How a depth gauge works ehow to choose the best one according to your needs. From the watch with depth gauge to dedicated devices.
Depth gauge: how it works
Thedepth gaugeis a tool that serves ameasure depth, it is widely used by scuba divers and freedivers.How does a depth gauge work?In reality there is no universal answer because it depends on the selected model. In commerce it is possible to finddepth gaugeswith different systems ofoperation: in oil bath, membrane or electronic (now they are the most common).
THE electronic depth gauges, as well as indicating thedepthcurrent and the maximum of the exploration seabed, it also indicates the recommended ascent rate, the water temperature and the dive time.
Anyanalog depth gaugeit is equipped with a maximum depth hand that allows the diver to know the depth reached during the dive. The analog depth gauge must always be associated with dive tables .... while thosedigital(electronic) they exploit internal algorithms to suggest the ascent speed therefore, in some way, allow the diver to free himself from the tables.
Watch with depth gauge
If you've already heard ofdiving watches(analog or digital) you know that these can be associated with the function of thedepth gauge. Any dive watch has a high seal and pressure resistance… yes, but to what extent? The various watches with depth gauges are tested to reach certain depths, so it is recommended to use them within the limit prescribed by the manufacturer.
L'watch with analog depth gaugeit is generally equipped, on the external dial, with a rotating bezel that rotates only counterclockwise… what is it for? It is used to indicate the start of the dive and goes back to let the diver understand how much time he has left.
Any dive watch should be tested to withstand a pressure of at least 10 atm.
Some watches with a depth gauge have aunderwater compass, useful in case of diving with reduced visibility or without reference points.
In the context ofequipment for divers, freedivers and divers, the dive computer is the most complete device… But be careful to shout victory: a bump and a false contact with the battery are enough to be completely lost, without reference points, without known depth…. Having a single device is convenient and practical but it is not without risk.
What is the dive computer used for?
This object brings togetherdepth gauge and dive tables, clock, compass and other functions in one element. In practice it gives you the opportunity to consult all the dive parameters (time, depth, ascent rate, pressure….) On a single display.
It is important that if you decide to buy adive computer, do not go to trigger an addiction between you and this device ... what does this mean? That if you decide to buy a dive computer you can have a lot of useful information but you must be prepared for the unexpected and, in this case, aanalog depth gaugespare, can always come in handy!
Analog depth gauge
Ideally, a diver should integrate an analog depth gauge into his BCD, have a diving watch with a mechanical bezel on his wrist and know -by heart!-the tables for diving within the safety curve and respecting the ascent times. Even freedivers should not be bound to a digital display: although very resistant, today's dive computers should not represent the diver's only point of reference.
Dive computer, watch and depth gauge are essential both in descent but even more so to pay due attention to ascent speeds. At any stage of the dive it is always important to keep an eye on the depth gauge, the watch (and / or) the dive computer. Having a visual reference in the field, too often, is not enough.
During the ascent it is essential to make a safety stop (Extra Deep Stop) at a depth of 6 minutes for a time of 3 minutes. For this and all other possible desaturation or decompression stops, the digital depth gauge and a watch are enough.
The dive tables must be used together with the watch and the depth gauge. While in theory the dive computer can replace these two components, in practical terms it is important to be fully prepared.
Depth gauge: cost
How much does an analog depth gauge cost?
It depends a lot on the manufacturer and the shopkeeper. An analog depth gauge to attach to your diving equipment can be bought on Amazon at a price of 126 euros if you prefer "noble" devices, alternatively the cost of a cheaper depth gauge can be less than 100 euros.
The electronic depth gauge is much more expensive, as are watches with a depth gauge. On the other hand, professional diving watches with bezel (but without depth gauge) can be bought with budgets between 80 - 150 euros.
For completeness, I would like to point out, from Amazon, a analog depth gauge by Cressi, very complete: "Cressi Console 2", it consists of a depth gauge and an analog gauge that replace the classic single gauge to be attached to the equipment.
In the photo above, the DiveSoft Freedom Computer. An extremely complete, resistant and intuitive dive computer. It does not fit the world of newbies as it can be bought with more than 600 euros. On the market there is no shortage of more minimal dive computers at a cost of less than 200 euros.