Guide in Buying a Dive Compass

Getting lost is probably the worst thing that can happen to anyone, but nothing beats getting lost underwater. With your life depending on the content of your scuba tank, not being able to resurface in time could be fatal. Good enough if you have a dive buddy. So, whether you're a noob or a pro, be sure to carry a compass when diving. This will also make it easier to navigate underwater. With a wide selection of  dive compass available, however, you need to choose the right equipment.

Can you use a land compass instead? It's not recommended. A land and underwater compass are built differently and designed for different purposes. Most land compass are likely to crack with the water pressure under the ocean. With that said, shop for the right dive compass.

Ever tried searching for a dive compass online? Most of the search returns will show dive computers, which is kind of confusing. The thing is dive computers actually refer to a digital compass where every information you need to navigate underwater is provided. This includes when and how long you can dive, and how much gas is left in your tank. Neat, huh? The only downside of a digital compass is that you must calibrate the first time you use it to get the right measurements. Otherwise, your bearing will be off. Experts also recommend for a recalibration every time a battery is changed.

An analog compass, on the other hand, may be a primitive version, but you can use it out of the box. No need to calibrate it, which saves you time and trouble. It won't run out of battery either, simply because it doesn't use one. The downside of using analog, however, is that you need to learn how to read it, which isn't always easy compared to when you're reading a digital display.

Consider its size

Ideally, you should buy a compass that you can easily read under various visibility conditions. While most of them come in standard sizes, go for something a bit larger, so you won't have to stare really hard at it just to confirm the bearing. When you go shopping, take into account the reduction of visibility after you put on your mask as well as the conditions of the water.

Know its tilt tolerance

What's the use of a compass if it will only work when you hold it absolutely flat? This is why you should buy one that won't get stuck when titled way down or up, left or right. You should take note that most compass with a high tilt tolerance tend to be thicker, which will affect its weight.

Check how it will be mounted

compass strapped on the wrist like a watch is probably the best choice, as you only need to bring your arm towards you when taking a reading. If you opt for a dive computer, however, you will have to deal with a 2-in-1 combination of a pressure gauge and compass. Although reading is easier, navigating on the water might be a bit of a drag due to the bulk of the equipment.

Using these factors as the basis for your choice, it will be easier to buy a dive compass. Now all you need to think about is learning how to use it, with or without a dive buddy or instructor.


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