Scubapro UPF Collection – Because Knowledge is Power



Pick up your UPF today at The Playground Dive Shop

We all know why we should protect ourselves from the sun. At its most basic, a sunburn hurts. And then it itches, and then it unattractively peels. But there are far more serious long-term consequences to exposing your unprotected skin to the sun.  Start with premature skin aging and wrinkling. Also, UV (ultraviolet) radiation has been identified as a proven human carcinogen by both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization, and it is considered the main cause of numerous skin cancers. What’s more, UV radiation can suppress your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off disease.

Divers Need Even More Protection
So if you’re going to be outside, you really need to protect yourself. And this is especiallyUPF 80 Walking true if you’re at the beach, or in the water. The sun’s rays reflect off water, as well as off beach sand, and even off the tiled surfaces of a swimming pool deck. Also, when you’re in the water you often don’t feel the heat of the sun on your skin, so you might not realize your bare skin is burning. You can avoid damaging your skin by being sun-safe. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends limiting UV exposure by wearing special sun-protective clothing. This is clothing that is designed specifically to prevent UV radiation from penetrating the fabric and damaging your skin.\

You’re in the tropics, going diving, the sun is shining, and your arms and shoulders are beginning to burn. You can reach for a T-shirt, but that’s really no protection. That’s because not all clothing is created equal. The tightness of the weave, the weight, the type of fiber, the color and the amount of skin the clothing covers all affect the amount of protection a garment provides. What the clothing is made of matters. Fabrics such as unbleached cotton contain special pigments called lignins that act as UV absorbers. High-luster polyesters and even thin, satiny silk can be highly protective because they reflect radiation. Even if the piece of clothing has a good UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), what you do while wearing it can also make a difference. If the fabric gets stretched, it will lose some of its protective capability because it becomes thinner and more transparent to light. And once it gets wet, it can lose up to 50% of its UPF.

The smarter solution, for protection from the sun and for fashion-forward styling, is to wear a SCUBAPRO rash guard.


UPF COLLECTION: Designed to Perform
The Best Fabrics: when it comes to blocking UV rays, T-shirt-type cotton is among the worst, while polyester and nylon are among the best. SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection rash guards are made from a choice of polyester, nylon or a nylon/spandex blend.
The Smartest Designs: The more skin you can cover, the better. SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection rash guards come in short sleeve, long sleeve and also full-body styling, with high collars to protect the vulnerable neck area.
The Highest UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) Rating: UPF ratings measure the amount of UV radiation that a fabric blocks. SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection rash guards have been tested for their effectiveness at blocking UV rays. All are considered to be in the “Excellent” protection category.

Boat UPF 50
UPF Ratings: What it Means
The sun produces two primary UV rays that are problematic for your skin: UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, UVB rays burn the superficial layers. Both damage skin cells, contribute to premature aging of the skin, and cause skin cancer.

UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) and SPF (Sun Protection Factor) are both standards used to measure the effects of the sun on your skin. However, they employ different approaches.

SPF ratings are indications of the level of skin reddening; they are used primarily to measure sunscreen.

UPF ratings indicate how much of the sun’s UV radiation a fabric is able to block, and, in turn, how long a person wearing UV protective clothing can remain exposed to the sun without suffering skin damage.

A typical T-shirt has a UPF of 5 to 7 when dry, and less than half that when wet. Your average rash guard designed with UV blocking properties normally has a UPF rating of 20 to 30 when dry, and less when wet.

All of SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection rash guards have a UV rating of UPF 50 or above. A garment with a rating of UPF 50 blocks 98% of UV radiation. However, even these specially designed UV-blocking rash guards lose a bit of their sun protection when they get wet.

That’s what makes SCUBAPRO’s new UPF 80 T-Flex rash guards so special. These top-of-line rash guards not only block out 99% of both UVA and UVB radiation, the highest UV protection rating available in the industry, they provide this protection whether they are wet or dry.


