Gear We Use For Diving From Our Sailboat
We didn’t own a lick of our own scuba or freediving gear before living aboard s/v Curiosity. It never made sense to own gear because we only found ourselves diving a couple of times a year (if we were lucky). So, we always rented from the dive operator we were going out with.
When living on a sailboat, on the ocean, it’s a no brainer to have a mini dive shop on board. Not once have we regretted the investment and there are lots of reasons why.
- Diving On Our Own Schedule
- Not Diving With Crowds
- Able To Dive Remote Areas
- Handy For Underwater Boat Repairs & Maintenance
- Convenience & Ease
- Making New Friends By Filling Their Tanks
For our fellow #UnderwaterWorld lovers, here is our full inventory of dive gear and tips.
We’re not experts on scuba diving, freediving (which we really love) or dive gear. But if it’s listed here, it means it works for us and has earned its place aboard the s/v Curiosity Dive Shop.
The Curiosity Dive Shop
Freediving / Snorkeling Gear
Nikki – I like my low profile mask and prefer a simple snorkel. But the big thing to note here is my freediving fins. Every pair of fins I tried on were way, way too big and wide for my size seven foot. The SporaSub fins were the only ones I found that fit me. I can wear them with or without socks/booties.
- Freedive Mask With Camera Mount http://amzn.to/2d5C6SB
- Freedive Snorkel: http://amzn.to/2cjh3dV
- Freediving Fins: http://amzn.to/2kIYmlf
- Atomic Mask: http://amzn.to/2uuqsZf
- Freediving Snorkel: http://amzn.to/2uxCjEb
- Freediving Fins: http://amzn.to/2kIhljK
Scuba – BC/Reg/Octopus/Dive Computer/Tanks
The AquaLung Travel Set was affordable and the perfect compact starter set for us. It comes with the BC, regulator, octopus and dive computer. We’ve been happy with the whole kit. The only thing we’ve added/upgraded is our dive computer. We prefer it on our wrist.
- AquaLung Travel Set: https://amzn.to/2GmypV0
- Tanks – Our current tanks are old used tanks that were gifted to us. When we upgrade, we’ll let you know what we go with.
This has been a big one. It’s an all around beast of a watch which has taken our freediving/scuba game to the next level.
With or without tanks, in saltwater or freshwater, breathing nitrox, trimix or freediving, the computer is made for it all. The surface GPS navigation with full-color onscreen mapping and location reference has already been seriously sweet addition for drift diving and strong current pass dives. We’re able to mark our entry and exit spots. It’s a smartwatch and dive computer combined into one…with too many features to list here.
- Garmin Descent: https://amzn.to/2Rsfjlq
Breathing Air Compressor
Bauer dominates the scuba tank fill market. They’ve been around forever and everyone we spoke to said they make the best portable breathing machines (we just call it a SCUBA air compressor). I reached out to the team at Bauer USA with a request to speak one of the engineers. I had two big questions:
- Junior or Oceanus Model? I was told for filling tanks on a boat it’s best to buy the Oceanus as it is less affected by tilt. Basically, if you’re filling tanks in choppy or seas with swell you’ll want to go for Oceanus model.
- Which is better for world travel: Gas or Electric Air Compressor? The answer surprised me; the Gas model. They claimed it will be simpler to service and maintain in small countries. Plus, I was told most dive operators purchase the gas models as well…’ the gas version is just proven to work’.
And that’s how we ended up with a gas model Bauer Oceanus.
While I had them on the phone, I tried to get a discount code for you (our loyal viewer). But, they said it’s a no-go since they don’t sell direct and they recommend people purchase through a local dealer. Hey, never hurts to try right!?!
***Service Note – The Oceanus compressor we purchased came with a Subaru engine and it worked fine for a year. There was a major flaw with some of those engines where the throttle cable messes up when servicing the carburetor (try googling it). We were in Tahiti and Bauer took care of us 100%. After writing the customer service department, alerting them to the issue, they sourced a new Kohler engine and shipped it to the local Bauer shop in Papeete. In less than a month, we had the compressor back, new engine on and we were back to filling tanks and diving. That’s the customer service mantra we love: take care of the customer no matter what.
A few tips we’ve learned…
Don’t forget to bring your dive flags with you (the US Dive Flag for the states and the International Dive Flag for everywhere else).
Make sure you have a solid anchor and plenty of rode for deep water. We love love love our Mantus dingy anchor! Mantus just makes good stuff that works well. See their anchor here: http://bit.ly/MantusWynns
📷 Underwater Photo & Video 🎥
We have fallen in love with underwater photography as much as being underwater. Our gear is not top notch professional, but it gets the job done. Expect to see a legit rig/lighting kit added here someday soon (Dear Santa…).
Our main underwater camera is the Sony rx100v with underwater housing. It’s hands down the best entry-level setup. It’s affordable but leaps and bounds better quality over any consumer action camera.
