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What's in a save-a-dive kit and why you'll want to have one.

Matt Everett   Jun 07, 2023

Have you ever bit through a mouthpiece or had a mask strap break? Ever had a leaky valve o-ring that wouldn’t stop hissing? Missing a dive due to small equipment failures can ruin a weekend of diving and cause irritation and frustration. That is where a save-a-dive kit comes in! These kits contain spare pieces and parts of common equipment failure points and can allow you to fix the problem in minutes, keeping you in the water and happy. Companies make preassembled kits filled with generic spare parts, but these are not always compatible with every brand so to ensure you never miss a dive, the best method is to assemble your own kit filled with parts specific for your equipment. For example, generic save-a-dive kits will include a spare mask strap but perhaps the width of that strap is not compatible with your mask, or your mask uses a different buckle system. This is when having a custom-made kit will save the day. Another component of a good save-a-dive kit is a toolkit that will allow you to make adjustments to gear, but you should only make adjustments if you know what you are doing. The best way to learn about your equipment, how it works, and how to maintain it is by taking our PADI Equipment Specialist class (learn more here). Let’s look at our recommended list of parts and accessories to keep nearby whenever you go diving: 


Dry Box or Bag: the first thing you will need is a place to store everything. The best place to keep your save-a-dive kit items is inside a dry bag or dry box so that everything contained within will stay in good condition. These bags and boxes will keep out dirt, dust, sand, water, and UV rays that can harm and damage the items inside. The size bag or box you need depends on how many spare parts you carry with you, but you want to make sure the kit is small enough that you can easily carry it with you to the beach or on the dive boat.
Fin Straps and Buckles: a common point of failure on fins is the rubber heel strap which can break or crack due to wear or age. It is important to give your fin straps a once over before going diving and if you see any cracking or tearing, it is time to change those straps. If they do break, having a spare set will allow you to get in the water in minutes by swapping the strap out. Sometimes the plastic buckles used for tightening and adjusting the straps can break so it’s also a good idea to carry an extra set of those. Make sure the straps and buckles in your kit are compatible with your fin: lots of brands use a similar style of strap attachment but it is not universal so make sure to try the straps and buckles on your fins before adding them to your save-a-dive kit. Spring straps don’t wear out the same way as rubber straps so if you use those, you are good to go. 

Mask Strap: another common point of failure is a mask strap snapping and breaking. This prevents you from being able to dive and such a small failure can be infuriating because it can happen at any point, even when you are in the water. An extra mask strap is an excellent part of a save-a-dive kit because they are cheap and easy to replace. Ensure the strap is compatible with your mask (some have different widths or sizes of bumps that determine how tight the strap can go) and consider carrying spare buckles if your mask has replaceable ones. Another alternative to carrying spare straps and buckles is to have a second mask. This option will completely cover you for a mask failure as well as would allow a buddy who forgot their mask to continue diving with you.

O-rings: o-rings are an important item to carry with your save-a-dive kit. From a leaking valve to air hissing from the first stage connection of a hose, spare o-rings are a quick fix that will get you in the water with peace of mind. Before opening up a regulator or disconnecting hoses to replace o-rings, make sure you know what you are doing. The best way to know what to do is to take our PADI Equipment Specialist where you learn about the internal parts of regulators, BCDs and tank valves and will teach you what common o-rings need to be changed. There are tons of different o-ring sizes so having a variety of them will cover you for common situations. The easiest way to obtain the common o-rings is through a kit such as our Dive Tank Keychain that contains lots of common o-ring sizes inside a scuba tank shaped keychain which protects them from dust or wear and tear. The best part of the keychain is that it includes an o-ring pick for removing the old o-ring. The most commonly replaced o-ring is the one at the top of the valve where you connect your regulator. There are two different sizes of these o-rings, one thinner and one thicker and the size needed depends on the specific tank valve. It’s a good idea to carry several of each size with you to ensure you can stop a leaking valve.

Zip Ties: a must have for any save-a-dive kit is zip ties. Lots of people are surprised at how useful zip ties are for fixing problems. From simply attaching a mouthpiece onto a regulator to holding a dying fin strap together for one more dive, zip ties can be very useful to rig something up to get through the dive before a more permanent fix is available. Having a few zip ties of different lengths and thicknesses allows you create a solution in moments. We don’t recommend using gear only held together by zip ties but they do a great job in a pinch!

Mouthpiece: jumping off our previous item, a spare regulator mouthpiece is a great item to carry with you. After chewing through the bite tabs, mouthpieces become very uncomfortable and a major annoyance while in the water. Swapping a new mouthpiece takes a minute and only requires a new mouthpiece, a zip tie, and some way to remove the old zip tie.

Tool Kit: the last item we consider essential to any save-a-dive kit is a set of tools. From wrenches to plyers, a good tool kit can solve many problems. Some people like to build their own, but we love the Diver Tool and Repair Kit we carry because it has everything you need! It contains 4 different wrench sizes plus an adjustable wrench, two screwdrivers, plyers, Allen wrenches, silicone grease, spare common o-rings, zip ties, and an o-ring pick. This kit truly has it all and comes in a neat protective case. 


First Aid Supplies: a great add on to any save-a-dive kit is some basic first aid supplies. The most common items are waterproof bandages, sunscreen, Dramamine for motion sickness, and ear drops. This item is very customizable and can be as large or small as you want.

Snorkel Keeper or Octo Holder: another common failure point are the rubber loops used to hold snorkels and octo regulators. These stretch out and can break over time due to use and are a major frustration when they do not work properly. A spare set is cheap, small and easy to keep with your save-a-dive kit.

Mask Defog: nothing is worse than a mask fogging constantly and ruining a dive so spare anti-fog always has a place in your kit. Even if you prefer to spit in your mask, buddies will always welcome a diver with anti-fog!
Computer Battery: this is an item that should only be carried by someone who knows how to change their computer battery and is comfortable doing so at moment’s notice. Computer batteries are easily forgotten when you check your gear before going diving and a dead battery can ruin your dive plans. Some computers and brands have user replaceable batteries, but others require a trained repair technician; some brands actually void the warranty if the battery is changed by anyone not trained by their manufacturer training program so be careful and make sure to do research into your computer before attempting to change a battery by yourself.

Hair Ties: a simple item that doesn’t take much room but can save your day! Always good to keep several of these on hand for emergencies. 


Weight Belt Buckle and Weight Stops: if you use weight belts, then this should be an essential item. Plastic buckles and weight stops break all the time so having a few spare is important to keep you in the water. Consider looking into stainless steel options for both the buckles and weight stops to get a longer lifespan out of these items. 

Aquaseal or Wetsuit Patches: wetsuit repairs require the suit to be dry and take at least 24 hours for the contact cement to dry after application. So not important for a beach dive but can be useful on a dive trip.
Zipper Lubricant and Seal Powder: both are must haves for drysuits. Keeping the zipper lubricated will ensure proper function and improve the lifespan of the zipper. Putting powder on wrist and neck seals will also improve their lifespan and help prevent seals tearing.

Port Plugs: these can be important in certain situations. These port plugs are used to fill the threads in the first stage of a regulator where hoses connect to. They are useful if a hose was completely unusable and needs to be taken off a regulator setup, but this situation is not very common.
Certification Cards: either the original or a laminated copy of certification cards for use on dive boats or dive shops.

Paracord: very useful for rigging something up or attaching pieces of equipment after a strap or clip breaks. 


Want to create a custom Save-A-Dive Kit? Stop by the store as we are happy to create one with you for your specific needs. We also sell premaid kits if you want something basic to get you started. 




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