How Clothing is Tested
To determine the UV protection of dive wear, standardized measuring methods are used, normally on dry and/or new gear. UPF ratings above 50 are considered to be in the “Excellent” Protection Category. All of SCUBAPRO’s UPF Collection are rated 50 or above.

• UPF 50 equates to 1/50, which means only 1 unit of UV out of 50 is able to penetrate the fabric, or 49 out of 50 are blocked. 49 is 98% of 50. So SCUBAPRO’s UPF 50 rash guards block 98% of UV.

073A0491Going Above & Beyond
However, SCUBAPRO’s new top-of-the-line T-Flex rash guards take UV protection to the next level. This category of dive wear is tested using the UV Standard 801which tests fabrics in their “worst-case” scenario. In other words, in real world conditions of use – wet and stretched — two stress factors that can adversely affect a fabric’s protective qualities. Garments that pass these stringent tests are labeled with a coveted UV Standard 801 UPF 80 tag, assuring users of the ultimate in quality and UV protection. This means, wet or dry, you have the peace of mind knowing we’ve got you protected.

• UPF 80 equates to 1/80, with only 1 unit of UV out of 80 able to penetrate the fabric. Or, 79 of 80 units are blocked. 79 is about 99% of 80. So SCUBAPRO’s UPF 80 T-Flex blocks about 99% of UV.


So How Does All This Translate into Time in the Sun?
• Skin Types differ, but if we focused on a diver with Skin Type I (very fair skin, blonde/red hair, blue eyes), wearing no protection, she could remain in the sun for only 5 to 10 minutes before starting to burn.
• If this person was wearing a basic T-shirt (UPF 5), she could stay in the sun for between 25 and 50 minutes before starting to burn.
• If she were to switch to a basic rash guard (UPF 20), her safe in-the-sun time could be extended to approximately 1.5 to 3 hours.
• However, if she were to wear a SCUBAPRO UPF 50 Rash Guard, her time in the sun could be more than doubled, up to approximately 8 hours.
• Even better, wearing a SCUBAPRO UPF 80 T-Flex Rash Guard, wet or dry, she would have the peace of mind knowing her skin was protected for up to approximately 13 hours.

Clearly, what you wear makes a difference.
T-shirt: 25 to 50 minutes of protection.
T-Flex: 13 hours of protection – wet or dry.
When it comes to your skin, which are you going to choose? Pick-up your UPF at The Playground Dive Shop.



Snapped – Journey as I learn U/W still photography.

Part 1: Caught a bug because of a slug.

This is a series of blogs, Snapped, portraying my journey into underwater photography. I hope you find it interesting and informative as you join me on my journey into underwater photography.

$_58I bought my first underwater camera in 2006, a Sealife Reef Master film camera packaged in a bright yellow Pelican case from the dive shop Cape Fear Divers.  I was about to do my first ocean dive, and the sum of my prior dive experience being 4 open water check-out dives at Beaver Lake. Soon I would be taking the plunge off North Carolina’s shark infested coastline and dive the Hyde & Markham wrecks.  I was super excited and nervous as I climbed aboard the ship with all my rented equipment except the mask, fin, snorkel, boots and new camera.


Having attached my camera to a lanyard, hooked on the rental BC,  I descended down the mooring line on our second dive. The sediment opened up about 35 feet down and below me, spread out on the ocean floor, was the Hyde shipwreck.  Cruising around the rusty metal ship carcass were 3 sand tiger sharks.  Seeing I was in no danger I reached for my camera and it was floating above me still attached by the lanyard.


In 2007, I was headed to Turks and Caicos and 2 weeks before my trip, my land camera bit the dust. Shooting film was difficult because you were not able to see your images right away so I decided to invest in a new camera.  Digital photography cameras for underwater were becoming more reasonably priced. I had Best Buy opened in one web browser and Ikelite in another.  I found the best camera I could afford and housing to go with it. My upgrade was a Canon Elf with an Ikelite Housing.

