Should I use a 5 foot or 7 foot long hose?

There are two schools of thought regarding the length of a long hose.

5 or 7 feet (1.5 m or 2 m)?

Let’s explore where they came from and the rationale behind each of them.

7 feet – longer than the average human

The 7-foot hose came from the cave diving environment.

Divers would need to share gas, but sometimes having to go through a restriction swimming in single file.

This made the regular short hose unusable, as you wouldn’t be able to share gas with someone in front or behind you.

The 7-foot hose was used so that divers could have the out of gas diver in front of the donor in single file and still have enough hose to be comfortable (unless you were sharing gas with an 8-foot tall giant…).

Ocean divers then discovered that a longer hose would help in keeping the divers further apart, allowing for better maneuverability and comfort.

However, some people thought that the 7-foot hose was too long because you would never really be sharing in single file in an open water environment.

A 5-foot hose was then adopted as a compromise to having a longer hose to manage while sharing.

5 feet – still a long hose but is it too short?

Personally, I would always use a 7-foot hose, but not for the reasons of sharing ironically.

The longer hose is definitely harder to manage when you’re learning it, but overall, I think it loops better and stows away better into the waist belt or behind a canister light.

This holds the hose in position during the dive, and if managed properly, the hose will stay in that location and not move around.

The 5-foot hose would be trapped under the right armpit when used by a larger diver.

In some cases (8-foot giants especially), this can get uncomfortable to the point of not having enough hose length to turn your head to look left.

Smaller sized divers would not have this problem.

However, as the hose is not secured, it will float and move around behind the arm and potentially above the head.

This may create problems when diving doubles, as the hose extending from the second stage tends to get looped around the isolator manifold or right regulator and knob.

Once there, a sharp turn to the left can actually pull the second stage out of the mouth!

7 feet – a Goldilocks length

For these reasons, I personally would always recommend using a 7-foot hose.

It’s long enough for everyone to be able to tuck it securely under the canister light, or into the waistband.

If your waistband is tight enough, then the hose should not pop out on its own accord and float around.

Having stuff in places where they are secure is a big thing for me, as is keeping things nice and neat.

I really hate it when equipment comes loose and causes problems during a dive.

Equipment should be there to support me, not cause additional issues!

Leon Boey is a GUE, HSA and PADI instructor based in Singapore and Bali. He runs the dive education centre Livingseas in Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. Diving since 2005, he first fell in love with wrecks. He enjoys all sorts of diving, and loves being surrounded by fish.

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