Where Do I Put That?

By: James G

In all types of diving, recreational and technical, we must carry accessories. Items such as Torches, DSMBs and reels, knives/shears, strobe lights, shakers, buddy lines, jon lines, whistles, compasses, EPIRB Kits, IPODs and the kitchen sink.

I think you get the idea, we are in an equipment intensive sport and every diver loves a new toy to play with. Even when we have everything we need, we can always add spares for anything we may lose or break during the dive.

So where are we meant to put all these items so we don’t end up looking like a Christmas tree?

For most recreational divers using ‘normal’ BCD’s, the pockets are the obvious choice. BCD’s tend to have rather large pockets that a DSMB and finger spool can easily fit into, along with torches and other items. On BCD’s that are more compact and have integrated weight systems, pocket size seems to be dramatically reduced, making it sometimes awkward to fit some of the larger items inside. You will however be surprised at how much you can fit into these pockets, but then the awkward part is getting the particular item you want from the pocket without dropping everything else.

This is where I would recommend attaching a large loop of bungee or cord inside the pocket and clip of the various accessories to this line with a double ended clip. This method is sometimes called a “Daisy Chain” and I use it for every pocket I have. Using a daisy chain means you can pull everything out, take what you need, and put everything back inside, without the risk of losing something.

But what about those of us who are diving on a backplate/wing and harness system? There are a multitude of pockets available for threading onto your harness webbing, include large pockets and small purpose built specialised pockets for items such as shears or knives. There is also the option of using loops of bungee or straps to secure accessories to your harness webbing. Strong bands can be created by cutting up bicycle inner-tube. These work very well but will not last forever, and may occasionally break, so don’t rely on a single piece to hold your precious (and expensive) items to your harness, use more than one. If you position these bands close to a d-ring, you can also clip the accessory off to prevent tragedy if a band was to snap.

Another place to keep your accessories out of your way is behind you, below your cylinders and around your backside. Loops of bungee from the bottom of your backplate or BCD can easily stow a DSMB or lift bag. Purpose built butt plates can be purchased which are attached to the bottom of the backplate and provide numerous D-rings and bungees to attach even more items behind you. The only problem with this area of storage, is if you remove something, it may be tricky to replace it again. But this shouldn’t be a problem with items such as a DSMB or lift bag, since you would only remove them to shoot them to the surface.

Personally my favorite option for storing my accessories is thigh pockets. A pocket on each side of my wetsuit/dry suit with a daisy chain inside and all of my accessories clipped off to that chain as mentioned earlier. Pockets can be purchased and attached to wetsuits with some strong adhesive, or sewn on by a professional. Personally I never dive without thigh pockets and even in the summer have a pair of old neoprene shorts with pockets attached!

Wherever you store your accessories, you need to make sure they are easily accessible, it may seem fine whilst sat at home, but can you reach and remove the item whilst underwater and whilst wearing gloves? If you are finding it hard to open zips, or pull out bungees, adding a toggle may be a good idea.

So make sure you practice with and tweak your gear, eventually I am sure you can find every item a good home.