Related: Ikelite

The point-and-shoot Canon did a fantastic job until I forgot it was in my life jacket a year so so later and I went swimming without the housing.  The Elf never recovered.  I purchased my 2nd Sealife camera,  DC1200 w/strobe.  The result was much better for underwater images when I learned about white balance and using the strobe for light-until I blinded a seahorse because my strobe was turned up too high and he screamed in pain!

Soon there was a new craze in the dive industry.  It was called the Gopro.  Never intended for diving, Gopro created a waterproof camera for racing, biking, skiing.  Diving caught the company off guard and became a huge market source for their powerful video cameras.  It took several months before Gopro products and accessories before market and after market could catch-up to the dive industry needs.

After waiting a while to see how performance of the Gopro would turn out, I got on the Gopro bandwagon.  My purchase was a Hero 3 Black and later I added the touchback screen.  This camera served me well over the next 3 years.  I added underwater filters to bring color and contrast back into my underwater videos. These colors are lost as we descend in the ocean, starting with red, which is why these filters are red (blueish water) or magenta (greenish water).

Through practice my underwater videos were improving immensely.  I started to get addicted making underwater adventure video’s using the Gopro Studio Software.  I also learned how to pull still images from the video clips which is a huge benefit over shooting a still when you are underwater.

Related: Playground Dive Shop Video Channel


On a past trip to Cayman Islands, as I dove with my Gopro, I met a group of photographers who had professional cameras.  I saw my first Painted Elysia. At a size range from .5-1 inch, these slugs were amazing and beautiful.  My Gopro would never capture such image.  The desire for macro photography started to build from that moment on.

RELATED: Painted Elysia

Due to the fact I was a dive instructor, I was unable to take any type of photography equipment with me as I taught.  Recently however, as our shop has grown and our instructional staff is also growing, I decided it was time to chase my passion.

Coming Soon: Snapped Part 2, An arm & a leg


Why Advanced Open Water will make you a better diver.

I am a firm believer of con-ed.  Not just in scuba diving, but in all aspects of life. Everyday we introduce ourselves with new experiences often without realizing it.  New restaurant, new fashion, new songs… How much more important is it to keeps our minds active and growing?

In relating it to our dive training it is huge! We are learning to survive in an environment our body was not made to live in – unless you’re a mermaid of course.  There is always something new we can learn. In open water you are so focused on just breathing you sometimes miss absorbing some of the other material covered in your training.   Advanced open water is not just for advanced divers.  In a series of 5 dives it is a way to introduce yourself to different “adventure” dives and learn new skills or apply skill concepts you started to build, in the open water course.  You are taking classes with certified instructors who keep you in a safe environment while honing your skills.

DIVE DIVE DIVE – to keep fresh you must use your skills often.  Think about the time and effort you put into your diver education.  Why let that lapse.  The Playground Dive Shop encourages divers to come and dive with us on our local trips to Beaver Lake as well as our fun exotic trips to Florida or places outside of the US.

Related: Travel

Sometimes it isn’t always feasible to head to Beaver Lake for training, so we have put together a series of clinics or boot camps,  designed to update and refine your dive skills.  We have also created discover dives for the pool to introduce interesting new equipment to try out: full face mask and dry suit, side mount.

Related: Clinics

I feel it is important for me personally as well as for the staff at the Playground Dive Shop.  I have currently been studying photography both underwater and surface.  Will be posting a blog soon regarding skill development and cameras for Underwater 17807440_10155339045066042_2751059933483125221_oPhotography.

We had several of our instructional staff partake in PADI’s forum where we keep up-to- date on new materials and teaching methods.


Our staff also completed the repair technician course hosted by Scubapro from beginner 18359299_292010554583478_2779596424181795391_orepair clinics, as well as our Experienced Technicians complete the advanced courses.  We renew these certifications every 2 years to keep current.



