A standard kit of diving gear usually consists of the basics - BCD (inflatable jacket), regulators, mask, fins, weights, wetsuit, surface marker buoy, dive computer, etc. Something many people leave out is an essential part of underwater communication: a waterproof notebook.
Underwater communication is naturally limited, but is made much easier by an underwater notebook. It is regularly necessary to convey an idea to a dive buddy, and a small waterproof notebook facilitates the expression of messages for which gestures cannot suffice.
For standard recreational scuba dives, the basics are communicated through hand signals that you learn during a training course or establish with a buddy before the dive. But what if you want to communicate something more detailed? How about for a technical dive with a long safety stop? Or what if you are working under water as an archaeologist, marine scientist or underwater photographer?
This is where a waterproof notebook comes into play. Divers may use a diving slate, a white piece of plastic that divers can write or draw on with a graphite pencil. These slates, however, have many disadvantages. Some plastics can be hard to erase after each dive, the plastic slate is cumbersome even when strapped to your wrist as it tends to shift around during the dive, and you have to constantly budget your space on the slate. This can be difficult if you need to sketch something during the dive, or take more than just quick notes.
The optimal addition to complete a set of dive gear is a proper waterproof notebook like the DuraRite No. 635 or 673. These underwater notebooks solves every challenge of the dive slate and dramatically improve the effectiveness of your communications below the surface. The DuraRite notebooks are made from a fully waterproof synthetic material that permits seamless use underwater.
Choosing the right utensil for your dive is another consideration. DuraRite waterproof notebooks still permit the use of graphite pencils or grease pencils. A common recommendation is a cheap mechanical pencil with a 0.7mm lead or larger. Thicker leads are more visible in low-light environments, and corrosion may eat at sensitive components of expensive pencils. Most pens will not function well at depth, so we recommend pencil for most dives. While we offer our own exceptionally durable mechanical pencil, it's likely best to dive with something you don't treasure quite so much.
The durability, ease of use, and flexibility of a small waterproof notebook makes this an essential accessory to your scuba diving gear.