Are your kids’ huge fans of snorkeling and ready for their next underwater adventure? It may be time to find out how much scuba gear costs.
It requires a little more planning and preparation than a snorkeling trip, but it is also that much more of a breath-taking experience.
To help you calculate an estimate of a family scuba diving trip, we have laid out the cost of renting versus buying scuba gear. You decide which option is better for you and your little ones.
Different Costs of Scuba Diving
How much does scuba diving gear cost isn’t the only question you should ask yourself. There are other costs associated with recreational diving that you should consider, too.
While you don’t need supervision when snorkeling, new divers must always be accompanied by a dive instructor. Certification isn’t compulsory but we highly recommend looking into scuba diving courses at the dive centers you are visiting.
Other costs that you need to add to your list are oxygen for the scuba tanks, any underwater photo or video equipment that you want to rent and extra insurance. That last one is something many families forget – ‘extreme’ sports are often excluded from standard travel insurance coverage.
Also compare the cost of staying on a liveaboard versus a dive center onshore. You have more flexibility in your spending with on shore accommodation but liveaboards can also offer very family-friendly packages.
For all these things, the price will differ depending on the location. For example, Indonesia and Thailand are considered very affordable for dive travel but more remote dive sites in the Pacific are far from budget-friendly.
How Much does Scuba Gear Cost to Buy?
Here is a quick list of essential scuba diving equipment:
- Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)
- Scuba Mask
- Scuba Regulator
- Scuba Fins
- Dive Suit
- Dive Computer
- Air Tank
- Dive Light
These are the basics in a recreational scuba diving kit but there are more items available for different types of diving. For example, underwater photographers will also carry a camera and specialized underwater lighting, adventure divers carry knives and technical divers use advanced underwater tools.
Then there is the diving equipment designed for different water conditions. Those diving in cold waters will need a warm dry suit, booties and dive gloves while you can make do with just a shorty wetsuit in tropical waters.
Besides the additional scuba equipment, there is also a difference between gear for recreational and professional purposes. For example, pros will have high-tech dive computers, but the occasional diver only needs basic functionality.
All these things are available as rental gear, but more experienced divers invest in their own dive equipment.
Personal gear has better hygiene – imagine how many wet bodies shimmy into those dive suits and how many mouths have been biting into the regulator mouthpiece. It also feels more comfortable since you can choose a fit that sits just right and won’t chafe in all the wrong parts.
Don’t worry about having to buy all the gear at once. It can be a gradual investment as you gain more scuba diving experience.
Many beginners will start with one of the more affordable and personal items such as a scuba mask and fins. This also gives you the chance to try out different brands and styles before you move on to pricier pieces like a wetsuit, BCD, dive computer and regulator.
Scuba Gear Cost Breakdown
How much does a full set of scuba gear cost? What you will spend when you buy scuba gear will depend on the type of diving you’ll be doing, your experience level, budget and personal preferences.
Perhaps you need a prescription dive mask or want to save on the dive suit so you can spend more on the BCD. No two people will spend the exact same amount on their dive gear.
If you need to fit out your entire family, it is a good idea to look into gear packages. Dive gear packages are best for new divers since they’ll include all the necessary basics and often online dive shops give you a better deal on them, too.
Here’s a rough guide on the prices you can expect to pay for essential parts of dive equipment.
Scuba Diving Mask – $20-$850
There are many different types of dive masks, from simple plastic goggles to glass full face dive masks, and this does affect the price. We recommend trying out the different types to see which sits most comfortable for your face shape.
Snorkel – $20 – $100
This is usually the most affordable piece of scuba equipment and one of the things you can save on. Just make sure that it is compatible with your dive mask and whenever possible, choose a dry snorkel (a snorkel that doesn’t let water in).
Fins – $50 – $600
Fit and comfort are incredibly important when choosing dive fins so we recommend spending a little more on them. You don’t want your kids’ feet (nor your own) to become red and bruised from the fins digging into your skin.
Scuba Regulators – $90 – $1200
A good quality regulator is non-negotiable because this is your underwater access to your air supply. The price range is due to differences in material, durability, the amount of control in airflow, weight, and additional safety features.
Scuba Diving Wetsuit – $100-$1000
This is one of the most personal pieces of equipment because it needs to fit as snug as a bug while still offering plenty of flexibility. Kids will grow out of their wetsuits so you might not want to spend too much on them but do check that the material is soft on the skin and doesn’t chafe.
BCD – $250 – $1200
The BCD is one of the bulkiest items which is why many recreational divers stick to renting one. However, I can tell you from personal experience that getting a BCD that is proportional to your specific body shape and weight is a true game-changer in how you move through the water.
Dive Computer – $300 – $1500
Perhaps the coolest piece of gear, dive computers come in many different varieties and price ranges. If you are going to invest in your own dive computer, it is better to choose a higher quality model so that it lasts for many years.
Scuba Gear Package – ($1,000 – $,8000) includes BCD, Regulator, Gauges and Dive Computer
You can get your own gear for as little as $1000 if you take the time to scout for online deals. They are a great option if you find it a little overwhelming to shop for each individual item and they are often assembled for specific types of diving, too.
How Much does Scuba Gear Cost to Rent?
Renting gear is very common. Dive centers will always have scuba gear available and some dive shops also offer gear rental as a service.
In the USA, you can rent complete dive gear packages for around $120-$250 per week, excluding the cost of filling up nitrox. It might be more budget-friendly for the occasional diver, but the cost adds up every time you go on a dive trip.
The advantage of buying vs renting dive gear is that it perfectly fits your body and diving needs but it is a considerable investment. It is a good idea to first rent scuba diving gear and then add on your own gear piece by piece.
Pros and Cons of Hiring Dive Gear
Still wondering if it is okay to rent gear for your family diving trip. These are the pros and cons you should know.
Less to Pack
Packing for a large family is always a struggle and adding bulky dive gear to that list doesn’t make it any easier. Renting gear will not only save you space in your suitcase, but you’ll also save on the fees for special sports equipment baggage and insurance.
Professional Equipment Servicing
For safety and hygiene reasons, dive centers are extra careful about keeping their gear clean and properly maintained. They need to earn their investment back so you can trust that they keep the gear in good condition.
Try Before You Buy
There are so many different types of dive equipment that it only makes sense to try them out first. But if you buy new gear, they won’t accept a return after use so take the opportunity to try something different when renting gear.
Best for Growing Kids
Just like their clothes and shoes, kids will outgrow their scuba diving gear. So, for children specifically, it is more affordable to rent their wetsuit and equipment than having to buy a new dive package every year.
Less than Perfect Fit
Fit is everything during a dive, but you’ll rarely find rental gear that is truly made for your body, especially if you need extra-large or extra small sizes. You’ll probably also have to deal with some stretched-out equipment from constant use.
Limited to Local Availability
It is good to check beforehand what kind of equipment the dive center has available for rent. If you are specific about the type of gear that you want, then you might be out of luck and smaller dive centers.
In short, buying gear for the entire family will cost you several thousand dollars but if you dive frequently, you will probably end up spending more. Although it is best to rent dive gear for your kids, investing in more comfortable and personalized pieces for adults is a smart idea.