When you lose or misplace your dive gear-do you want it back?
Article written by Ken Kollwitz
I know this probably seems like a very silly question, like who doesn’t want their gear back when they lose it or misplace it. I know I would and I am sure everyone would want the same but still the question persists.
I’ll tell you a few quick stories and the last one will really kick you in the butt with the reason why I ask this.
Story 1) To make a long story short I had a dive tracker that my dive buddy ended up with and it dropped over board and he was not able to retrieve it and I was not aware of any of this. Then one day I get a call from a commercial diver who said he found it and guess what it had been in the ocean for about 12 months and it still worked. How did the commercial diver know who to contact? Easy, because I had my name and telephone number engraved on the dive tracker.
Story 2) My buddy and I were on a 2 day dive trip and he found a very nice Scubapro speargun. Upon checking it was not from anyone on the trip we were on and there was nothing marking it as to who it belonged to so guess what…I have had a very nice Scubapro spear gun for at least the last 15 years.
Story 3) I lost a nice mesh bag while on a club beach dive. 3 months later our club was at the same beach and I heard one of the club members say that they found a mesh bag. I asked if it had a certain marking on it and it did because it was my bag.
Story 4) This is the kick yourself in the butt story. Now that I run dive trips for my business-Channel Islands Dive Adventures I usually take home any personal items that are left on the boat. On a trip I had to West Santa Cruz on Sept. 6th there was a BC (nice one) left behind so I brought it home and rinsed it and proceeded to look for some identifying mark or name of which I found nothing. This BC also had a small knife and wrench in one of the pockets. I emailed everyone I could think of and mentioned it to the boat owner just in case they got a call and guess what. It is now going on 2 months and no one seems to have noticed their BC is missing.
So now I ask the original question again, when you lose or misplace your dive gear-do you want it back? If you do then what do the 4 stories have in common which is not really all that common. They are marked with a name, telephone number and /or special marking like a branding iron. The commercial diver told me he finds stuff all the time but how is he going to find the owner when there is just a name (usually only the first name) on it. So now you know the secret.
You more than likely heard already that you will lose dive gear and if you haven’t yet your turn is coming up and I can tell you from experience that it will happen. I recently lost two knives and probably won’t get them back but they do have my name and number on them just in case. I also just recently had a 2 day trip and 2 wetsuits had been left behind. Had they had a name and number marked inside I would have called the owners immediately helping them to avoid a trip back to the boat or some extra shipping charges if they get so lucky.
What is the best way to mark stuff permanently? For me I engrave everything I can and then wipe it with a yellow paint marker. If I can’t do that than it gets done with a yellow or black marker or even labels with the info on it. Using a label maker is handy for camera gear. I even have engraved the hard plastic skirt around my mask, knife holders, regulators and BC back plate plus everything else I own. It doesn’t have to be large just noticeable enough to someone looking for the owner and wanting to do the right thing!