How To Choose a Dive Computer - by Greg McCracken

computers_veo2_0_wrist1Most computers do the same thing.  There are some little features that may make one different than the other, for example, back lighting capability, some will have additional hardware you can purchase to upload data to your computer, etc.  The common features of all computers are; they calculate your depth, bottom time and dive table/no decompression time.  They also have ascent rate indicators, log your dives and they almost all have the ability to input Nitrox blends.

Essentially there are two differences between computer models and manufactures.  They are the computers configuration and what dive table algorithm the computer uses.  A third feature to look for is the customer service provided by the supplier.
Configuration has to do with its display (is it easy to read), its size (watch style vs. "puck" style) and how easy is it to access the various functions (dive plan mode, dive log mode, set nitrox mixtures, etc.). 
The algorithm is related to which dive table it has integrated.  Of course most divers are familiar with the PADI dive tables as this is what they learn when they first start diving.  The PADI dive tables were created by DSAT (Diving Science and Technology) which is a sister company of PADI.  To this day, they are the only dive table tested for recreational diving.  Other common algorithms you will see are known as Buhlmann Z16 and RGBM (Reduced Gradient Bubble Model).  Both of these algorithms were primarily tested and used for decompression diving.  When comparing the DSAT algorithm with the other two algorithms, you will notice that the DSAT actually gives you more time underwater, especially at deeper depths (around 100 ft/30 m.).  Believe it or not, I think this is actually a good thing.  The problem I see with the decompression based algorithms is that they are overly conservative (due to the fact that they are based on decompression not no-decompression diving).  There are many draw backs to the conservative algorithms.  First they do not give you as much dive time (the idea of a computer is to give you more dive time - within safe limits), they often put you into false decompression meaning they may require you to do long decompression stops when they are actually not necessary.  If you do not or can not (based on your air supply) meet their decompression obligations, they are prone to lock out and will not allow you to dive again for 24 hours.  They also typically becoming increasingly more conservative for repetitive dives as they have a slower gas wash out tissue.  I can give you specific examples of this at the shop.
The brand of computers we recommend for most divers would be from Oceanic or its sister company Aeris as they have a range of computers that differ in their price, features and configuration.  They also give you the best options for algorithm, in fact, they are the only manufacturer that uses the DSAT algorithm.  Oceanic computers also give you the choice to use the more conservative Buhlmann algorithm as well.  Personally, I think the DSAT algorithm is the one to use for recreational diving as it is well tested and gives you more dive time.    The local Oceanic distributor also has excellent service (as do we!) should you ever have a warranty issue.

Kaon-portrait-webAnother style of computers to consider are from a company called Liquivision.  Liquivision computers (Xen, Kaon, Lynx and XEO) use OLED display which make them incredibly easy to see underwater.  They are also feature rich and untilize tap technology which makes them very intuitive to use.  Liquivision computers also allow frimware updates which means you can update your computer anytime Liquivision puts out a new software upgrade.  Without question, Liquivision computers are one of the most innovative on the market and get a big thumbs up from me.
A note about air integrated computers:  If you choose an air integrated computer, we strongly recommend that you also have a back up analog pressure gauge.  The reason for this is if your computer ever fails underwater, you will lose all of your information including your air pressure.  This leaves you with only one safe option, go to the surface.  If you have an analog pressure gauge and your computer fails, you will still surface, however, you can rely on your buddy's information to determine information such as depth and time, you can do a long safety stop as necessary, you may even be able to complete repetitive dives. 

A note about purchasing used computers or buying on-line:  Used computers as well as computers purchased on-line do not come with a manufactures warranty.  Although computers are very reliable, they can still fail due to a warranty malfunction.  We are able to efficiently support any warranty problems with computers purchased through the Ocean Quest.  If a used or on-line purchased computer fails, you will have no service or support. 

Sidemount Diving Hits Vancouver, BC!

