Kit Availability & Brand
GLOVES are considered consumable items and accordingly are not available for hire however selected brands (Northern Diver) can be purchased at a 20% discount from the dive shop where we stock many types.
FINS of the open heel and full foot varieties are kept in a large size range. Check the strap and buckle fitting on collection and fit snugly allowing for toes not to be bunched. Should a fin be lost replacement is in pairs, the hirer becoming the proud owner of the remaining fin!
WEIGHTBELTS are supplied on black nylon webbing with metal buckles of the close over type. Users should check that the webbing is correctly located forming a figure of eight through the openings in the back of the buckle. The weightbelt should have approximately 8 inches of tail when the LEAD WEIGHTS have been fitted. Weights are supplied in 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12-pound blocks. Weight retainers are also supplied as standard and are usually fitted on the first and last slab. To ensure weights do not move it is advisable to twist the webbing on the top of the slab when setting up. Hirers must always satisfy themselves that the weight they require is confirmed by a buoyancy check prior to their dive. Whilst Puffin Dive Centre staff can apply averages it is advisable to take extra for fitting later if required rather than not have enough. When you are diving on PDC RIB's the Cox (if you wish) will take your weightbelt from you in the water. Especially useful with cold hands, inexperience or just feel like some help! Weightbelts are expensive and don't float - do not lose.
RIB BAGS are available with full kit hire on request. Check the zip operates well and no tears are present. These are only intended for light equipment - NOT weightbelts, BCD's, drysuits, treasure, ferrous and non ferrous metals, salvage etc.
TORCHES are not available for hire and should be purchased separately. There are two standard sizes available for purchase - Mini Q40 type as secondary and several powerful types with alternate bulb and illumination capabilities as primary torches. Both types come with batteries options - rechargeable and non-rechargeable.
DRYSUITS are in male and female sizes (differences in the hips, feet and neck) and are generally of the tri-laminate type. Ours are made from tri-laminate with a strength and thickness at the top end of the twelve or so grades available. The material the suits are constructed from is indestructible under normal circumstances and to date (six years) a suit material tear, rip or penetration has not occurred. The collar and cuffs are made from latex compound and is susceptible to damage with bad handling. The danger comes from sharp finger nails, rings, ear rings etc and only takes a moments thoughtlessness while the latex is being stretched and under tension to cause a hole or tear. During fitting use powder or lubricant and remove sharp objects. The boot sizes are similar to show sizes however extra socks or thinsulate socks (available in the shop) can be worn for increased insulation. The suit should be a generous fit even around under layers - the suit should be "Burped" when zipped and fitted by squatting and pulling the front of the collar gently away from the neck to allow the surplus air to escape - let the collar reseal and stand.
Not all hoses from the drysuit are the same and hirers should ensure compatibility with the inflator spigot. Drysuit zips should be lubricated and pulled in a straight line ensuring that material is not trapped and strain is not placed on the "teeth". When taking off the drysuit ensure that the zip is fully open otherwise damage can result from a partially open zip exit. The dumps are cuffed operated and work on the differential pressure - these should be checked before diving to ensure full and easy operation.
Drysuits WILL leak if certain fundamental rules aren't followed - ensure weightbelt is put on only after the leg and waist material surplus is pulled high above the waistband.
Next pull this surplus material from around the torso up high on to the top of the shoulders ensuring plenty of surplus at the neck area before fitting the BCD. These two steps will prevent leaks through the neck, which occur when a diver contorts under water and the material is stretched tight around the back of the diver pulling the latex at the back of the neck seal away from the neck.
Finally correct weighting with tri-laminate suits is especially important as over weighting requires excess air inflation to the suit to counter balance when submerged - therefore when the diver moves to a vertical position - say on a shot line or when ascending the extra air goes to the neck area and pushes up breaking the seal - of course with water exiting it allows a small amount of water in through the seal between latex and skin! Easily avoided - do a buoyancy check; maintain a constant under garment quantity (changes of insulation also change the quantity of air trapped in the under garment which in turn alters the weighting requirements).
These tips are not intended to take the place of certified drysuit instruction (DRYSUIT, EQUIPMENT AND BUOYANCY COURSES ARE RUN BY PUFFIN DIVE CENTRE ON REQUEST) if you are new to drysuit diving you must have instruction from a qualified and insured instructor. The use of the equipment is easy, provided you are shown and taught how. Ensuring your equipment skills are optimum can enhance the pleasure you get from diving. When a suit becomes flooded it is not normally a safety Issue (unless prolonged cold occurs) however the
THINSULATE UNDERSUIT will require to be laundered - if this is a hired item then a small charge to cover the cost of laundering will be levied.
AIR and NITROX fills are available from the self-fill air machine or shop. The machine is coin operated and Filling tanks at the air panel takes coins of the following denominations - £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, or tokens which can be purchased in the shop. Puffin Dive Centre requires all training dives to start with a minimum fill of 200 bar. TANK contents when filled by Puffin staff should be checked prior to leaving the centre. Tank boots if lost during your hire are replaceable by the hirer - check by the hirer. If you are new to our air fill panel and require assistance please ask a staff member who will be happy to show you how. The machine has issued many thousands of fills to those who have used it correctly. However occasionally the instructions are not followed and the fill is not completed - please contact a staff member who will show you how your fill went wrong! Tank valves should be turned off and on with care, over tightening simply damages the seat of the valve and leads to failure. If your tank valve is stiff to turn on collection please return immediately.
NITROX can only be obtained through the shop by payment and completion of a special Nitrox form and production of your Nitrox certification card. Nitrox fills can be completed straight away however it is advisable where possible to allow at least 1 hour after dropping off your bottles - agree pickup time when paying. When you collect your filled bottle you will be asked to verify the analysis which will be carried out regardless of your own analysis and sign for the maximum depth for that mixture along with various other details of that mix.
BCD's are available in all sizes and are of the Scubapro X-Range Adjustable type with balanced power inflation. The lift generated is by size and is greater than the average. These are high quality BCD's giving comfort and high performance.
The REGULATOR SET comes complete with Scubapro Mk20 1st stage, R190 second stage, R190 octopus together with a Scubapro depth, pressure gauge and compass console. The regulator set is aimed at the diving professional and is of the preferred piston type giving added safety and performance.
If you have any questions regarding the equipment, speak to a member of the teaching staff.
UNDERWATER SCOOTERS can be hired for use and are of the Sea-Doo Brand, for use with Swimming, snorkeling and diving. The batteries typically last between 40 and 80 minutes in the water dependent on load and water temperature, however they should not be run down to flat. They also require a 4-6 hour charge to ensure maximum capacity. Normal operating range is between 1 metre and 25 metres. Normal diving equipment care is recommended - i.e. rinse everything thoroughly with fresh water after use. Scooters must be hired in pairs - the buddy must have their own scooter or hire a second scooter at their own cost.