What tools do I need for a dive trip?

It’s always good to have a small set of tools when you dive. Better yet, have them on hand in the boat! You never know when you might need to repair something just before a dive.

Here are items that are useful to have, but of course, not all are always necessary. I’ve listed them in terms of two levels of preparedness: An essential set of tools, and a hardcore-fix-almost-anything set of tools that would serve you well if you wanted to dive at the end of the world with zero logistical support.

The Essential 14

  1. Adjustable spanner, one small and one medium sized – For regulator hoses and SPG removal
  2. Screwdriver, one Philips screw head and one flat-blade – For canister lights, hose clamps, etc.
  3. Cable tie, 5 to 10 pieces – For miscellaneous attachments.
  4. Nylon line, 1 to 2m long – For tying bolt snaps and other miscellaneous attachments.
  5. Lighter – For burning ends of nylon line.
  6. Bungee, 1 to 2m long – For replacing necklaces and other attachments.
  7. Scissors or cutter – For miscellaneous cutting.
  8. Duct tape, 1 roll – Never leave home without this! Duct tape is useful for Nitrox labelling, holding stuff in place, and other general uses.
  9. Allen key set containing multiple sizes of keys – For port plugs on first stages.
  10. Scuba Multi-tool – Some multi-function scuba tools combine a few of these tools in one small, compact package, and these normally come with screwdriver heads, various Hex key sizes, and an O-ring pick.
  11. O-ring pick – For removing O-rings. (Note: A small one should be sufficient.)
  12. Spare O-rings – For port plugs, regulator hoses, and SPG spindles.
  13. Grease – For lubricating parts like the O-rings (Tip: Instead of bringing out a large tube of grease, a simple solution would be squeezing some grease into a small ziptop bag. It’s also convenient to use – just pop the O-ring in the bag, seal and slide it around with your fingers. Voila, the O-ring is greased!)
  14. Spare mouthpiece – In case you get so excited that you accidentally bite through the mouthpiece on your regulator.

And here comes the list for total preparedness at extreme dive locations where you’d want to have everything on hand, except the kitchen sink!

Fix-it-all

  1. Tank knob tool – Larger dive operations like dive shops and liveaboard boats should have this tool, but it’s good to have your own as you never know when or where you’ll be when a tank knob gets stuck!
  2. DIN or Yoke adapter – For times when the boat operator doesn’t have the type of tank valves that you need for your first stage.
  3. Spare inflator assembly – Good to have replacements on hand as inflators are fickle; the button spring is a salt sink that get sticky from just missing a single wash.
  4. Spare double enders and bolt snaps – Infinitely useful, these little things make carrying equipment underwater very manageable.
  5. Small metal parts like washers, wing nuts, LP and HP port plugs – These are useful if something breaks and you need to plug a first stage. Small washers and spare wing nuts for your backplate system are also useful. Place these in a small ziptop bag to keep them safe and secure.
  6. Seasick pills and Charcoal tablets – These are typically classified under medication, but these meds are needed so often, there’s no harm stashing them in your tool kit AND first aid kit.

Storage

Keep these tools in a small-sized waterproof box that you can stow in your dry bag. Avoid leaving them around, especially wet surfaces, as tools tend to get rusty real quick around seawater! To absorb moisture trapped within the box, place a small silica gel bag or unused cat litter (inside a tiny sock) inside.

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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