Author: Jake Radford

The Best Scuba Gear Jake Recommends

The world under the sea has called out to adventurers for centuries.  The development of scuba gear made it possible for more people to explore the depths for longer periods than diving pioneers ever imagined.  Jacques Cousteau, probably the best-known explorer of oceans, was essential to the invention of SCUBA, an acronym for Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus.  Today, scuba diving remains extremely popular among those seeking to dive for recreational, educational, and conservation purposes.  As the acronym suggests, scuba gear is designed to allow you to breathe underwater.  Though diving will always carry a degree of risk, having the right scuba gear is key to minimizing the danger and maximizing your underwater exploration.  Below, we’ll look at the essential gear you’ll need and what to look for when shopping.


The most important and most complex piece of equipment any scuba diver will ever purchase is the buoyancy compensator, also called the BC or power inflator.  The BC is like a backpack that holds the rest of your gear together, allows you to dive deeper or head toward the surface, and helps give you natural buoyancy at any depth.  BC units come in different sizes based on the intended type of diving.  Look for a model that matches your dive types and fits snugly over your wetsuit, but not so tight as to restrict breathing.

The next important piece of gear is the regulator, which is what actually allows you to breathe underwater by taking pressurized air from your tank and converting it into breathable air at ambient pressure.  It also delivers air to your inflator.  Look for a regulator that’s got a mouthpiece you find comfortable and that works well with your diving mask.  An octopus is a backup regulator that’s usually bright yellow and generally has a longer hose, which makes it easier for you or a fellow diver to access in an emergency.

A diving mask provides a dry pocket for your eyes and nose.  Underwater exploring isn’t much of an adventure if you can’t keep your eyes opened and focused.  Having a little breathing room for your nose means you’ll be able to help equalize pressure as you dive deeper.  To find a mask that fits well, try resting the mask on your face while your face is turned toward the ceiling.  A good mask will rest evenly, with no major gaps.  Inhaling gently through the nose should create a seal between the mask and your face.  If you can maintain this fit after adding a regulator or snorkel mouthpiece, you’ve got a good match.  The skirt should feel comfortable below your nose, and the nose shouldn’t be touching the inside of the mask.

Even if you don’t intend to do any real snorkeling, a good snorkel that you can rely on when you’re near the surface can conserve air.  Generally speaking, there aren’t any significant differences between snorkels; just look for one that feels comfortable in your mouth.

Wetsuits offer protection against the heat your body loses to the water.  Even in warmer waters, loss of body heat can be an issue.  Wetsuits are sold in different thicknesses designed for different water temps.  You can even find fleece-lined wetsuits for serious cold-water diving.  A wetsuit should fit snugly enough to keep air and water out, but not so snugly that your breathing or movement is restricted.

Flippers or fins are still the preferred way to move through water.  Make sure you find a pair that fits well enough that you aren’t worried about losing them, but not so tight that you can’t wiggle your toes easily.  You also don’t want fins that compress your arches too tightly.  Stiffer, larger fins are great for experienced divers or divers with great lower body strength.  If you’re less experienced and/or know that you’re not all that well conditioned, stick with more flexible, smaller fins.

Lastly, your dive computer will monitor your depth and remaining dive time.  Some also track ascent rate and how much air you have left.

Finding the best and best-fitting gear to meet your needs can help you dive head first into the wonderful world of undersea adventure.

Before you get too excited to snorkel or dive into the deep blue sea, head to first to read the best snorkel gear review and other diving gear reviews.

Here’s Why You Should Attend Conferences

In today’s internet-obsessed world, there are more ways than ever to learn about anything under the sun and sharpen your skills in a way that can help advance your career.  Podcasts, YouTube videos, blogs, websites, and webinars can all offer all the extra training and motivation you need.  With all this help available any time of day or night and from the comfort of home while you’re in your favorite PJs, who needs to attend live conferences anymore, right?  I mean, is it really necessary to get dressed, travel across town (or even farther away), and spend a couple of days wishing you were someplace else?  Well, maybe it isn’t necessary, but it can still be beneficial.  See below for a few reasons that attending, or sending your employees to, real-world, in-person workshops, seminars, and conferences is still a good idea.

Speaker at Business Conference and Presentation.

Get inspired and refreshed

It may seem that the best way to be the best at what you do is to keep doing it day after day after day.  While it’s true that practice makes perfect, we sometimes get so caught up in our way of doing things that we miss opportunities to grow through learning.  Conferences can be a great way to really interact with others who do what you do, but may do it in slightly different ways.  You and your peers can often put your heads together and come up with even better ways to keep doing what you do in an even more efficient or productive manner.

At such industry events, you’re also likely to meet folks as excited as you used to be about your profession.  We all tend to lose a little bit of our passion over time.  Meeting someone whose fire is still burning brightly can spark your own.  Likewise, you could meet somebody who ends up being inspired by you.

Many seminars and similar events offer off-topic sessions, which can be a great chance to give your brain a break from its everyday grind.  You might find workshops on improving memory, boosting workplace morale, or relaxation and stress-relieving techniques, all of which can be great additions to your existing arsenal.

Most conferences offer open-discussion sessions.  These are an opportunity for you and others in your position to have open, off-the-cuff discussions that aren’t guided or scripted.  Sessions like this can be an unexpected way for one or more of you to come up with solutions to problems you didn’t even know you had.

See and be seen

Networking continues to be critical to many professions.  Meeting peers in person is still the best way to get your name “out there.”  Networking shouldn’t be seen as necessary only for those looking to change jobs.  The more people you have on your list of contacts, the more sources you have available when you run into a new problem or challenge, have an idea of your own to share, or maybe are looking for new employees.  It’s also always good to have contemporaries with whom you can share info about vendors and other providers, too.

In addition to others in your position, conferences can be a great way to meet industry leaders and innovators face to face.  Being able to put faces to the names you’ve seen in the literature can be inspiring because meeting these folks reminds you that your industry’s giants are real people, just like you.  If they did it, why can’t you?

Have some fun

Most conference organizers make it a point to build in some fun activities for attendees.  Taking advantage of such events (like cocktail parties, excursions to nearby attractions, etc.) is a great opportunity to relax a bit.  We all need to unwind sometimes.  Being able to socialize with contemporaries and peers can be another way to forge relationships that could go beyond work.

In a nutshell, take advantage of all of the web-based opportunities for growth, but don’t pass up the chance to enrich yourself with good old-fashioned face-to-face meetings, too–especially if somebody else is willing to pay for it!