Sony RX 100 V
- Buy From Amazon – https://amzn.to/2LFukzr
- Buy From B&H – https://bhpho.to/2FxEUXV
- Buy From Amazon – https://amzn.to/30j6EVw
- Buy From B&H – https://bhpho.to/2hW8HhV
Best Multipurpose Travel/Snorkel/Action Camera
DJI ACTION 2
We have the Dual Screen Combo which is great for self-filming or placing the camera in tiny spaces, or at the extreme front of the boat. We also have the macro lens, Mini-Tripod and underwater housing. If I could only have one action camera, this would be it. Horizon Leveling Stabilization integrates with the DJI Mic for quality audio and a good cine-like color profile for video.
- Buy from DJI: https://bit.ly/action2-wynn
- Buy from Amazon: https://amzn.to/3gnla93
- Buy from B&H: https://bhpho.to/3GziTlE
ACTION 2 ACCESSORIES
Underwater Housing: B&H https://bhpho.to/3GBVm3K
Macro Lens: B&H https://bhpho.to/3HyrUg3 Amazon https://amzn.to/3HwGhl8
3 in 1 Mini-Tripod: B&H https://bhpho.to/3ou0UXz Amazon https://amzn.to/3rsC1xf
360 and Super Creative
No more wondering if I caught that shark or ray that swam by, this camera films everything! This camera is new for us but already we are super impressed with the stabilization and unique shots we can get. We’re excited to get creative with this one!
Insta 360 One X
- Buy From Amazon – https://amzn.to/2IAdGzm
- Underwater Housing: https://amzn.to/2N0JCRt
- Buy From B&H – https://bhpho.to/30iIT0p
Did We Miss Something?
If we didn’t list a piece of gear that you want to know about or we did but you still have questions, drop us a note in the comment box below and we’ll update the post. If you would like to see a video review or a deeper dive into a specific piece of gear, let us know that too.
If you have a fave piece of gear you think we need, or a DIY diving tip or trick, please tell us about it!
🙏 THANK YOU!
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We’re not encouraging buying stuff you don’t need, but any grand adventure requires some gear. We’ve been traveling full time since 2011 and have purchased a lot of gear that has stood the test of time and continues to travel with us. Each item is handpicked and we never recommend anything we don’t personally use and love.
There is a buy button located within each product, some of those are affiliate links. An affiliate link simply means that if you click through and purchase (it costs you nothing extra) we get a few pennies too. If you enjoy what we do here, shopping through our links is a great way to help keep us creating and sharing…so thank you!
Scarlet Elli Bache
I’ve been trying to figure out by googling and searching, how people rinse of their gear after a dive on a sailboat and freshwater storage is limited.
Do you have or could you make a video on how you take care of your equipment after a dive in saltwater?
Thank you in advance
A freshwater rinse is extremely important after ocean driving, and it’ll help your gear last much longer. Also, putting salty non-rinsed gear in an equipment locker is going to leave you with salt crystals coming off & getting all over everything else in that locker, including any wiring or similar that happens to run through that locker. With a working watermaker, fresh water rinses aren’t a problem. If your boat won’t have a watermaker you’ll need to plan ahead in order to have enough on board. Nikki and Jason typically used a hose to rinse their gear, and camera gear got soaked in a bucket of freshwater. https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/diving-from-sailboat
Hope that’s helpful!
You used a underwater light when swimming with the sharks. What kind of light was that?
Agne & Tracy
Love your authentic and cheerful channel! My wife and are launching our globe drifter (Neel51) in France this summer. We are wondering 1. Do you need a waterfilter / purifier with the watermaker and if so what did you guys go for?
We’re on a similar path as yours, but you are way ahead of us. Do you know anyone who has a hookah, or has used one to dive their boat?
And, we also have a fuel tank leak, and I have to cut it out this year. Been putting it off since I’m not enthusiastic about cutting holes in the boat with power tools. But it has to be done.
Rich and Cherie
2005 Broadblue 42
Hello Nikki and Jason,
I hope all is well during the covid pandemic and you both are close to getting back on the water.
I have a question for you both. My husband and I are going to buy a boat, sail the world with our dog, and we both are divemasters. My question is how do you both get back to your dingy post dive in a drift dive or current? I know you sighted your Garmin as your gps locator. Do you go to a spot with less current, skip diving, or something else? It’s just a burning question I have as diving is huge for us and something we want to do as we adventure.
Thank you for your time. Love your content.
We’ve never had an issue getting back to the dinghy after a dive. If it is a drift dive, then we drift with the dinghy (attached with a long line).
Hey Nikki and Jason! Glad you finally made it back to curiosity. We just purchased a Oceanus and are playing with ideas on where and how to mount the compressor to our boat. Would love to learn how you mounted yours and any thoughts or issues regarding your choice.
