your bottom time — the time between when you started the dive and began your ascent. The dive computer allows you to expand on your initial diving plans but provides you with real-time data based calculations. Having accurate real-time data to inform these decisions that impact your dive makes having dive computers essential for divers of all skill levels. However, not all dive computers are created equal.
Different Types of Dive Computers
The basic models of dive computers can calculate your depth and time spent underwater. However, there are models on the market, including a built-in compass to help you with navigation during your dive as well as the air-integrated dive computer, which provides additional information about your air situation. By running a hose from your air tank to your air integrated dive computer, you can track how much air time you have remaining, bottom time remaining, and your tank’s current PSI. All of this additional information helps give you a fuller look at the status of your dive and make adjustments as needed.
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