Tag Archives: dive gear

Unmasked A Modern Look at Scuba And Snorkel Masks

Unmasked A Modern Look at Scuba Masks And Snorkel Masks

Today we’re going to talk about Scuba and Snorkel Masks, which also hold true for Freediving.

Have you ever been to a resort where someone just hands you a snorkel mask our a dive mask out of a bucket and tells you to go and enjoy the water?  For some that can be a wonderful eye popping experience and for others it can be painful, irritating, uncomfortable or downright unnerving.

Today we are going to discuss some of the key features, technologies, materials, styles and levels of comfort you can come to expect from a good quality scuba or snorkel mask.

Key Features

Some would argue that the more expensive the mask is, the better it will fit you or the better quality it is.  This isn’t quite the case.

The best mask on the market is the mask that fits your face first and foremost.

Factors that affect the fit of the mask are face shapes, facial hair, buckle or strap design, single or double lens, type of mask skirt material, lens glass and frame shape to name a few.

Generally speaking the bigger the face the larger the mask skirt and frame will have to be.  Someone with a narrow face like a woman or small child can fit a small to mid size frame, while most average size faces would benefit from a standard fit, larger faces may require a wide fitting mask.

There are a handful of brands who offer small/medium fitted masks, as well as wide fitting masks, while the norm is to make a mask for the average face.

Once you’ve determined the size of mask you may need its time to weigh options, for example, if you have facial hair, you may favour a stiffer mask skirt with a frameless designed that will sit slightly higher above the moustache versus one that lays across the hair preventing a full seal against the upper lip and under the nose.  

The Moustache: Moustache divers or snorkelers can be one of the more challenging people to fit, so we often gravitate to a few good “moustache masks”.  These masks are shorter and stiffer in the upper lip area and aren’t as affected by the facial hair which can break the seal of a softer skirted mask.

The BARE Frameless Mask, Atomic Frameless Mask, Mares X-Vision standard and TUSA Powerview have been some of our most successful options. 

Avoid Purge Valves!  Rather than going for a proper fit, some people choose to go for a mask with a purge valve in the nose that allows you to simply blow out to evacuate water, however, we believe a purge valve mask is an excuse for an ill-fitting mask.  They also tend to fail over time having the valve curl or simply fall out causing the mask to fill up with water, so for this reason we simply don’t recommend or endorse the use of purge valves in masks, but are happy to add one into any mask you desire should you want one.

Wearing a Skirt?

Guys and girls both wear skirts when wearing a mask.  So what’s the difference in mask skirts?  Mask skirts can be made of a number of different materials including Rubber, TPR (transparent rubber), PVC, Silite, Silflex, Silter, Silicone, Crystal Silicone, Liquid Silicone, Liquid Crystal Silicone, Gummybear Silicone and more.

Rubber was the most common type of material throughout the infancy of snorkeling and scuba because it was inexpensive, created a seal, was black which helped the person see clearer without glare and refraction of light, but it was not a product that had offered a lot of longevity, however, in the late 1970’s silicone started to become more popular due to the fact that it didn’t break down in the sunlight, was more comfortable and chlorine resistant.

Alternatively TPR, PVC, Silite, Silflex, Silter are all harder skirted alternatives that cost less, are replaced more and are often found in the department stores.  Some manufactures promote a silcone mask/snorkel combo, however, a mask can be class as “silicone” with as little as 5% in the skirt.

You can tell how much silicone is in the mask vs. plastic or other materials by holding the clear skirt up to the light.  If the mask has an opaque colour that looks “clumpy” or more white it isn’t pure silicone.  If the mask skirt has an odour the smells like chemicals, its not pure silicone.

Many of our dive mask brands offer both “sport” quality and “dive” quality. Both can be suitable for snorkeling and in some cases diving too, however, fit and comfort are the 2 most important factors affecting your decision to purchase one over the other.

Pure Silicone mask skirts are still the most comfortable, last the longest, do not break down with repeated saltwater or chlorine immersion and are UV resistant.

Silicone masks can come in skirts that are acid washed to be perfectly transparent or they can be coloured black or other unique colours.  At DDS we prefer black silicone because it offers better vision through the process of eliminating excessive amounts of light which flow in through the normally clear skirt and then cause glare and refraction of light when compared to their black skirted brethren who provide eye and glare protection and less overall strain and eye fatigue.

Clear Skirted Masks Yellow over time.

Black skirted masks also age better maintaining their black colour, whereas clear skirted masks only stay clear for a little while, that is until the uv rays, dirt, sand, rubber and other factors start to cause a yellowing of the skirt and they become opaque over a rather short period of time, meanwhile the black skirted mask is still looking as fresh and good as it did the day it was purchased.