Jeff Loflin visited Ocean Quest Dive Centre to conduct a Sidemount Adventure Weekend.  Jeff did an amazing talk on the "Evolution of Sidemount" to a packed crowed of almost 50 divers, he conducted a "Discover Sidemount" pool dive for 25 divers and taught a Tec Sidemount Course to owner of Ocean Quest, PADI Course Director and Trimix Instructor Trainer Greg McCracken and 3 others, Ken Dunlop, TJ Johnson and Justin Rings who are all Trimix Divers and Instructors.  "Jeff's attention to detail and quality was excellent.  He definitely lives up to his reputation as one of the top instructors in the world".  Ocean Quest will now be offering sidemount equipment, training and rentals.  Stay tuned for course dates!


Evolution_of_Sidemount Sidemount_Pool Sidemount_Briefing Tec_Sidemount_Grad_Dive

Sidemount Diving with Jeff Loflin!


It is a privilage to have the opportunity to bring Jeff  Loflin all the way from Florida to have him share his knowledge and experience about sidemount and diving in general.  Jeff is internationally known as one primary  influences in bringing siemount configuration to the open water environment .


Two Special Events on Sidemount Diving!


Free Sidemount Diving Presentation with Jeff Loflin - July 12 - 6:30 pm @ Ocean Quest

Free! - Registration required - Space is Limited!


Register On-Line for the Free Sidemount Presentation Now! 


"Discover Sidemount" Pool Dive with Jeff Loflin - July 13 - 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm @ SFU Pool - All Levels Welcome!

$50.00 + Tax - Registration required - Space is Limited!



Jeff Loflin
Jeff Loflin

What is Sidemount Diving?  Sidemount diving is just as it sounds.  Intead of wearing your back, you wear them on your side.  There are many benefits to sidemount configuration including, easy access to your valves, redundancy, better balance and  trim and a  lower profile while diving.


Jeff will be doing a free presentation on Sidemount Diving on the evening of July 12 .


Register On-Line for the Free Sidemount Presentation Now!


On July 13, Ocean Quest will be hosting a special pool night where you can try "diving sidemount"!  The evening will be conducted by Jeff Loflin and sponsored by Hollis Gear.  $50.00 will cover the cost instruction by Jeff Loflin, pool time rental and all diving equipment including Holiis Sidemount gear and regs.


All participants must be certified divers with recent diving experience. All levels welcome! 


Free Presentation - Shoot Like A Pro - Tips & Tricks For Improving Your Underwater Photography - Presented by Jett and Kathryn Britnell

May 23 at 6:30 pm at Ocean Quest Dive Centre - Registration Required - Register On Line Now!

Searching for tips and tricks to improve your underwater photography skills?


Photo by Jett Britnell

This informative seminar by internationally published diving photojournalists, Jett & Kathryn Britnell, is designed to teach you how to dramatically improve the quality of your underwater photography.

Jett & Kathryn Britnell are an internationally published diving photojournalist team and Travel Editors for Dive News Network who specialize in underwater photography and scuba diving editorial. Both are members of the BC Association of Travel Writers and apart from having over 50 magazine covers to his credit, Jett is also a member of the Ocean Artists Society (Photographer).

Greg McCracken Presents at the Vancouver Aquarium Divers Weekend - January 22 @ 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Have you every dreamed to get paid for something you love to do?  This is what our Capilano Universtity Professional Scuba Dive Instructor graduates do every day!!

Join Greg McCracken as he talks about the Professional Scuba Dive Instructor (PSDI) program at the Vancouver Aquarium Divers Weekend on January 22 @ 1:30 pm.  Graduates of the PSDI program are now working in a tropical paridise all around the world as well as here in beautiful British Columbia.

Greg will discuss the details of the program, opportunities for graduates and about diving in general.

"The scuba program at Capilano University literally changed my life. I met people who will be lifelong friends, I learned from the best & it opened up a world of opportunities that I would of never even dreamed about. I recommend this course to pretty much every person who is looking to do something different with their life. You get to dive some of the best dive sites in British Columbia and learn hands on with some of the most knowledgeable and respected dive instructors.  The experience is something that I will talk about for the rest of my life. I am only 19 and already have a career started. The Scuba Program was the best 8 months of my life so far!"Britt

Brittany Thomas
Class of 2008

For more details about the Vancouver Divers Weekend visit:




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