Austin Reed the retail guru of the Playground Dive Shop escaped the confines of the shop floor and completed PADI Rescue Diver certification over the Memorial Weekend.  His journey will continue as he works toward his Master Diver Rating.  He holds the PADI Fish ID and his goals for finishing up his specialties are: Nitrox, Boat, Deep, Wreck.


The Playground is excited to present the 2 newest instructional dive staff “Dive Masters”: Jeff White & Mike Sharp


Still advancing to the next level is Dive Master(s) Krista Block and Cathi Christina as they pursue their journey to Assistant Instructor (AI) then onto instructor!

All this started with Advanced.  Not settling for just the basic open water-improving, honing, learning.  Diving is a passion.  It is a lifestyle.  It is your PADI and can take you to new places, new experiences, new friends!

Are you ready for your next adventure?

Related: Advanced


Overtaxed and under pressure, how to keep out of dangerous situation.

We just spent a long weekend diving in the Florida Keys and I learned a valuable lesson I felt I should pass on to our readers.  There never were any serious issues but in my mind I could see how things may have turned out differently.  This experience re-enforced in me on how proper training can improve the safety factor when diving. New gear configurements can be taxing if you’re not prepared.

Let me set the scene for you. The boat rocked heavily as we journeyed to the massive Speigal Grove shipwreck.  Weather issues made the dives more challenging with 3-5 foot waves, 25 foot of viz, and 18 knot winds.   Stomachs lurched as much as the expertly driven Odyssey as we approached the buoy marking our descent line.   As an experienced dive instructor with over 1000 dives under my belt, it was my first time diving the Keys and 2nd time exploring the ocean with my new camera system.

RELATED: Underwater Photography Class

The majority of my ocean dives have been spent using a compact GoPro camera system. These are easy to handle and do a decent job of point and shoot video/pictures.  Wanting to step up my Macro game, I had invested in an underwater housing made by Nauticam for my Nikon D810 camera.  This system is much bigger and bulkier then my Gopro and brought in an entirely different dynamic when diving.



We were lucky when we arrived at our spot, the waves were not as forecast 5-7 ft. but were only 3-5 ft which made a huge difference in getting off and on the boat.  Also there was very little current at depth.  I took my camera and housing on the first dive but due to the poor visibility refrained from taking it on the 2nd dive.  The afternoon dive was similar as we poured over French Reef but we experienced a lot of surge.  Despite the poor viz and surge, I was super pleased with the camera’s performance.


The next day (Saturday), the  wind was even stronger and the dives were cancelled. I had already decided I wasn’t going to dive and could just use a day to relax.  We scheduled an afternoon Everglade Nature Tour and had a marvelous time exploring the Everglades on an air-boat looking for alligators and other wildlife.keys-12

RELATED: Everglade Nature Tours

Sunday approached rapidly. Bright-n-early at 6am we were on the way to Key West for an excursion to dive the USNS Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the 2nd largest artificial reef in the world. We chose one of the best outfits to dive with Captain’s Corner. Needless to say we were all excited for diving the Vandenberg as none of us had ever had the pleasure of diving on it. After having poor and cancelled dives the rest of the week, we hoped to salvage at least one super day of diving.

Amazing is the only way to describe the next several hours as we bounced  back to back dives on the Vandenberg.  We arrived to no current and 80 ft viz.  The site was full of boats so our captain decided to let us free descend to the lines below.  As there was no current we would treat our ascent as a drift dive and he would pick us up on any of the lines coming off the ship.

_DSC3961-639610064789 x 4173

The dive was simply splendid.  Watching our bottom time carefully, we made sure not to get into deco time and came up with plenty of air in our tank and time left to spare. Here is where the dive became challenging.