Regardless of the mask you choose it’s all about fit and comfort.  You can read review after review, but the mask should be fitted by a professional who understands your needs, wants and has a good selection.

We sell virtually every brand of mask, but have cherry picked among our entire staff the masks we feel to be the best fitting masks on the market.

Keep the gimmicks to a minimum.

The Fit

Make sure when you’re wearing your mask you can equalize your ears by squeezing your nose pocket, this will ensure you can get to the nose pocket when you need to.

Make sure the mask strap isn’t too tight.  A proper fitting mask only needs to have the strap snug, not tight because the water pressure is going to keep the mask on your face for the most part too.

Make sure the mask doesn’t sit against the brow area putting pressure on it if its a 2 lens mask (men generally have a protruding brow).

Make sure the nose pocket doesn’t dig into the bridge of the nose.

Wear the mask strap just over top of the ears centering it around the middle 1/3 of the skull.  Wearing it too high can cause the mask to push up under the nose causing chaffing and making it raw over time, so really pay attention to centering it and keeping it adjusted comfortably.

When wearing the mask you can check for proper width by looking in a mirror.  You don’t want to see the skirt too narrow that it sits on the eye, but you also don’t want it so wide that it lets water in through the top or sides.

Breath in through your nose without using the strap, see that the mask sits comfortably on the face.  If it does, put the strap on, snug it up comfortably and with the mask against the face exhale.  The exhaled air should go out the bottom of the mask not the top of the head by the temples or above the eyes.

High or Low Volume?  Which is Better?

Low Volume is always best.  The lenses sit closer to your eyes.  There’s a smaller airspace to equalize the masks internal airspace which is something you’ll notice when you go down on breath hold or on scuba.  With increased pressure the mask will suck to your face more and more and more eventually causing pain and discomfort.  To avoid this you’ll need to equalize the airspace by simply blowing some air through your nose into the mask to keep it from squeezing down.

tusa_panthes_mask_for_sale_online_in_canada
Black Skirted Masks maintain their colour and help eliminate light glare

Lower volume masks are more comfortable and are easier to clear water out of as well.  Imagine a big round window shaped mask and how big and how much water can fill that mask up.  Now picture a streamlined mask that has a similar surface area to that of a pair of swim goggles but with an enclosed nose so you can blow into it.  

Which mask is going to be easier to clear the water out of ?  The one with more or less water in it?  If you guessed less water in it you’re right.  The smaller the masks overall internal volume the easier its going to be to blow the air out of it.

Frame or No Frame?

Divers have long gravitated towards plastic framed masks that press the glass, plastic and frame all into one package with a lens retainer.  They’re durable, comfortable, most popular.

Frameless masks are a more modern concept that has less overall parts and simplified construction by simply moulding the silicone frame over the tempered glass lenses and bonding the silicone to the skirt.

The Different Mask Lenses

The market for different dive lenses have changed a lot since the initial introduction of simple tempered glass or polycarbonate lenses.

Tempered Glass lenses are still the industry standard because of their durability, relative cost effectiveness and the fact that they don’t shatter inwards due to pressure.  They can break like anything else, but generally the glass will stay together.

Tempered Glass is durable, they aren’t affected by scratches in the water, but they do have a greenish tinge to the glass which cuts back on light transmission.

Polycarbonate is plastic, scratches very easily and not suitable for scuba diving or much more than pool playing.  They’re typical of your department store masks which are cheap and not designed to last.

Ultraclear Glass Lenses introduced by Atomic Aquatics

Ultraclear glass is an optical quality glass with exceptional clarity and high light transmission, with no colour distortion.

Standard float glass (tempered glass) lets through approximately 86% of the available light but UltraClear lenses can allow up to 92% light transmittance. Combine that with the increased colour vibrancy and clarity and you’ll never want to dive with a standard lens again.

ARC Lenses or Anti Reflective Coating Lenses Introduced by Atomic Aquatics

Between 4-14% of light can be reflected back or “lost” by the standard “green float glass” mask lenses used by the more traditional mask makers.  ARC technology lenses are especially important for SCUBA divers underwater, where available light is quickly absorbed by the surrounding water because they help amplify available light.

Atomic Aquatics ARC Technology to reduce reflected light and actually increase the amount of available light transmitted to a diver’s eyes. The result is a greatly improved transmission of 98% of available light, compared to a loss of more than 14% of light with standard green “float” glass used on the majority of masks on the market.

