Cheap Dive Knives

No, I’m not going to try to sell you dive knives in this post. In fact, if I was a dive knife salesmen, this is the last post I would write.

I read something interesting in a dive book, it might have been Deep Descent: Adventure and Death Diving the Andrea Doria. They mentioned something that is a bit of a mainstay in technical diving:

Never buy an expensive dive knife.

The reasoning is that if you drop an expensive knife, you are likely to go after it. In tec diving, this could mean your life. And working with a knife underwater, especially with gloves on, has a high likelihood of droppage.

I suggest that this "rule" should be extended to recreational diving. For the same reasons, and for one more:

There is very little you will need to do with a knife that requires an expensive one.

If you’re trapped by a fishing line, a cheap steel bladed knife will cut it just as effectively as an expensive high-grade alloy.

I imagine most advantages of an expensive knife are in the longevity. This is a good consideration when buying anything, but I still say go with the cheaper options. A little care can go a long ways to increase the knife’s lifespan, and no piece of equipment is worth your life.

Diving with Contact Lenses

Ever since I was a kid, I hated opening my eyes underwater. The burn of chlorinated, or worse, salt water, had me squeezing my eyes tighter than a duck’s butt. At least you knew I was never cheating at Marco Polo.

As I grew older and started wearing contact lenses, the situation most certainly did not improve. If I opened my eyes while wearing contacts, they’d certainly pop out, right?

Fast forward a few years. As part of the circuit of skill demonstrations required for PADI divemaster certification, you must swim a large circle with your mask off ...

Protect What You Love

Jean-Michel Cousteau is the son of the famous Jacques Cousteau. He published a memoir this summer, My Father, the Captain, so we’ve seen his name in the media a little more frequently.

One article in particular caught my attention. In it, Cousteau muses about the future of the earth’s oceans and how he feels about it. He quotes a saying from his father: "People protect what they love."

It’s true, and I find it interesting because it refocuses environmental efforts. Our job is not to beg people and politicians (notice how I separate the two?) to preserve ...

Queen Anne’s Revenge


Just about everybody loves pirates, including scuba divers. Scratch that. Especially scuba divers.

So what scuba diver would pass up the chance to do something involving her two favorite things? First, a little background.


The name strikes fear into the hearts (and wallets) of landlubbers everywhere. Few names have stood the test of time since the Golden Age of Piracy, and Blackbeard is one of them. He knew the power of name branding, and that no one would remember the name Edward Teach (Blackbeard’s sort-of real name^1^). So Blackbeard it was, with a fearsome image to ...

Marlins and Swordfish: What’s the Difference?

I thought I’d try something different today than the usual fish identification post.

Instead, we’re going to talk about telling the difference between two fish: the marlin and the swordfish. You’re not likely to run across either of these fish on a scuba trip, but they are commonplace on television (fishing shows, woohoo!) and on our dinner plates. For those that already know the difference, I congratulate you. The rest of us should read on.

First things first, both fish are members of the billfish family. Billfish encompass fish that have sword-like bills. This basically means marlins ...

Why You Suck at Diving

I was going to begin this article by stating, “You know who you are”, but the truth is you don’t. So let me say this instead---I’m on to you. Your gig is up, and we won’t tolerate your suckiness any longer.

How do you know if you’re a sucky diver? Let me tell you.

  • You only care about stats. How many dives you have, how many certifications you have, how long your dives are. These are the things the sucky diver cares most about. Meanwhile, all the good divers pity them for having 1000 pointless dives ...

Fish Identification - King Mackerel

Continuing with a royal theme beginning with last week’s queen angelfish, this week’s fish identification article is on the king mackerel.

Physical description

Like all mackerel, the king is a medium sized fish that is long and tube-shaped. They can be small (about 5 pounds) to sizes over 90 pounds, in extreme cases. 5-30 pounds is normal.

They have dorsal spines, but they are hardly visible for two reasons. First, it’s colorless, and second, it is usually receded into a groove, as are their pectoral fins. They have a small dorsal and anal fin that reminds me ...

5 Things More Likely Than a Shark Attack

are five things more likely? Keywords: shark,attack

Humans have an irrational fear of sharks. Most of this, I believe, is simply fear of the unknown. We don’t understand sharks nor most of the ocean and this frightens us. Combined with their poor treatment by the media and entertainment world, sharks overall get a bad rap.

I’m here today to balance the score a little. Statistics put the risk of a shark attack worldwide at about 1 in almost 300 million. That’s a 3 with 8 zeros behind it! And this is only taking into account those ...

Fish Identification: Queen Angelfish

On many reef dives, the beautiful queen angelfish may be so kind as to grace you with its presence. Fortunately, the protocol for visiting this royalty is fairly lax.

Physical description

Angelfish are unmistakeable, with the queen no exception. They have very flat, disc-shaped bodies, with blunt, rounded heads.

The dorsal and anal fins extend along the top and bottom of the body, trailing backwards like the fins on a sports car.

It is the coloring that sets the queen angelfish apart from its peasant brethren. In total, it is a combination of brilliant blues and yellows. Look for a ...

Can I Get Sued For Not Helping a Diver? (Redux)

I am not a lawyer, and this is not official legal advice. In addition, laws vary between countries, so the situation can always be different for your country or the country you’re diving in.

A while back, I attempted to answer this question about getting sued for not helping divers. Mainly this applies to professionals, who are trained to assist divers in distress.

The question was prompted by dive professionals (divemasters, instructors, etc.) who go on vacation, and when asked in a dive shop flash their advanced open water certification cards---not letting the shop know they have more training ...