The Humble Scuba Pointer known to divers by several names, such as a Muck Stick, The Tank Ticklin’ Stick”, Shark Stick, or reef stick. By whatever name it goes by the scuba pointer is a fantastic tool that offers so much versatility as an underwater tool or accessory. For those that don’t know what a Scuba Pointer is, it is a short stick usually made of an anti-corrosive metal, with a hole at one end through which a lanyard can be attached, and sometimes a rattle on the other end. Since there are several possible uses of this tool, we decided to dub it the Swiss-army knife of scuba diving equipment.
As a Pointer
The Scuba Pointer as its name suggests is primarily used by divers, instructors or dive masters to point out marine life or interesting coral to their group without having to get too close or touch the creature. Works well when pointing out a hungry moray to the group and looking to save your fingers, or to point out the tiny nudibranch on the rocks that no one seems to spot.
As a Muck Stick
When diving in sandy or silty sites, such as the ocean bed or a lake bed, the Scuba Pointer is a great way to stay off the surface and cause silt or sand to rise, reducing visibility. While this is no crutch or substitute for learning proper buoyancy, if conditions warrant the use of one, its better than disturbing the sand.
A Pointer stick even without a rattle attached can be used as an effective tank banger, or noise maker to get the attention of your fellow divers in case of an emergency or a stunning sighting. If you purchase one that has a rattle attached, then this would work even better, without scaring all the fish away!
To prevent touching anything
While its best practice not to touch anything while scuba diving, sometimes it may be unavoidable, especially when diving in stronger current, or inside a wreck, cavern etc. In such cases its better to use your Scuba Pointer to touch the surface to prevent collision, especially if there are nasties like stone fish or urchins around. Also this practice minimizes the area of contact with the reef or environment protecting damage to reefs, or creatures you cannot see. Always ensure you look where you use your scuba pointer to avoid contact with any coral or creatures.
Anchor in strong current
If you get a sturdy Scuba Pointer or Muck Stick, this can be used to anchor yourself in strong current to the seabed, to give yourself a breather as you fight the current.
Monopod for Photography
A muck stick is a fantastic tool to act as a monopod while taking pictures. It keeps the photographer, and his/her camera, from making contact with the reef, and can help support the weight of a heavy DSLR and keep the photographer in place, especially during macro shooting.
While not intended to be used for this purpose, the pointer stick can always help out in a pinch. If a fish, suppose a Titan Trigger starts getting aggressive and territorial and attempts at attacking a diver, apart from kicking it with your rubber fins, a sharp poke might make it turn away. Some experts recommend that a pointer stick may be useful to scare away a curious shark. When a shark gets a little too close for comfort, you can give a few quick jabs to the gills to scare the shark off.