When drift diving, you deploy a SMB Surface Marker Buoy or as we call it a “safety sausage” letting boats around you know there is a diver below and to make sure your boat can find you.  Having the huge dive housing as part of my kit was never made into my dive plan, while using a safety sausage.  I found myself on the ascent line with the housing strapped to my BC trying to keep other divers from kicking the dome.  I was fumbling with my sausage removing from the “d-ring” then working on inflating it and releasing the thumb spool of line.  Watching the familiar tube rise to the surface made me think how lucky I was at that moment.  There was no current.  There was great visibility. I had managed my air and time sufficiently to handle any issues. Thankfully none materialized.  But it could have been much different blog entry.  The camera housing size, creates a new dynamic, I will need to learn for future diving.   The pictures are incredible and worth the time to learn.

I hope this post will help you stop and think about your own gear configuration and any changes you make or equipment you change, what impact will be on your next dive trip.  If you like what you see on our pictures remember we will be returning to the Florida Keys in late November and have plenty of room for you to join us. It is imperative you keep your dive skills fresh by diving as much as you can as well as participating in continuing education programs.

See: Florida Trip

Enjoy photography?  Submit your photos in our photo contest to win trip voucher and other cool prizes.

See: Photo Contest

How To Overcome Pressure Before Your Next Dive.

On a recent dive trip part of our dive team had a thought provoking situation that could have ended rather badly.  It’s important to know sometimes the experts are not always expert and learn to trust your training and skills and not be pressured to do things against your better judgment.

One thing I have noticed is divers love to share their experience and wisdom of what they have discovered in diving.  Sometimes it can be information such as a favorite dive site in Bonaire or a favorite piece of Scubapro gear. Perhaps a helpful warning of an unpleasant travel experience can also be a great tip such as give plenty of time to catch connecting flights at certain airports and why it’s a good idea for trip insurance.

Related: Dive Bonaire

Most divers I believe feel exhilarated and a little nervous when diving a new spot.  We are taught during our open water training when at a new dive area, hiring a guide is recommended. Local guides generally know of any hazards and typically where the most interesting dive spots are more likely to be found.

We had been in the water just two weeks prior to this trip so our dive skills were fresh and our wetsuits had barely dried when we loaded up the car for our next adventure.

The dive conditions were similar to our last bit of diving in regards to temperatures so gear configuration was not going to change.  At the dive resort, however the dive guides convinced our divers due to the destination, more weight was needed.

Our divers questioned the reasoning and physics behind this extra weight and the guides were rather adamant about how the diving here was different and required the extra weight.  Against what they felt was correct they accepted the advice of the resident expert dive guide and added 8-10 more pounds to their BC.  They had a horrible dive, were super over weighted resulting in burned air like crazy.

Experts are usually experts in their field but sometimes they don’t have all the information or are generalizing based up on past experiences.  Doesn’t make them right.  As a diver YOU are the one responsible for yourself.  Ultimately you have the final say in diving.  Don’t let others talk you into doing something you know doesn’t sound correct.  My friends really didn’t think they should add the extra weight but the guide really insisted.

Playing the devil’s advocate, the guide was probably used to warm water divers who typically don’t wear 7mm suits, hoods and gloves.  Most warm water divers don’t realize how buoyant a 7mm wetsuit really is. Complacency can be very dangerous when dealing with depths and diving.  The dive guide was probably not paying as much attention as he should have when he was told same gear configuration as 2 weeks ago.

When we lowered the weights on the divers, the diving became more fun, and air management much easier.  It is very important as divers to know and trust your training.  Listen to your dive briefs and make informed smart decisions about the dives. If your dive guide tells you something that doesn’t sound right, question them to make sure you understand, and perhaps get a second opinion.  Again it is you who are diving and you’re responsible for yourself.

Related: Buoyancy Clinic

The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy class is a great course to help fine tune your diving.  Also the Playground Dive Shop offers Buoyancy Clinics which spend 2 hours focusing on your buoyancy in the pool.  These are great tools you can utilize in winter months to keep your skills fresh.  They also allow you the opportunity to tune your buoyancy with different types of scuba gear and wetsuits.

