Scientific Diving – AKA how many bits of equipment can I hang off my dive gear

Most people who have worked underwater can probably relate to this post in some way or another.


For my research, there are a number of items that I need to keep close at hand: slate, spray bottle, fish net, bags, tags, tape measure, torch, camera, GPS, transect line…. Not to mention the regulated safety gear that we need to carry. I usually carry a catch bag full of sciency gear, but I find digging through it frustrating. Many of my bits and bobs are positively buoyant and tend to float away when I go digging through the bag. 

I must say, I do love my BC (buoyancy compensator). It has D-rings all over it which makes attaching all of my equipment much easier. This does however, make it quite heavy which isn’t so good for travelling with. Another frustration for me is all of the clips etc. that I have to buy to attach it all. Anything designed for underwater use is usually haenously expensive.

Another frustration I have is that a lot of my equipment (not my diving equipment) are things made for use on land which means that they tend to rust out pretty quickly. For example our spray bottles are just those typical ones you buy at the supermarket. We are lucky to get 2 weeks use out of these.

One piece of gear the I have found to be quite useful for storing small things like spare cables ties and zip-lock bags, is a thigh pouch. Mine is the Seac Sub one. I know DiveRite also makes one and I think I have seen one in the past by Halcyon (who also make some very stylish pocket shorts which pull on over the top of your wetsuit). Many wetsuit brands also make glue on pockets for your wettie.

I also tend to poke things down into my cumberbund if I’m not planning on moving for a little while (they tend to fall out while I’m swimming). Small things like coral tags and cable ties I slip under the wrist band of my computer.

I’d love to hear ideas from others on how you go about carrying everything you need and organising your gear and solutions you’ve come up with for adapting things (especially spray bottles!!) for under water use.



  1. I noticed recently that a lot of POV camera makers are making poles and hand grips/mounts that can be made to have neutral buoyancy,which would no doubt be very handy if you dropped them whilst diving. Lachlan@fishthinkers

    1. You guys get to play with some cool toys! We have to tie most of our stuff down with sinkers and dive weights. Neutrally buoyant gear would be a big help. Would have saved us dozens of pencils over the last few years. Wonder if anyone’s working on that 🙂

  2. My personal favourite is sci diving with a plastic shopping basket. I was usually carrying tools around with me underwater, so they were heavy enough to weight my basket down so it wouldn’t float off. And the plastic mesh walls were great for tying or clipping lighter things to, like zip lock bags or measuring tape, that would otherwise wash out. Works well for benthic stuff where you’re not covering too much distance, wouldn’t be so good for midwater or mobile work.

    1. Haha! classic Cameron! Great idea.
      How did you clip the zip lock bags to the basket? I’m usually carrying 30 odd bags. I’ve been rolling them and holding a bunch together with an elastic band. Thinking about popping a sinker into each bag to stop them floating away when I try to pull them out of the elastic bag.

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