ARC uses a multi-layer metal oxide coating process applied to both sides of the UltraClear lenses. This allows more light to enter the mask by reducing light reflections off the inside and outside surface of the lens. The metal oxide coating is only a few microns thick.

Anti-Reflective Coatings or ARC is a multi-layer metal oxide coating process applied to both sides of the Ultraclear lenses. This allows more light to enter the mask by reducing light reflection off the inside and outside surface of the lends. Clearer, crisper vision.  Reduces eyestrain, glare and prevents ghost images on the viewing area of the lens. A must for night diving and limited visibility conditions and underwater photographers.

Mirrored Lenses

Some Divers like the idea of mirrored lenses, however, they reflect back at the fishlife and can cause unwanted confrontations.  They also hide the divers eyes, which are essential when assessing diver comfort underwater, so for this reason we’d suggest staying away from mirrored lenses.

Types of Mask Straps

DDS Neoprene Mask StrapMost mask straps are made of the same material as the mask.  They’re designed to fit comfortably, not overly tight around the back of the wearers head and have side adjusters that allow you to often times pull the mask strap by tabs to tighten it.  

The straps can pull hair or can tend to be uncomfortable.  One way we fix this is by adding a neoprene mask strap backing or replacing the entire strap with a neoprene adjust-a-strap which uses Velcro on the sides and neoprene on the back of the head. 

You don’t need hair to enjoy a neoprene mask strap, they’re the best option for ease of donning or taking your mask off, plus they also float a little bit, so if you drop you mask into the water you may have faster response as it may not sink immediately .

Prescription Lenses

We can get a number of masks with prescription lenses.  We carry lenses in + or – diopters, as well as custom ground lenses for people needing lenses for different pupil distances and special features. 

The costs of lenses for negative diopters are very reasonable.  Positive diopters are more expensive.  Standard bio-focal lenses are also available.

We generally recommend TUSA or Atomic for prescription lenses.  They’re easy to install and the masks are the best quality you can buy.

Replacement Parts

When purchasing a mask consider the fact that this product will last you 20-30 years if you look after it.  My personal TUSA mask is one I’ve had since 1996.  Dan had a 30 year old TUSA mask.  When you buy quality products from reputable manufacturers who make their own masks (NOT OEM with a Log slapped on) you purchase a product that is going to have parts and service around for years (or decades) to come.

Mask clips can commonly break if dropped or stepped on.  Lenses can chip, mask skirt scan rip, lens retainer clips can break if you’re cleaning the mask and mask skirt on a regular basis.

Brands like TUSA, Atomic Aquatics, Mares Diving, Problue and Scubapro keep a range of clips and replacement parts in stock.

Pre-cleaning Your Mask

Pre-clean your mask with toothpaste rubbed on the inside of the glass and take a toothbrush with mild abrasive and brush the inside glass to remove a protective silicone residue that is tacked on the inside.  You can also carefully burn it off with a flame if you have a steady hand and trust yourself around silicone.

Pre-cleaning the mask will help prevent fogging and will give you a better chance of fog-free diving.

Defogging Your Mask

Mask defog is your friend.  Not because we’re a dive store, but because you don’t want bacteria ridden saliva in your mask that you may or may not fully rinse out.  We’ve seen divers with eye infections from using the communal “spit bucket” on the dive boats down south where 10-20 divers are all spitting in their mask and then rinsing in a communal bucket.

Commercial Mask Defog is awesome!  It lasts years and years despite the small affordable 2oz bottle it comes in.  McNett Sea Drops and McNett Sea Gold are the best defogs we’ve used.  No bacteria or eye irritation and you also don’t have as much black mould or bacteria growing in your mask after 6-12 months of using it vs. spit.

Spitting in your mask is a good temporary solution, but defog will prevent things from growing in the mask and give you the best fog free solution.

To use your defog properly though follow these steps. 

  1. Apply defog to mask lens dry 2-3 drops per lens or 5-6 drops overall if single lens max.
  2. Leave defog on the mask until you’re ready to hit the water
  3. Rinse defog off with your finger and water
  4. Put mask directly on your face or keep filled with water until ready to wear
  5. Keep mask on face, do not take off and let it air dry
  6. If taking mask off fill it up with water and leave lenses wet, don’t air dry

Maintenance For Your Mask

Your mask over time may get dirty, mildewed or saturated with salt crystals or sand which can get between the lenses.  Every 1-2 years or sooner, you should consider taking your mask apart and with hot water, some dish soap and a toothbrush, gently rinse and scrub every bit of the mask frame, skirt, lenses, and lens retainer clips (This isn’t possible with Frameless masks which do not come apart).

To learn more about care and maintenance of your scuba and snorkeling gear take our PADI Equipment Specialist Course.