Not sure if they mention it here, but I believe that the Oceanus lives in a lazarette and only gets taken out when they’re going to have a few dives. maybe they’ll see this & chime in.
Great article with tones of information and beautiful pictures! Like another reader said, I was surprised by choice of gas compressor but what’s important is simplicity and being able to be serviced in any remote area. Love freediving and scuba, hope some day be able to sail and dive with you guys. Love all your videos, especially the ones for Mark! What an amazing soul! Sail and dive safe!
Mark D (Sailingability)
Hi Jason and Nikki,
Just noticed that your link to GoPro Hero 7 Underwater Housing goes to International Dive Flag. Just thought you might want to fix that. Hope you get out of Quarantine soon.
Whoops! We’ll get that fixed. Thanks for letting us know!
I’m surprised the gas compressor was the choice over the electric model considering the additional engine maintenance and fuel required when you already have the electrical system you have.
Love the videos!
Hi guys, where did you install the Oceanus on your boat. It would be great to see a few pics or a video showing your full scuba dive compressor along with the tank holders etc and any feedback on how well your system works and if you would change anything now?
They do not have the Oceanus permanently installed anywhere. When not being used it’s stored in a lazarette to keep it out of the elements (same with the tanks). But you can’t operate it below decks so they just pull it out whenever they need it. And I’m sure you read their thoughts on using it in the blog post.
What kind of wet suits do you have? Please give details, how long have you had them & opinion.
They don’t have wet suits that I’m aware of. They had some dive skins a couple of years ago but I haven’t even seen them lately. I mostly see them in rash guard shirts, and Nikki sometimes wears yoga pants for an extra layer.
We do have a set of Henderson wet suits we bought over 10 years ago. 5mm for Jason and 7mm for me (I get cold easily). We haven’t used them much here in the tropics and we will need new ones when we get to New Zealand! So, if we find good ones, we’ll update this post!
Well its that time but things have gone a little astray.
I know you have a Soda Stream; can you use your air compressor to refill those canisters as well? If not, how do you exchange your canisters while traveling?
The soda stream uses CO2 canisters and the SCUBA compressor compresses the air you breath not CO2. You can refill the soda stream canisters yourself but you need a couple of things to do it and a supply tank of CO2.
Is it possible to fill Nitrox tanks by any means or is it too unsafe to have higher oxygen on board because of fire risks? Some of the docs I have seen the 2 of you dive are on the deeper side which would really be suited to Nitrox
You need an oxygen tank and special compressor to fill Nitrox. I’m guessing the oxygen tank requires all sorts of licensing/certification.
It is very possible to fill Nitrox. It would be the same compressor we have with an addition. We don’t have the addition ourselves but several of our friends do. I would start by contacting your local dive outfitter. 😉
Tami D Smith
Also, remember that you can’t cross back to “air”. Once a tank is filled with nitrox you need to mark it as such so that way you don’t put “air” back in it.
Once you place nitrox in a tank, It has to be professionally cleaned and inspected before “Air” can be placed back in it.
I would only have air on my boat too. If we were going to do a “deep” dive it would be with a shop who “knew” the dive site and they, “most of the time”, have nitrox.
I am a working diver and use an older model Intova Camera setup. It’s the CONNEX camera and light mount with 2 of their single LED lights.
I dive in water with viz that most often barely reaches 3 ft, yet I can get quality video of the boats I’m inspecting/working on.
This is set up as a handheld unit, and once I complete the building of my ROV, this will be mounted onboard (it can be hardwired to the surface).
I also purchased a couple of their small point-and-shoot cameras (around $25 where I’m at) for my girlfriend’s daughters, but used them myself to see how well they worked. I found they did a fairly decent job for fun pic/vid taking when snorkeling.
I wouldn’t use them for professional dive work, but they’d fill in as an emergency backup if someone’s main failed.
BTW, I have a few other brands of video cameras like the GoPro at my disposal as well, but the Intova works just fine for most of the work.
Intova was bought out by another company, but you can find the Connex (as of 7-19-2019) online for around $40… which is WAY cheaper than when I first bought one.
Where did you get your scuba tank stand? We are trying to find one to attach to the stanchons.
Interesting information here on a variety of equipment..
Can’t resist a side comment here – I’m guessing your intent was to express that one needs “plenty of rope for deep water” rather than “rode” but if you travel a considerable distance getting there I can see either expression working. You do an amazing job of editorial effort getting these stories and descriptions prepared for viewing and I’m impressed with how clear and easy to read they always are. I expect you frequently have to contend with computer word-processor off-target “autocorrect” actions and I know it’s not easy chasing them all down – they sort of hide in the shadows of what you know you intended to say.
Getting to the point of my comment, I’m curious about how many hours of operation your compressor motor sees in a year. Is it a few hundred or less, or more like a thousand plus?
“Rode” is what sailors call a rope the connects to an anchor.