Diving Clips: Securing Your Underwater Adventures
The serenity of the underwater realm can be interrupted by gear mishaps. But with the right diving clips, your equipment stays organized and secure. Dive into the details of these essential connectors, from their design and function to the best practices in using them for a worry-free exploration.
Intro: The Importance of a Secure Dive
With the gentle weightlessness of water all around and a world filled with vibrant marine life to explore, divers shouldn’t have to be concerned with equipment malfunctions. An essential yet often overlooked aspect of scuba diving is the humble diving clip. This small component is vital for ensuring that your gear remains where it should be – attached to you. Different types of diving clips are designed to cater to a wide range of underwater activities and gear types, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.
Diverse Clips for Diverse Needs
When it comes to the underwater world, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Diving clips are as diverse as the marine life you’ll encounter, tailored for various underwater needs. Let’s delve deeper into the specifics of each type:
1. Bolt Snap Clips:
These are the gold standard for scuba divers. Made of metal, bolt snap clips come with a bolt closure ensuring a solid hold. Their durability and ability to bear significant weight make them a favorite among divers. Given their reliability, these clips are free from many of the issues commonly associated with other clip styles. Based on the type of diving and equipment in use, there are different bolt snap styles to consider:
– Swivel Eye Bolt Snap: A single-ended bolt snap that often features a ring connected to a swivel, with a metal loop or ring of varying sizes. Primarily, these are utilized to connect gear pieces like flashlights, SPGs, or an SMB to your BCD. A small string loop typically connects the gear to the bolt snap’s ring, ensuring easy attachment.
-Double-Ended Bolt Snap: As the name implies, this type has bolt snaps on both ends and is perfect for connecting two items. These are ideal for equipment that already has a loop or connection point, or things you might need to detach during a dive.
2. Spring/Trigger/Lobster Clips:
Crafted from metal, these clips employ a lobster-claw mechanism. They’re robust, and suitable for more substantial gear. A spring-loaded clip portion with a trigger enables easy opening and automatic closing. The loop at the other end can be used for attaching a scuba accessory, often through a small piece of string.
3. Plastic Clips:
A ubiquitous sight on BCDs, plastic clips are primarily used for connecting main belts and fastening shoulder straps. Their push-click mechanism makes fastening a breeze. However, they can be tricky to disconnect, especially with gloves. The plastic composition, while lightweight, can become brittle over time, leading to potential breaks.
4. Velcro Clips:
Fabric-made, these clips offer a Velcro closure mechanism. They’re optimal for gear that you might need to access quickly or want to extend from a lanyard but keep near when not in use.
5. Carabiner Clips:
Made of metal with a snap-closure mechanism, carabiners are easy to attach to gear. Their primary issue is the inward-opening, spring-loaded latch that can inadvertently latch onto unintended objects, earning them the monikers ‘suicide clips’ or ‘widow makers.’ The design makes unhooking challenging, making them a less favored choice among divers.
6. Butterfly Clips:
Primarily metallic, these clips are distinct with their butterfly-shaped closure. Their design, reminiscent of the swivel eye-bolt snap, poses a unique challenge. The V-entry of the jaws can inadvertently clip into objects, especially lines and ropes, often unbeknownst to the diver.
Safety First: Best Practices and Considerations
When discussing scuba diving, safety is paramount. The exhilarating experience of exploring the underwater world comes with its set of challenges. One such challenge is ensuring that your gear remains securely attached, allowing you to focus on your surroundings and not on possible equipment mishaps. The humble diving clip plays a significant role in this, and while they might seem like straightforward tools, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to using them effectively and safely.
No Metal to Metal, No Plastic to Plastic: Why It Matters
One of the most cardinal rules in scuba diving gear connections is avoiding metal-to-metal and plastic-to-plastic connections. But why is this rule so crucial?
One very important tip when selecting your clips is to ensure there is no metal-to-metal, or plastic-to-plastic connections – everything should be able to be cut away. This is a critical safety concern since if an object you’re connected to with a clip becomes caught or wedged and you can’t remove it (damaged or clogged), you must be able to cut it free without damaging your BCD/Harness.
Therefore, a good practice is to have an intermediary, such as a nylon or cord loop, between two similar materials. This not only provides a buffer, reducing wear and tear but also allows for smoother and easier gear adjustments and disconnections.
Consider the Environment:
When deciding on which clips to use and how to use them, it’s essential to consider your diving environment. For instance, diving in an environment with many kelp forests or where there’s a high chance of entanglement requires extra caution with clips like carabiners due to their inward-opening design. In such environments, a bolt snap might be more appropriate due to its more secure and less snag-prone design.
Regular Inspection and Maintenance:
Like all pieces of diving equipment, clips need regular checks and maintenance. Ensure that they are free from rust, corrosion, or any deformities. A faulty clip might not just mean losing a piece of gear; it could result in a potentially dangerous situation underwater. Make it a practice to inspect your clips before every dive, just as you would with the rest of your gear.
Know Your Gear and Practice:
It’s one thing to know about the different types of clips and their ideal uses, but it’s entirely another to be able to use them efficiently under pressure. Familiarize yourself with the equipment and practice using your clips in various scenarios. This could mean practicing in a controlled environment like a swimming pool or on land. The more accustomed you are to your gear and its clips, the better you’ll handle unforeseen situations underwater.
In conclusion, while diving clips might seem like minor accessories in the grand scheme of scuba diving equipment, their importance cannot be overstated. Proper clip usage not only ensures the safety of the diver but also prolongs the life of the diving equipment. By following the best practices and being cognizant of the considerations, divers can ensure a smooth and safe underwater adventure.
In the vast expanse of scuba diving equipment, diving clips might appear inconsequential. However, their role in ensuring a diver’s safety and equipment longevity is undeniable. As with all things scuba-related, knowledge, preparation, and the right gear make all the difference. So, the next time you suit up for an underwater adventure, give a nod to those little clips that keep your journey secure.