In Closing,

The best mask on the market is the mask that makes you feel like its a part of your face, it fits naturally, it doesn’t hit off the brow, press on the bridge of the nose and doesn’t need to be overtightened.  It can come with a range of different lenses and price points, but at the end of the day its the mask that feels the best and has the features you want that’s the right one.

While technologies change, the fit criteria should all the same.  Comfort, ease of adjustment, ease of clearing because its low volume and it should look quasi-stylin’.

Matt Mandziuk
Recreational, Cave & Technical Diving Instructor
NAUI Cave & Trimix Instructor 45416
TDI Trimix Instructor 4767
PADI MSDT 207233
SDI Instructor 4767
IDREO Rebreather Instuctor (CCR)
Owner
Dan’s Dive Shop, Inc.
www.dansdiveshop.ca
matt@dansdiveshop.ca

Do Backplates Tip You Face Down on the Surface?

Backplates Tip You Face Down on the Surface?
by
Matthew Mandziuk

There is a common misconception in the world of scuba diving that backplates  and wings can push a diver facedown on the surface.  Those people are wrong.

In this blog we will outline with video evidence how a properly setup and weighted backplate does not push you facedown, but in actuality can be the most comfortable, efficient, most streamlined and safest buoyancy system available.

Misconceptions

Halcyon_infinity_bcd_for_sale_online_dans_dive_shop
Backplates keep things simple and streamlined above and below the water.

The false mindset that backplates tip you forward on the surface  has ultimately come from divers who were using an improperly balanced back floatation bc with a horseshoe wing shaped bladder that was wider/thicker on the bottom of the wing and narrower/thinner in shape closer to the top. Other causes could be that there are high capacity integrated weight pockets located horizontally across the waist area of the bcd causing the force of gravity to shift.  This is why we opt for a vertical pocket that sits back towards the hip area. Or they just plain have never tried it.

A back floatation bcd with an improperly shaped wing design as described above coupled with front loading weight pockets that put the weight pocket closer to the front of the body laying the pockets from the middle of the body to front of the body rather than how they should be oriented, which is from the back of the hip moving from the middle of the body to the back of the body towards the backplate can create a very troublesome scenario with respect to body orientation and tipping.  As a matter of fact, some jacket bcd’s will even push you facedown.

Halcyon Active Control Ballast positions weight from the hips backwards towards the plate, which helps sit the diver vertical on the surface
Halcyon Active Control Ballast positions weight from the hips back towards the plate, which helps sit the diver vertically on the surface

A backplate doesn’t generally have this problem because it is a more balanced rig offering a wing that generally allows for even air distribution around the bladder like a circle or a doughnut that allows the air to move unrestricted and doesn’t trap air. Some units even offer a weighted single tank adapter with up to 6lbs/2.2kg of lead placed inside the STA with little to no weight needed with even the thickest wetsuit in salt water.

Divers may experience a tipping sensation on the surface from any bcd due to the action of over inflating the wing or a jacket bcd, however on a backplate and wing style system like a Halcyon Infinity MC System you don’t generally have this issue as shown in the video below.

Join the Zero Weight Club

There's nothing more freeing than enjoying your backplate on a DDS dive trip to Mexico
There’s nothing more freeing than enjoying your backplate on a DDS dive trip to Mexico

Ideally You’ll want to get to a point where you aren’t wearing much/any weight with a wetsuit and have a balanced enough setup that you can simply just swim your gear up without having to kick hard to get there.  The more weight you have on the surface, could pull you facedown if the weight pockets are in the front of your harness and the wing is overinflated.

Explore shipwrecks with the right gear and comfort
Your Backplate can grow with you from singles to doubles, wet to drysuit, recreational or technical and rebreather diving. 1 bcd for everything.

If you’re using a drysuit you may need a little more weight, but a steel tank is also a suitable option or a set of doubles.  They balance you out even better and for diving locally offer redundancy in the event of a regulator failure.

How do you tell you’re overweighted?  Go up to 10 feet/3 meters with a 1000psi in your tank and see how much air is in your wing.  If you reach back and can feel a substantial amount air try venting the air out while laying horizontally and lifting your rear up, orienting your head slightly downwards to get the air to the highest point and use the back dump to vent the gas.  If you start going down quickly you’re overweighted, but this is another conversation to discuss in another blog post.  You should basically have no air in the wing and be able to hold a stop at 1000psi in an aluminum 80 at 10-15′.