Room full of luggage

How to lighten your load not your pocket book (Part 2 – Packrat)

How to lighten your load not your pocketbook Part 1: Research

Part 2: Getting Rid of the Pack Rat

Vacation is just around the corner and it is so exciting to envision yourself on the beach with palm trees and the ocean lapping at your feet until you realize it’s time to start packing.  What should I take?  Traveling to exotic destinations is not like living in your local suburb where there is a Wal-Mart on every corner and plenty of Dollar Stores everywhere.  Time to really focus in on the ‘nitty gritty’.  Most people over pack.  When carrying your personal dive gear you may find the 50 lb. limit on your luggage fairly quickly but you want to make sure you have equipment tailored to you and you’re familiar with-after all this is why you invested in your gear.

This past year I have seen new equipment coming out and I hope to focus a future blog on purchasing travel gear but for this blog my focus is on the packing portionstop.  I am assuming you have read Part 1 – Research, if not stop there and read it before proceeding.   If you are still reading I know you’re ready for step 2.  Getting rid of your inner pack rat. I consider dive gear in two parts – dive gear and dive accessories.  The first part of the blog will focus primarily on the dive gear you need to take and how best to pack and carry it. It is focused on a single diver, but if your packing as a couple double the numbers.

Invest in a small portable luggage scale.   You can find them on Amazon as low as $10.  Weigh your luggage so you now have a baseline for packing. Layout on your floor or bed the following items:


  • BCDluggage-scale-550x402.png
  • MASK
  • FINS



Take the time to inspect all the items to make sure there is nothing malfunctioning.  Replenish all items that may have been used previously in your Save-A-Dive kit.  Charge all electronics the day or night before you leave if possible. If you have any other suggestions, let me know what they are.

Somehow it is easy to get the dive gear but more complicated when deciding what clothing and toiletries we place into our suitcase. Most resorts have towels, shampoo, soap –  no need to pack them.  Check with your travel mate / roommate and split some of the items. Here is my suggested list for packing:


  • SWIMSUITS (2-3)
  • SHORTS(2)
  • T-SHIRTS / TANK TOPS (2-3)
  • WALKING SHOES /SOCKS  (1) /BEACH SHOES (1)   choose one for the travel day~less to pack
  • LIGHT WIND/RAIN JACKET (1)  ~ consider wearing this on the plane if you get cold easily
  • UNDERWEAR (3-4)
  • HAT (1)
  • SWIM COVER optional (1)
  • TOOTH PASTE (1 per room)
  • IMMODIUM (1 per room)
  • ASPRIN / ADVIL (1 per room)
  • ALOE / BURN RELEIF (1 per room)
  • DETANGLER (1 per room)
  • HAIRBRUSH (1) / HAIR TIES  (3)
  • RAZOR (1)
  • LIP Balm (1)
  • Bug Spray (1 per room)

This list may be significantly limited to what you normally pack but in my opinion it is very generous.  First off, ladies you are on vacation and a dive vacation at that.  You don’t need a lot of make-up.  Simply waterproof mascara and eyeliner will go a long way.  Most people purchase souvenir t-shirts while on vacation which is why I recommend only 2-luggage stuffing3 max shirts to take with you.  You will also have the clothes available you wear down during the week.  Remember you will be in the water almost all day so utilizing a few items previously worn will not hurt. You can wash out your clothes in the sink and wear them again as needed some places have laundry service too.  Figure out what shoes are best for your airport trip and what you don’t wear to the airport pack in your suitcase ~ tennis shoes are much heavier in your luggage and are very bulky so consider wearing them.

