Have you ever lost a piece of expensive dive gear? As divers we all experience this at one point or another. I remember how frustrated I was when I lost a reel on a dive in the Keys. I saw it fall off of my rig and sink to the bottom, powerless to stop it. $125.00 dollars lost…
If this has happened to you, then you are definitely going to want to read on because we are about to go over a few simple steps you can take to ensure that you never lose another piece of expensive dive gear again.
Why You Need to Clip Off Your Gear
As divers we carry multiple pieces of gear. Things like primary and backup flashlights, compasses, submersible marker buoys, reels, whistles, cutting tools, etc. The list is long.
Because we carry so much gear with us, it is essential that we clip off every piece of equipment that we take with us into the water. The reasons could not be clearer.
First, dive gear is expensive and none of us want to lose our hard-earned equipment.
Second, clipping off our gear is important to protect the underwater environment. By making sure that our gear is both clipped off and snugly stowed away near our bodies and in pockets when we dive, we are ensuring the survival of the underwater environment that we so dearly love.
We are all familiar with danglies. It is the term used by divers to describe hanging gear. Maybe you’ve seen them on your own dives. You are swimming and you look at another diver who has an octopus or maybe a flashlight hanging low off of their BCD. Maybe you’ve even seen this gear clumsily crashing into a reef or wreck as you cringe in disbelief.
At Greatdivers we take the protection of the underwater environment VERY seriously. Because of this we teach all of our students how to properly stow away equipment so that it does not dangle and cause damage to the fragile underwater environment.
Over the years we have tried several things to stow gear to our BCDs but have found that tire inner tubes tend work extremely well. All you have to do is take a used tire inner tube (I got an old one from a local bike shop for free) and cut it into strips and use it to affix things like lights to the shoulder straps of your BCD.
Please check out the video below to see exactly how we do this and how effective it is at keeping gear stowed away nice and tight:
How to Set Up Your BCD Pocket
Whether your BCD has pockets attached to it or you have purchased a pocket that you strap on to the webbing of your harness, all pockets should be properly set up.
Yes it is true that pockets usually have zippers or Velcro that keep them closed, but that in and of itself is not always enough. It not uncommon for divers to reach into their BCD pockets, go to take something out and accidentally lose a piece of gear in the process.
This is why we configure our pockets to ensure that we never lose a piece of gear when we reach in to retrieve our compass, reel or any other piece of gear stowed away inside of it.
We do this by looping a piece of bungee cord inside our pocket. By doing so we can clip off all the gear in our pocket to the cord so that we can easily have access to anything inside the pocket without accidentally losing another piece of expensive equipment. The short video above illustrates how we do this so please take a minute to check it out.
The Different Types of Clips
There are several different kind of clips that divers use to attach their gear to their BCDs. In this section we are going to review the two we recommend and one that we think is dangerous and no diver should ever take with them in the water.
Bolt Snaps: these are the most common clips we use with our gear. They are easy to use and can easily be attached to gear. It is important to note that they must be thoroughly rinsed and should be lubricated from time to time to prevent them from rusting.
Trigger Snaps: These are also extremely common for divers to use and are highly recommended in colder environments where heavy gloves need to be worn. This is because their design allows easy access when using heavy gloves. Even though these are less likely to rust than bolt snaps they should still be rinsed out thoroughly and lubricated on occasion
Carabiners: We do not recommend that you use carabiners to attach your gear. Their design allows them to easily be clipped off to your d-rings but they also have a fundamental flaw in that they can easily clip off to monofilament line that is often found underwater. This can cause a diver to get tangled and can create a dangerous situation. It is for this reason that many divers call these “suicide clips” and why we DO NOT recommend you use them to clip off your gear.
How to Tie Your Clips to Your Gear
Most SCUBA equipment comes with loops that are designed to allow divers to tie clips to it. One question we get asked is what we use to tie the clips to the equipment.
We recommend braided nylon line. There are two reasons for this. First it is easily accessible since most dive reels and spools come with the line. In our experience these reels usually have more line that you need and it is not difficult to take a few feet and use it attach clips to gear. Secondly, this line is EXTEMELY resilient underwater.
We do not recommend that you use tie wraps to affix gear to clips. Tie wraps tend to deteriorate after repeated exposure to salt water and can fail. This happens quite often.
Below is GIF showing exactly how we tie clips to gear. Please take a minute to watch it so that you can ensure that your dive gear remains with you for years to come.
If you found this post useful, just click below to download our free guide “The 8 Navigational Tools you should Never Dive Without.” In it we go over 8 little known tools you can use to help you navigate while you are underwater.