To This
Hovering horizontally motionless underwater enjoying total diving freedom. No bulk, No clutter, No discomfort

The Unsung Hero

Backplates are the most streamlined, balanced, and versatile diving system for recreational divers, cave divers, technical divers and rebreather divers, offering you ONE uniformed diving system that grows with you throughout your diving career, making it the best option for a new scuba diver who doesn’t know where their diving will take them because they won’t outgrow their unit.  It can be dived with any exposure or tank configuration, in any environment, while offering the most streamlined swimming profile and neat and tidy equipment configuration when rigged properly for modern and progressive scuba diving activities.

Backplates allow for better buoyancy distribution and promote body position
Backplates allow for better buoyancy distribution and promote body position

A backplate can allow you to minimize bulk and clutter if you keep the harness clean, also streamlining your body if you are utilizing proper trim and posture, which should allow for you as a  scuba diver to maintain horizontal orientation in the water when swimming and when just sitting there hovering horizontally, even on ascent and descent, rather than being pushed or pulled vertical, which is the position a jacket or a bcd with the weights in the front of the harness generally do by pulling your body knees and fins down towards the bottom.

Backplates allow for motionless hovering keeping the diver within 10% midline of horizontal underwater but allowing you to lay perfectly flat and comfortable with head out of the water on the surface.

Simple and Streamlined

Backplates are more robust than a more traditional bcd, which are often ladened with excessive fabric, padding, straps, d-rings and breakable plastic buckles, whereas a Backplate simply has 1 release buckle if rigged properly, which is located just off to the right side of the waist and is right handed release like a weight belt buckle uses.  

Backplates and Wings are available in all different shapes and sizes including regular, short and even tall plate lengths
Backplates and Wings are available in all different shapes and sizes including regular, short and even tall plate lengths

Clips and Buckles on a jacket bcd can increase task loading and may prolong rescuer response in comparison to a  backplate, as you’ve got a minimum at least 3-4 clips and a cummerbund to free the diver from their gear in a jacket compared to a simple right hand release buckle on the waist followed by pushing the harness free of the divers body.

Since more clips create a delay in freeing the diver in an emergency divers may want to avoid a jacket style bcd with fancy clips, gadgets and clutter in favour of diving more simple and streamlined.

Some backplates offer adjustable cinch harnesses to allow for easier donning and doffing, while not compromising the structural integrity of the harness with breakable plastic clips. To operate the cinch you simply pull the waist straps to tighten shoulders or lift the shoulders up to loosen the harness. There is no sternum strap to compress your chest and inhibit breathing, so you aren’t starved for air on the surface, the backplate thanks to a crotch strap and a proper fit prevents the bcd from riding up on the surface, and there is no chance that the backplate can crush your stomach and ribs like a jacket bcd with a wraparound aircell can when fully inflated.

Progressive Dive Training

Many of our divers are mindblown when they begin their journey into scuba diving and they see the poor job that the vast majority of dive stores and instructors are doing with scuba diving certifications.

Training with a more progressive dive store is a great way to get solid diver training, however, they are few and far between.  

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Good Trim, Knees Up, Fins away from the reef. This is a great example of Progressive Diving.

At the time of this article Dan’s Dive Shop is the first and only dive store in Canada to be offering entry level training in a backplate system and a long hose/short hose regulator configuration at the Open Water Diver level.

Buoyancy and Trim and the most important skills a diver will learn and as such, those skills, along with air sharing, proper horizontal ascents and horizontal descents are things that need to be perfected.

Perfect Example of what not to do.
Perfect Example of what not to do.

Progressive Diving means to have the right skills, abilities, diver and team awareness, safe diving practices and understanding that they need to maintain their skills through practice and repetition on a regular basis.

In some circles this philosophy is known as Hogarthian, DIR, Doing it Right, NTEC and more. In all cases these methods have made diving safer, better and more enjoyable.

Buy it Once

If someone told you you could have 1 BCD to take you from singles to doubles, wet to dry, down south dives and on warm reefs and walls to the most beautiful cold water shipwrecks, cold water reef and walls or ice diving, would you listen?

Take a look on Kijiji or any of those used gear websites and you’ll see something that often states Jacket Bcd used only 6 times or 12 times.  When you talk to the owners a lot of the time you find out they upgraded to a backplate, or they bought a drysuit or a 7mm wetsuit and their original jacket doesn’t fit.

Not only is a backplate the most stable diving system, but it is also built to be the first and last bcd you ever need.  

The Proof is in the Pudding

If you have been told that backplates tip you face down please take the time to share this video with the source of this misinformation.  Not all back flotation bcd’s are innocent, some will push you facedown, but a properly shaped wing and proper weight distribution and pocket design will not.

