Those that are brand new to SCUBA diving are sure to have a lot of questions about the many accessories they hear about in the classroom stage. Many accessories are self-explanatory, but there are some whose purpose may not be immediately apparent, especially if it is only spoken about, not seen in action. One of these accessories is the dive slate.
What is a Dive Slate?
Divers often carry one of two accessories for making notes underwater: a dive slate or wetnotes. It’s not unusual for experienced divers to carry one or both on every dive. A dive slate is an erasable sheet or board, while wetnotes are notebooks of waterproof paper. Each can be used with a standard lead pencil, and whatever you write will stay there until you purposefully remove it, making a dive slate a handy way to record information underwater for later review.
Is That the Only Kind?
When customers ask for dive slates at the local dive shop, a small, white slate that clips onto the BCD is most likely what the shopkeeper will show them, but it’s not the only kind of dive slate there is. Writable, waterproof, plastic cards that give equipment or safety checklists, pictures of marine life, or even maps and navigation may also be called dive slates. The plain white, writable slates come in several varieties too, including vellum scrolls and multi-page wrist slates.
What is a Dive Slate for?
Quite simply, dive slates help to facilitate underwater communication, education, and data collection. While hand signals should be discussed as part of the briefing so you can communicate effectively underwater, the ability to quickly write a message to a buddy or record details you may not remember later can greatly improve your experience.
While not totally necessary, dive slates are inexpensive and versatile in styles, so if you want to communicate more or gather more information on your dives, try one out and see how it works for you!
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