Buying vs Renting Scuba Gear

Most divers will start off buying their own mask, snorkel, fins and maybe even a wetsuit. But jumping to the next step of purchasing your own regulators and BCD can be a huge financial decision. So the question always comes up, “Should I buy or just keep renting?” Of course there are a lot of things to consider. Investing in your own dive gear has a lot of benefits including familiarity with how it fits and works and knowing how it has been used and abused. On the other hand, if you choose to use rental gear, you can try different brands, models, and types of gear to see what you like or don’t like. If the gear is kept up and maintained properly, you don’t have the added expense of annual servicing. But then again with rental gear, sometimes you don’t know if it has been properly maintained.

One of the first questions I always ask a customer is, “How often do you dive or do you think you will dive?” We decided to take this one step further and actually analyze, from a financial perspective, at what point does the decision to buy your own gear make financial sense. Here are the results from a strictly financial point of view.

Assumptions Made:

  • Shopping around North America including the Caribbean, the average rental fee for a BCD, regulators, and dive computer was about $38 per day.
  • We assumed in the analysis that the diver will be doing 2 dives per day. Of course they may do more or less, so this was a good average to use.
  • Average investment for a BCD, regulators, and dive computer:
    • Low end: $1725 includes cost of servicing every two years
    • High end: $3950 includes cost of servicing every year
Dives per Year Days per Year (assuming 2 dives/day) Rental Costs per Year

(assuming $38 per day)

Renting For 5 Years
10 5 $38 x 5 = $190 $190 x 5 = $950
18 9 $38 x 9 = $342 $342 x 5 = $1710
22 11 $38 x 11 = $418 $418 x 5 = $2090
25 12.5 $38 x 12.5 = $475 $475 x 5 = $2375
35 17.5 $38 x 17.5 = $665 $665 x 5 = $3325
41 20.5 $38 x 20.5 = $779 $779 x 5 = $3895
50 25 $38 x 25 = $950 $950 x 5 = $4750

Conclusion:

A diver doing 18 dives per year (that’s only 9 days of diving per year) would pay out approximately $1710 in rental fees for those dives. That is very close to the investment required for a low-end priced set of gear.

A diver doing 41 dives per year (that’s 20.5 days of diving per year) would pay out approximately $3895 in rental fees for those dives. That is very close to the investment required for a high-end priced set of gear.

We repeated the analysis based on 10 years of diving with the same gear initially purchased. Assuming there would be 5 more years of gear servicing fees, the payback period was 11 dives per year on the low end and 25 dives per year on the high end.

If you’re planning a vacation where diving will be your main activity for 1-2 weeks, you might find just 1 or 2 dive trips will make purchasing a better option for you.

If you need advice in selecting gear that is right for you and the type of diving you plan on doing, we are always here to help! Email or give us a call.

2018 Jul 26th Angie Garred

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