Shop for Gear

Shop for Gear

 Dan’s offers the countries largest selection, inventory and guaranteed lowest prices on all scuba and snorkeling related equipment from all the best brands in our fully stocked 6000 square foot professional dive shop.

We even offer financing for bigger purchases $1000 or higher.  Finance that new drysuit, rebreather, dpv, dive computer or a full gear package today.  CLICK HERE

For package inquiries on reg/bcd/computers please call us Toll Free: 1-800-268-3267

Our Services

Our Services: Scuba Diving Services Available through Dan’s

What We Can Do For You

Finding out what Scuba Diving Services a dive store can offer their customers is very important as you progress in diving many divers can outgrow their original store, but at Dan’s Dive Shop we are able to offer the country’s largest range of scuba diving equipment repairs from bcd’s, regulators, drysuit repair and maintenance, Transport Canada approved Hydrostatic Testing, scuba dive training, scuba equipment sales, a fully stocked scuba diving showroom or online store with the largest inventory of scuba, snorkeling equipment, metal detectors and swimwear, survival suits and more.

We are a Full Service Padi 5 Star Dive Training Facility (Canada’s First, Canada’s OLDEST PADI Facility #23) and are an affiliated with an SDI/TDI Technical Diving Facility, (Canada’s First) NAUI Tech Training Facility,

Dan’s offers a tested and approved compressed Air Fill Station offering modified Grade E Breathing Air and the most experienced and accurate gas blenders of Nitrox, Trimix,  and Argon in the country.

Scuba Diving Equipment Rentals

project halcyonWe are proud to offer higher learning at all levels of recreational and technical scuba diving, but part of that exceptional learning stems from the implementation of state of the art scuba equipment rentals, which is yet another thing that sets us above the competition, we have the best gear you can buy in our rental fleet, rather than cheaper, lower performance equipment found elsewhere.

Traditional gear is also available for the traditional scuba diver who wants to rent a jacket bcd and short hose regulators, however, we recommend trying a backplate system to compare how much more streamlined you and the system are in the water and how much better your trim and buoyancy can be.

Project Halcyon Diving

As one of North America’s Top Stocking Halcyon Dealers we’ve chosen to offer single tank Infinity or Eclipse MC Systems, Double Tank Explorer and Evolve Systems, Halcyon Contour Sidemount bcd’s, Divers Alert Markers, Defender Spools, Pathfinder reels and more in our rental fleet and regularly host workshops and demo days in Halcyon Gear.  Join us for a Project Halcyon Diving Demo Today or as part of a Higher Education Training Course today.

Rental Gear Packages:

Scuba Equipment Rental Package: includes a full tank of air, 7mm wetsuit, regulator, bcd, hood, gloves, weights, dive bag.

Progressive Scuba Diving Equipment Rental Package: includes backplate, long hose DIN regulator system, wrist computer or digital bottom timer, tank of air, 7mm wetsuit, hood, gloves, weights, dive bag.

We use only the highest quality and performance rental equipment.  

We pride ourselves on featuring the most modern and progressive scuba equipment available from Halcyon Mfg., Diving Unlimited International, Atomic Aquatics, Dive Rite, Shearwater Research, Fourth Element, Mares Diving, White Arrow, BARE, Santi Diving, Scubapro, Hollis, xDeep, Light & Motion, TUSA, Light Monkey, Zeagle, Stalhsac, Suunto, Problue, Henderson, NeoSport, O’Neill, Pinnacle Aquatics, Oceanic and more.

DDS is DUI’s Canadian Premier Dealer

dui premier dealerOnly Dan’s Dive Shop offers brand new divers or experienced divers the opportunity to scuba dive in the worlds best drysuits…..DUI Drysuits.

We have a full range of most Mens and Ladies standard sized drysuits and underwear, drysuit socks, drysuit fins and more!

Complete your PADI Open Water or PADI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diving Course in a DUI Drysuit, or sign up for a PADI Drysuit Specialty course with us today.  Immerse yourself in comfort and warmth, sign up today.

Progressive Gear Rental with computer: 1-Day $55.  2-Day $75.00 Drysuit rentals $50/day $75/weekend.

Traditional Scuba Equipment Rental:  Jacket bcd/short hose regs (no computer) are available for rent from $45 1-day, $65.00 2-day rental.

We have Underwater Cameras for rent, and SUEX DPV’s for certified technical DPV divers from $50/day and up.

For Technical Divers and our Tech Students we do offer steel and aluminum doubles, stage/deco bottles, sidemount tanks and harnesses, drysuits, rebreathers and supplies.

