So, after watching Shark Week on the Discovery channel, you’ve gone out and taken scuba diving lessons and gotten certified. In the process you bought the basic gear of mask, snorkel, fins and wet suit. Now what?
You need a regulator, buoyancy compensator and weight belt of course, but it’s that all-important tank that gives you air underwater that has you most concerned. Of course the dive shop that provided the scuba lessons has all the gear you need, but will you get the best deal?
Where to Look
Like many other facets of the economy, anything and everything you need for scuba diving can be found on the Internet. The question is, do you want to purchase something as bulky and heavy as scuba tanks through the World Wide Web?
Buy Pony Tanks
Small tanks are cheaper. If you’re looking for an 80 cubic foot tank, the Internet might be the wrong place to buy, but if you’re looking for a pony tank with six or 13 cubic feet capacity, the Internet might be the place to shop. The hiccup in that strategy is that scuba tanks are shipped with assembly required upon receipt.
Pony tanks, the smaller tanks, are primarily for safety in that you would only use them should your main air system fail. They have their own regulators and stages and some even have gauges. When shipped, all of that is disassembled and the user is required to not only assemble it, but also get it certified as safe to use once assembled.
The Benefit of Looking Online
The Internet can still play a role in your tank purchase even if you don’t buy from an online retailer. One of the great benefits of the Internet is being able to compare different brands. This also applies to scuba tanks.
On any given scuba website you can find at least five different brands with specifications and photos, a great advantage when shopping. What’s more, dive shops should be somewhat familiar with the online retailers and their prices. Local shops themselves often have websites. In San Diego, California, for instance, all the dive shops have web sites, like Ocean Enterprises and the Diving Locker, two of the biggest in the area.
The Internet spares you the trouble of traveling to every store in the area. Find a pony tank to fit your needs, be it on a local or national website, and you can check prices online, call the local stores with any questions you might have and make an informed choice without the pressure of a sales associate watching your every breath.
Twenty years ago, ten even, we depended on scuba magazines to get information on scuba gear. Now, with the Internet, you can peruse a variety of sites and make your selections in a leisurely manner. And if you’re buying a pony tank, an essential piece of safety gear, you want to make as sober and studied choice as possible. Your life depends on it.