If you are looking into what scuba diving equipment is needed for Antarctica you need to know that most if not all liveaboards going to Antarctica require you to bring your own scuba diving equipment.
What scuba diving equipment is needed for Antarctica?
- Drysuit + hood.
- Warm drysuit undergarment.
- Dry gloves or thick wet-gloves.
- 2 separate freeze protected regulators.
- Pressure gauge.
- Buoyancy control device.
- Depth gauge, dive watch or dive computer.
- Diver’s knife.
- Dive torch + camera.
- Mask, fins + snorkel.
- Weight belt but no weights.
What scuba diving equipment is needed for Antarctica in more detail?
Scuba diving in the arctic requires both experience and relevant skills. You need to have already dived in cold waters and in a drysuit beforehand.
There’s the risk of hypothermia in water temperatures that are close to zero centigrade (28-30°F). No to mention unpredictable ice.
1. Drysuit with hood are essential for Antarctica diving
A drysuit and a hood are probably at the top of the list of the most important scuba diving equipment is needed for Antarctica.
The hood can be integral to the drysuit of be separate from the suit itself. But either way a dive hood is as important as the suit itself.
This will prevent you from losing too much heat from your head and will avoid head-freeze! I recommend a thick 9mm neoprene dive hood for this purpose.
2. Drysuit undergarments to help keep you warm in the icy waters of the Antarctica
I recommend your choice of drysuit is either crushed neoprene, trilaminate or vulcanised rubber. All these drysuit types require an undergarment for warm.
A neoprene drysuit probably won’t be warm enough as the only protection against exposure you get is from the thickness of the neoprene itself. Whereas with the three suggest drysuit types, you get more insulation from the undergarment too.
It is recommended to have two sets of thick and warm drysuit undergarments. Make sure that the undergarment has a high tog rating to keep you warm underneath your drysuit.
Keeping warm is also about trying to minimise your air consumption when you are diving. The colder the water, the higher your air consumption will be. However, so long as you wear very warm undergarment, this will help to limit your air consumption.
3. Dry gloves or thick wet-gloves to keep your hands warm in ice-cold waters
Dry gloves or adequate thick wet gloves are a necessary addition to your scuba diving equipment is needed for Antarctica. These are needed to make sure your hands are kept warm in sub-zero waters.
I personally don’t like gloves. I have even often dived in very cold water with ice on the surface without gloves and ended up with very cold hands. The problem is that your hands go numb with the cold temperature. This makes it difficult to do anything with your hands until they warm up again.
Frostbite is another consideration in Antarctica. This is a concern when you come to the surface. Note that surface temperatures are often well below freezing.
Therefore even if you are like me and don’t like gloves, they are a necessary addition to your scuba diving equipment is needed for Antarctica.
4. Two separate freeze protected regulators to help prevent against a free-flowing regulator
The reason for two regulators is because you’ll be diving with special 12 litre bottles which have two separate outlets.
The dive cylinders are fitted with a “Y” or “H” valve configuration, with DIN or Yoke (INT) adaptable connections. This safety precaution is in case one regulator freezes, which will mean you have a backup regulator.
5. Pressure gauge to measure the amount of remaining air in your tank
Most standard regulators kits come with an air pressure gauge to monitor your air pressure consumption on your dive. Scuba diving in the Antarctic is no different.
6. Bouyancy control device
A stabilising jacket or some kind of Buoyancy Control Device with quick release clips is necessary, as it is for diving anywhere in the world.
7. Depth gauge, dive watch or dive computer
You should have your own means to keep an eye on our depth and nitrogen take up for decompression purposes.
For safety reasons you can always bring a depth gauge in addition to your choice of dive watch with a computer or a separate dive computer.
I always carry a compass when I dive, which is in my console as a part of my regulator setup.
A compass may come in handy if you end up diving under the ice, although you’ll probably dive using safety lines to help you back to your entry point.
9. Diver’s knife
These days I see less and less of divers knives. The last time I took mine on a liveaboard, the dive master told me I wasn’t permitted to take it on the dive. They are worried you may use it for taking things and damaging the underwater environment.
So this isn’t a must-have piece of equipment for diving in the Antarctic.
10. Dive torch + underwater camera
I take a dive torch on every dive I do, both night and day. A dive torch come s in handy for lighting up crevices and caves underwater.
They are also useful for giving colour to what you see, as the colours disappear very quickly underwater the deeper you go.
You may also want to bring an underwater camera to capture the beauty of the Antarctic underwater world.
11. Mask, fins and snorkel
Your mask snorkel and fins are a part of your basic scuba diving equipment. These are obviously also needed for scuba diving in the Antarctic too.
12. Weight belt without the weights
You will need to bring your own weight belt with you to dive in Antarctica. But don’t get worried as it’s only the belt itself. The weights will be on board for you to attached the your belt.
What equipment do you need to go to Antarctica?
When you visit Antarctica, it won’t be just about the scuba diving. It will also be about enjoying the scenery and wildlife on the surface too.
But hat equipment do you need to go to Antarctica in addition to your scuba diving equipment?
- Waterproof backpack.
- Very warm clothing with thermals, as it’s about wearing layers to keep warm.
- Sunscreen as it can be very sunny. You can get sun burnt not just from the sun in the sky, but also from a reflection from the snow and the water.
- Scarves or other form of neck warmers.
- Waterproof camera.
- Insulated water bottle.
How to book an Antarctica cruise with scuba diving
If after reading this post about what equipment, you may wish to book on an Antarctic cruise to enjoy this cold wilderness.
Two cruise ships that offer scuba diving when you’re in Antarctica include:
- Antarctica Ortelius liveaboard: Not all trips on the Antarctica Ortelius liveaboard offer scuba diving. To find out more you may want to read the Antarctica Ortelius liveaboard review.
- Antarctica Hondius liveaboard: As with the Ortelius, not all trips to Antarctica on the Honduis offer scuba diving. To find out more you may want to read the Antarctica Hondius liveaboard review.
I hope you enjoyed this article about what scuba diving equipment is needed for Antarctica
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkelling. Please use the comments section below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof go-pro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkelling or scuba diving (or specifically about what scuba diving equipment is needed for Antarctica), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkelling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.
Have fun and be safe!