Compressed Air Fills:

Modified Grade E Breathing Air Fills are offered for scuba diving at only $6.00 & up for DDS VIP member price. $8.00 & Up for non-VIP members.

 We offer SCBA fills, High Pressure air fills for air rifles or paintball tanks and more.

We participate in quarterly air tests to meet all current air purity testing requirements.

“FREE Air Fill” Program

We take pride in helping shape our customers diving careers and nothing gives us a greater sense of accomplishment than seeing our divers aspire to be the best they can be in the water and above the water, so we encourage our clients to dive as often as they can.

We are pleased to offer our most active divers “Free Air” which is another DDS exclusive.
 
Once our DDS Divers reach their annual local diving total of 50 logged dives, we will comp their air fills for the rest of the current dive season.   
 
Must be a cylinder with a current DDS hydro (or purchased from DDS within the last 4 years) and visual inspection sticker. Nitrox divers are also eligible and would only pay for the oxygen or helium, or use of the booster if trans-filling gas.

Gas Blending: Nitrox, Trimix, Argon Fills 

Nitrox, Trimix, Argon Gas fills, Dan's Dive Shop
Gas Blending Air, Nitrox, Trimix, Argon

Oxygen, Trimix, Argon readily available by the cubic foot for mix by Experienced, Certified, Qualified NAUI/PADI/TDI Gas Blenders. Nitrox Fills from $12.00.

Oxygen $0.65/ft3
Argon $0.80/ft3
Helium $1.35/ft3

Hydrostatic Testing:

We are a Transport Canada TC approved Hydrostatic Test Facility offering both SCUBA Tank & SCBA Tank Hydrostatic testing for the Niagara Region and surrounding areas. ($50 and up with VIP and Air Fill). We can handle scuba tanks, paintball tanks, industrial k or t-bottles.

Visual Inspection:

Visuals are done by the Industry’s Leading Inspectors PSI Certified and Trained VIP Inspectors. Tank Visuals From $16.95 includes air fill & new tank neck o-ring. Certified Visual Plus/Visual Eddy – Electronic Eddy Current inspections are done by Factory trained and certified cylinder inspectors on Staff.

Niagara’s Highest Quality Oriented Scuba and SCBA Repairs:

Our regulator repair and BCD repairs are simply the most thorough, professional, honest and complete SCUBA and SCBA repair services offered in the country from the most knowledgeable and experienced service technicians.

scuba repair
Expert Regulator Repairs

We are not a regulator rebuilder. We are highly experienced Service Technicians who have the proper training, experience, manufacturer sanctioned tools, and the repeat traffic into our store to stay proficient at working on your life support breathing apparatus.

We see many of the same regulators year in and year out and never compromise our level of quality in scuba equipment service by using the strictest due diligence.

We only charge for the work we do and we are happy to work on regulators and BCD’s from all brands. After over 60 years collectively between Matt and Dan we have seen it and serviced it all, including Atomic Aquatics, Scubapro, Halcyon, Mares, Diverite, Poseidon, Zeagle, HOG, Oceanic, Aeris, Hollis, Edge, Beuchat, Sherwood, Genesis, Apeks, Aqualung, US Divers, Dacor and more.

Isolation Manifold repair for doubles
Manifold rebuild for doubles

We give you your old parts back to show you we changed the parts we billed you for, so you never get billed for work without us showing you what was done.

Recreational, cave, technical divers have trusted our regulator service work for over 40 years, which is amazing in this ever changing industry where fly-by-night companies come and go on a regular basis. Have peace of mind in knowing Dan’s Dive Shop will be here to service your scuba diving equipment for many years to come.

Shipping Your Gear to Us

Divers ship regulators in from all over Canada and seek out our expertise. There simply is no one more experienced to whom to send your regulators, so you might as well ship them to us.  We service every major brand of regulator and do the best work in the business. 

Oxygen Cleaning

Oxygen cleaning of tanks, regulators, manifolds, Oxygen clean systems, rebreathers and all scuba related items are something we do quite a lot of to ensure you get the cleanest, safest equipment possible.

Drysuit Repairs

DDS Drysuit repairs
Quality Drysuit Repairs

We do Quality Drysuit Repairs to all makes and models of drysuit.  Our store staff are DUI factory trained and authorized drysuit repair technicians, or we can send your suit in handling all of the issues with freight, duty and brokerage ourselves, saving you time and money.

Suits can/will be sent out to the appropriate manufacture for factory authorized service to maintain your suit warranty.

Only DDS offers a FREE Loaner DUI drysuit for our DUI Owners who have purchased their DUI Drysuits from us as a courtesy.  We offer the same courtesy on Santi Drysuits as well.

