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La Palapa Marina

#16 Airport Boulevard
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
T: +1-721-545 3213

Mon to Sat 9am to 5pm
(Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays)

Tender Dock available
behind the shop!





Buying Tips

Buying Tips for Scuba Gear

The Regulator


The Regulator
Going into the specifications that distinguish the two basic differences between regulators is quite a technical story. So we’ll keep it simple here: there are Un-Balanced and Balanced Regulators.

Un-Balanced Regulators are usually very durable and easy to maintain and service (by an authorized service centre). This is a great regulator for dive centres; however, with a few exceptions, they should only be used when diving to a max depth of 60ft with nice easy profile dive conditions.

Balanced Regulators, which come in several balancing techniques, make breathing underwater very light and easy – giving you all the air you demand when you demand it, like swimming against a current or at greater depths. They are also great for cold and/or dirty water diving.

When choosing a regulator you also want to consider the following:

Number of Ports - how many low and high pressure ports do you need
Weight - do you prefer a light weight, luggage friendly Regulator
Anti Dry Mouth - do you want one that has the anti dry mouth feature
Adjustable Air Flow - do you want to be able to adjust the inhalation effort during your dive
Pre-Dive Setting - do you need a Regulator that has a pre-dive/ dive setting
Exhaust Size - do you want a model that keeps the bubbles out of your face
Small Mouth - do you need one that fits a small mouth.

There are even Regulators that “have it all”!

Our sales staff can work with you to make sure that you get the features that are important to you.

The Buoyancy Compensating Device (BCD)
Within the range of BCDs available on today’s market, most models have integrated weight pockets so you don’t have to wear a weight belt around your waist. Instead of the hard weights you put soft weights in the integrated pockets – making diving much more comfortable. Only the basic BCD models, often used by dive centres, do not have integrated weights. Some BCDs also have little balancing weight pockets on the back, next to the tank, for a more comfortable position underwater.

When buying a BCD you want to consider what type of air cell you prefer.
Jacket Style BCDs - have the air wrapped around you, ideal for beginner to intermediate divers as they have great vertical stability at the surface. These BCD’s also have big pockets for storage.
Inflation BCDs - have the air in ‘wings’ around the tank, leaving the chest streamlined, giving a better horizontal position under water; however this same feature can push your face forward into the water on the surface, therefore these BCD’s are considered ideal for intermediate to advanced divers.

Other things to consider when buying a BCD are:

Integrated Octopus - you can replace the standard BCD inflator mechanism on your BCD with one that is both and Octopus and a BCD inflator, like the Scubapro Air2 or the AquaLung Airsource. The advantage of doing this is that you can streamline your Regulator set-up which is great for wreck and cave diving.
Accessory Attachment Points - how many D-rings you need to attach accessories such as Fish ID cards, safety sausages, dive lights et cetera, whether you want these in plastic or stainless steel and whether you need grommets to attach your dive knife to your BCD.
Lift - it is important that you choose a BCD with the correct amount of lifting capability for your most common dive scenario.

At The Scuba Shop we stock BCDs for children, ergonomically shaped BCDs specifically for women (ever so comfortable) and extra, extra big BCD’s for those with a little extra padding.

In our shop you not only get to touch and feel the BCD’s, but you get to try on all the different models.

For Instruments click here to browse our Buying Tips for Dive Computers

Click here for Maintenance and Cleaning Tips


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