In your carry-on bag pack the following:

  • Regulator/Consoleatm
  • Mask (if prescription)
  • Camera / batteries
  • Log book /cert card
  • seasick medicine
  • flashlight / batteries charger
  • immodium
  • asprin / advil
  • hairbrush

Basically anything you may need on the first day after you arrive, you want to carry with you in case your luggage doesn’t show up.  I have lately begun to pack my regulator but for years, I always carried it with me.  Lithium batteries should be carried on and anytime you are traveling with batteries, try to keep them in a closed and secure package preferably unopened.  Some countries won’t let you carry them on if they have been opened.

In your checked bag pack the following:

  • bcd
  • fins

    Make sure your passport is with you for all parts of your travel. Also most places require the passport be current and not within 6 months expiration.
  • snorkel
  • boots
  • safety sausage w/reel
  • wetsuit
  • boat bag
  • rashguards
  • dive socks
  • drybag
  • reef safe sunscreen
  • bug spray
  • save-a-dive kit
  • swimsuits
  • shorts
  • t-shirts
  • underwear
  • sleepwear
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • make-up & remover
  • aloe/burn relief
  • detangler
  • razor
  • deodorant

Use your fins as support side walls for your luggage to protect everything inside.  Next place your BC in the bag.  I would advise unbuckling shoulder straps to allow it fold down smaller.  Roll up all clothing items and you can use it to pad sensitive areas in your luggage such as the AIR2 on your BC.  Any liquid items I try to put in a ziploc including bug spray and sunscreen in case of leakage. You can store your dive boots or rolled clothing items in your fin pockets too.

To conclude my travel list I want to stress a few things.  #1 Packing during the summer 3_19_1months vs winter months will create a bit of a change because you are most likely leaving a colder climate for a warmer climate.  Pack in layers and leave big bulky coats, gloves and boots back in your c

ar.  #2 One thing I take everywhere I travel is my water bottle.  Once through security lines, you can fill it at a water fountain. Many places you travel, the water could be unfit for consumption, so it is nice to have your own refillable water bottle.  Make sure you have one with a clip to attach to your backpack or carry-on bag.  Bringing snacks and cards for lengthy airport waits is also advisable.

Packing for serious dive photography is a whole other ballgame.  A great blog from one of my diver friends is here with tips on traveling with bigger cameras.

Related: Photography Travel

Scuba Jenn Photograph by Doug George

Following these steps you will find your bag is streamlined and your pocket book is not dented from the excessive baggage fees.  Let me know what other suggestions you may have that work for you.



How to lighten your load not your pocketbook

Part 1: Research

Learning to scuba dive opens a whole new world and exotic destinations you can explore. Traveling to dive resorts can represent challenges when trying to figure out what to take and what to leave behind. Airline baggage fees are expensive and can result in a nasty surprise when you go to check-in and find you owe another $75 for your luggage being 5 lbs. overweight.  This past dive to Cozumel I received a compliment from our taxi driver how light my dive buddy Krista and I packed for a week long trip:  1 bag each plus a back pack we used for a carry-on.  This is part 1 in a series on scuba travel and how not to over-pack.

Best place to start when you have a dive trip planned is personal research.  Are your dive skills fresh?  Did your regulator make a whistle or was hard to breath last time you dove? Please have your gear checked at least a month prior to your trip and make sure you have followed the manufacturers service guidelines.  Scubapro recommends your regulator to be serviced every two years or 100 dives to maintain the warranty.   If possible contact the Playground Dive Shop to see about a review/refresher course to both refresh your skills and test your dive gear.

The week prior to leaving, your next step to packing is with your computer by researching. Google the destination and find out local dive conditions, water temperatures, current/upcoming weather patterns and/or even contact your resort for recommendations on wet suits, attire at the resort etc.  Also research your airline to find out size and weight restrictions.  I carry the Delta American Express Sky-miles card which costs $90 annually but I get 1 free checked bag each way up to 9 persons on my itinerary.  On a recent trip to Cozumel this saved our group $450.

Related: Delta American Express

Once you have researched your data for the trip, the next step is to choose the gear best suited for your dive destination.

My next part will cover the perfect gear to pack for your dive trip!