Stay safe underwater by choosing the best dive knives.

Published: 03rd January 2007
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Dive Knives: The many different ways they keep you safe

Taking precautions and extra safety measures is a must in scuba
diving. There are so many possible situations where trouble could
arise, meaning each diver needs to have properly functioning
basic equipment as well as additional accessory safety equipment.
Dive knives are highly recommended accessory because they are
multi-purpose safety equipment. As a result of the multi-faceted
quality of dive knives, many recreational divers carry one on
every dive, no matter how pleasant the conditions.

While it is not necessary in favorable diving conditions to carry
dive knives, there are other underwater terrains that can only be
safely ventured through with a knife. It is wise to keep a dive
knife readily available when swimming through caves, sea grass,
kelp or other areas where your equipment may catch. With dive
knives you can quickly cut yourself away from anything and avoid
having to abandon your equipment or perform an emergency accent.

Dive knives are also a helpful accessory to use for line cutting.
This task may be necessary while diving to free fish or coral
from caught lines or if you are spear fishing. Although dive
knives, or any knives, are primarily for cutting, chopping or
sawing at something, divers use them to perform other
not-so-obvious tasks. Dive knives are also used to dig, scrape
and scratch in an effort to uncover something you are unable to
see at first glance. You will also often find that divers use
their knives to pound on a rock or their tank in order to catch
their buddy's attention.

Of all the choices in styles, types and features you have for
dive knives, those with serrated edges are the most diversely
used because the serrations perform a better cutting job on the
things you might need to cut underwater. Since serrated edges are
a prevalent feature on most dive knives, it is better to classify
the knives in different ways. The common separation between types
of dive knives is whether one has a blunt tip or a drop point.

The blunt tip dive knives are unlike the typical sharp tip knife
you would think of because the tip is not pointed, rather squared
off. Blunt tip dive knives are popular for recreational divers
who prefer to carry a knife on every dive for safety purposes,
but they rarely use it. Dive knives with a blunt tip are much
safer than a pointed edge, or drop point, and you are less likely
to puncture any equipment.

For many divers, having a drop pointed edge on their dive knives
is not at all necessary. Cutting lines or kelp underwater
requires only the sharp, serrated edge and digging with a squared
tip is actually more efficient than using a typical knife. Still,
for others the drop point dive knives are preferred and in some
instances, a drop point is more effective.

Aside from the knife tip style you choose, dive knives are also
separated by where they are attached on a diver. Dive knives are
either strapped onto a person's leg or attached to the BCD on the
shoulder strap or a hose. Pocket dive knives are another way of
carrying a knife, but it is usually a back-up. Wherever you carry
your dive knife or knives, be sure at least one is easily
accessible with both hands if possible.

In addition to the mixture of the above listed features, dive
knives have blades made out of one of two metals: stainless steel
or titanium. Both types of blades are widely used by recreational
scuba divers. The deciding factor between which metal to use is
often a question of how large your budget is. Titanium dive
knives are not unreasonably expensive, but they are noticeably
more costly than stainless steel knives.

Stainless steel is what the original dive knives were made of,
and the quality of knives made from this metal has increased
through time. Cleaning maintenance is necessary for stainless
steel dive knives in order to keep them sharp and rust free.
Since the introduction of titanium knives, divers have
experienced the luxury of having a rust resistant, durable, low
maintenance and long lasting dive knife.

However, as mentioned before, price keeps some people from
switching to titanium dive knives. For the price of a basic,
low-end titanium dive knife you could buy a quality designed,
high profile stainless steel knife. That argument works for some
divers, but others believe the slightly extra monetary investment
is worth getting a life long, barely destructible dive knife.

It is not impossible to find affordable titanium dive knives. At a titanium dive knife is featured at about
$50, which is inexpensive for any titanium dive knife. The blade
is mid-sized at nearly four and a half inches long with a drop
point tip and serrated edge. Overall this titanium dive knife is
suitable for a broad range of divers because of its high quality,
affordable price and moderate blade size.

If its stainless steel dive knives you are looking for, the
Skeleton knife available at is a good starting
point. The Skelton is at full size, nine inches overall,
stainless steel dive knife for $15. For a full size knife that
comes with leg strap attachments, this is a good deal. The blade
does have serrations on one side and a pointed tip, which are
both features that make it useful for many situations.

Both above examples of titanium and stainless steel dive knives
are good choices for a diver's first knife, although the titanium
knife will probably last for many years to come. In each metal
category the prices of other dive knives will increase from that
of the knives listed, depending on blade size, attachment type,
tip style and other added features.

Aside from the styles and features of the blades, you want to pay
attention to the casing that will be holding the knife while it
is attached to either your leg or BCD. You want a case that will
securely hold the knife in place while you swim. The holder
should also have a release button or clasp that is easy to find
and function underwater.

Laura Cain is a freelance author that writes
regularly on items pertaining to scuba diving and snorkeling.
You can find many of her articles at . The site also features
tips on budgeting for scuba equipment ( ) as well
as a scuba gear checklist ( ) .

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