How Do Dive Computers Work?

Dive computers (also known as scuba computers) are devices that display information to help divers ensure they stay within certain safety limits. Here’s a quick guide to dive computers so you know why you need one to have the best scuba experience possible.

What Does a Dive Computer Do?

A dive computer has three main functions:

  1. Depth Measurement: It tracks how far down you’ve gone during your dive. This metric is also compared to your maximum dive depth—the max depth you can go with the gear you have on.
  2. Dive Time Tracking: There are a few reasons time tracking is so important. If you go with a group or dive guide, you’ll usually have a limited dive time. A dive time tracker helps you know how much longer you have. It’s also important for gauging your air consumption and nitrogen absorption.
  3. Ascension Rate Calculation: Dive computers have built-in ascension rate calculators. Using the data we’ve mentioned above, the algorithm will calculate how quickly you should rise to the surface so you can avoid decompression sickness.

Depending on the model of your computer, you may enjoy a variety of other features, including:

  • Oxygen display
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Micro-bubble levels

Dive Computers vs. Dive Watches

Dive watches are compact versions of a dive computer, fitting a lot of the information you need on your wrist. Many scuba divers prefer this option because their dive data is more readily available than on a console.

However, since dive watches aren’t attached to your gear, they lack many features, including an air level display and pressure gauge.

Dive computers are connected to your gear, so you’ll have real-time data on all essential information. Their displays are much larger than a watch face, which many people find easier to see when they’re diving.

There are drawbacks and benefits to both dive watches and computers, but both can help you enjoy a safe diving experience.

Why Scuba Divers Use Dive Computers

Dive computers should be at the top of every diver’s equipment list simply because they help you have a higher-quality scuba experience. By providing more data about how your dive is going, you can pace yourself, better know your limits, and have a safer and more enjoyable dive.

Get the Right Computer for Your Dive

The kind of dive computer you select entirely depends on your preference. Whichever you choose, make sure you know how to use it and read it properly before you scuba dive. Then you’ll be ready for your grande underwater adventure.