We even have multiple change rooms for comfort, privacy and convenience of trying on our high quality exposure suits, swim wear and more.

 

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Dan’s Dive Shop pioneer of Progressive Scuba Diving Courses and Equipment Sales

Vintage Diver Dan 1970’s

Established in 1974 by Dan Mandziuk, Dan’s Dive Shop has shared the adventure of scuba diving in Niagara, Ontario for over forty years.  We are Canada’s innovator of higher level progressive scuba diving education in Recreational, Cave & Technical Scuba Diving instruction and a purveyor of the highest quality scuba diving equipment in recreational, cave and technical diving. 

At DDS we are known for offering the highest level of scuba diving education at every single level of training we offer.

We teach many of our scuba diving courses locally in Niagara, however, we also teach abroad anywhere our students want us to be, which includes other cities, provinces, states and even countries.

Matt Mandziuk carry’s on the legacy of DDS with Progressive Gear & Courses

Not Just Niagara….Dan’s is totally mobile and we are able to teach scuba courses anywhere we can drive to or fly into.  We’ve taught students from all over the world who have sought out the best scuba diving education and we have delivered time and time again.

We’ve taught students from every province in Canada, a number of the US States and other countries.  

We attract a large number of students from the greater Hamilton area, as well as Burlington, Oakville, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo,  Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.  Northern Ontario is a popular destination for us to teach in as well as we can cover Sudbury, Espanola, Little Current, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and much more with the utilization of eLearning, Skype, FaceTime or Podcasts, with watermanship sessions held in the most convenient locations possible, especially for our students in Northern Ontario.

Unmatched Retail Shopping

Shop with us Online

We are proud to offer Canada’s Largest Inventory and selection of scuba diving equipment from the top brands in the industry.  

We carry the largest selection of scuba and snorkeling equipment offering the highest quality snorkeling equipment, wetsuits, as well as swimwear and metal detectors.

Our pricing is the  most competitive and we offer you the best pricing and service guaranteed on all the scuba gear we sell.   We will not be undersold.

Customers from all over North American and abroad shop our online dive store regularly for the best deals on scuba and snorkeling equipment, as well as expert drysuit sales and service.

Why pay more buying gear from your local dive shop or buying it out of the U.S. when we guarantee you better pricing, equipment choices and service?

We take away the hassle of crossing the border, paying duty or brokerage fees, or expensive shipping.  Let us do the work for you and get the best gear at the best price.  Email or call us for a gear quote.

Fun and memorable dive trips

We love diving locally around the Great Lakes and surrounding areas.

We honestly believe that we have the best diving in the world right here in Ontario and some of the other coastal provinces (Quebec, BC., Nova Scotia and Newfoundland to name a few), so we are pleased to offer both local and down south scuba diving trips and excursions to cater to divers who like diving in any environment warm or cold.

Experience a fun day charter, a fun filled weekend trip out of town diving  the great local Canadian sites, U.S. sites, or join us for a week or more doing some further more exotic scuba diving destinations on one of our dive travel trips around the world. 

We run amazing trips South as well!  We routinely run trips to Micronesia, Mexico, Honduras, Florida, Bahamas and many other warm water destinations too.

Count on our team

Get to know our great team of staff and instructors who are all active and constantly learning divers. We love what we do and are always looking for like minded people to join our dive team.

The majority of our dive team are local Niagara area Divers, with some of our team covering the Toronto and Burlington regions. If you want to learn to dive using a different philosophy that focuses on diver comfort, development of foundation skills, team diving with the ability to go anywhere you could possibly imagine in scuba, the possibilities are endless here at DDS.

E-Learning at your pace

Whether you’re just starting out or are already certified –  PADI’s eLearning is a flexible and convenient way to take more dive courses online at your pace. Sign up and get started right away with the instructional videos and interactive learning modules. Register Dan’s Dive Shop as your local PADI Dive Centre when you sign up and you can come in any time to ask us questions about what you’re learning. 

Active in our local community

We’re involved with many charities and events such as: Project Aware Foundation, We Are Water Project, Dive For A Cure, United Way, Terry Fox Foundation, Race Against Autism, Old Timers Hockey, St. Catharines and Welland Rotary Clubs, Grimsby Auxiliary Marine Rescue Unit, as well as local hospitals, police departments, fire departments,  schools and many other organizations.

Experience the difference

Come in and see the difference we can make in your diving career. It’s fun, challenging and you’ll get a lot more out of this sport with the right store backing you in the right gear with the right skill and techniques.

Let us help you become the best diver you can be – join Dan’s Dive Shop and Divers Edge training. 

See you in the water!