The Prime Scuba


Dive Knives
Why You Shouldn't Dive Without a Knife

New divers often think they can submerge with the bare minimum equipment, and in some cases that might be right; you're not going to be going on challenging dives right away. But there are some essential pieces of equipment that any diver needs when diving in natural water, and a knife is one of them. The only time you can leave the knife on land is when you're diving in a pool.

Don't be nervous, though. We're not suggesting that you're going to encounter a great white. Dive knifes can be used to fend off wildlife, but that's not what why most people carry knives.

In fact, most divers will only ever use their knives while under water to untangle their equipment from seaweed, fishing line or kelp. Many divers use knives on land fairly often too. On land, you may need a dive knife to open oyster shells or tighten or loosen screws. The dive knife is like the Swiss army knife of the sea.

About the Blade

When you start shopping for dive knives, you'll quickly notice that they look a bit different from your standard knife. Many of them come with blunt-tipped blades, so they can be used to pry things, or they can be used as a screwdriver. For this reason, blunt-tipped blades are perfect for recreational divers.

If you're a fisherman (or woman), a pointed-tip blade will be more helpful, for obvious reasons.

Size: In addition to a choice of blade tip, you'll have your choice of length. Dive blades come in three sizes, small, medium and large. Medium is the most common size for recreational divers because it's large enough to be useful, but not so large that it will be cumbersome.

Material: Blades are usually made from one of three materials: stainless steel, titanium or a metal allow. All are incredibly strong, durable and corrosion-resistant, so you can't really go wrong.

Maintenance: Even though dive knife blades are made to be resistant, they still will need some maintenance. After every salt water dive, rinse your knife in fresh water (if you don't, it'll corrode). Leave it out of its sheath and unfolded to dry.

Cutting Edge: You can get a straight or serrated dive knife. Just like a regular knife, serrated blades are jagged. These are perfect for cutting through tough materials like bone or thick rope. Serrated blades also stay sharp longer than straight-edged blades. But there are some benefits to a straight edge. These knives are good for cutting through seaweed and fishing line. You don't always have to choose one or the other; some dive knives come equipped with both.

Grip: First and foremost, the grip on your dive knife should be about the same size as its blade. If it's unbalanced, it may be difficult to use. The material you choose here is all about personal choice, but make sure it feels comfortable in your hand, and you can get a good grip on it with your gloves on. Material choices include metal, metal coated and rubber coated.

To Sheath or Not-to-Sheath?

Folding knives are popular because they can easily be stored in a BCD, and because they are unlikely to accidentally snag anything. The tradeoff is that they can be difficult to open with gloves on. If you opt to sheath your knife, it will probably attach to your leg or BCD for easy access.