Dive reels aren’t talked about much when discussing dive equipment. Yet, diving reels have so many applications that you can’t just ignore them.
For one, dive reels can help you return to your starting point, connect you with surface support, or notify surface vessels or your own dive boat of your presence underwater. Reels can also be used to mark areas already covered during search and recovery operations.
The thing about dive reels is they come in different types with each type designed for a particular use. There’s no jack of all trades where dive reels are concerned and it’s important you choose one that can serve your intended purpose.
You’ll find on this page a guide that will educate you about the different types of dive reels and how to choose one that’s right for you. So, keep reading.
Do You Need A Dive Reel?
Boats and currents are two things you can expect at dive sites. Currents can carry you further than you want and boaters won’t know you are underwater. It’s for this reason many divers can’t think of diving without deploying a surface marker buoy. And this requires the use of a dive reel.
So whether you are using a dive reel for a surface marker buoy or when cave/wreck diving, you’ll always need a dive reel when diving. And this is why you should learn about the different types of dive reels and how to use them correctly. Even if you only do “traditional” scuba diving, it is always good to have one.
Different Types And Uses Of Dive Reels
Jump and Finger Spools
Jump and finger spools are simply a spool of guidelines you’ll be using underwater and they are best suited for deployment of surface marker buoys at shallow depths for your surface support team and as jump spools. You can also use jump stools to connect scuba divers from an already laid line within a cave system and this ensures the diver is in constant contact with the originally laid line that will guide him/her back to the surface.
Cave Diving Reels
As the name implies, this type of reel is best used for cave diving. To use cave diving reels, you must ensure the start of the lone is securely fixed at the point of entry or exit. Looping the line around prominent features in the cave is also a good idea to ensure the line is taut.
Cave dive reels are usually very long and have a light color for easy visibility underwater.
Wreck Diving Reels
This type of reel is used for wreck diving and the line is usually about 50 – 100 m long. It’s important that reels to be used for wreck diving be strong and robust. And this is why many wreck diving reels are made from metal or toughened resin.
Marker Buoy Diving Reels
This is the most common use of dive reels. Reels are usually used to deploy a surface buoy marker which signifies the location of the diver to dive boats or other vessels at dive sites and comes in really handy during emergency situations.
Reels to be used for surface marker buoy must be easy to detach from your BCD in case anything goes wrong with the reel or surface buoy.
Things To Consider When Choosing Your Dive Reel
Below are factors to consider when choosing a dive reel:
Material & Corrosion Resistance
Since you’ll be using your reel in both freshwater and saltwater alike, you need to go for a dive reel that’s resistant to corrosion. And this includes the casing of the reel. And this is why many manufacturers use corrosion-resistant metals like stainless steel and the lines are made of very tough materials like braided dupont fiber, high-quality nylon, and so on.
Line Length And Visibility
The length of line you need will depend on the purpose of the reel. Dive reels for cave and wreck diving need to have lines that are 100 – 200 m long. As for the surface marker buoy, the length of line you’ll need depends on how deep you intend to go.
It’s important that the line is visible and it’s for this reason many dive reels have light-colored lines with white being the most popular.
Types Of Dive
While there are dive reels for cave diving, wreck diving, or connecting to a surface buoy, there may be overlapping at times with a dive reel capable of being used for two or three dive types.
The most important thing here is to choose a dive reel that’s strong and has enough line length for your dive type.
Diving reels might feel like a top priority when you are first getting your scuba diving gear, but these small and inexpensive pieces of equipment are actually pretty useful for safety and comfort. If you are into cave diving or wreck diving, they are a necessity. Hopefully, after reading this article, you now have a good idea of what to look for in a dive reel and how to use it!