The Dive knife is a trademark symbol of a diver. I know that many recreational divers that go with a guide do not bring them. Most of the time a guide has a knife or a cutting tool of some sort. This is great and I am glad that they are prepared to save you. My problem is that you should always be ready to save yourself and others. The saying goes 2 is 1 and 1 is none. If the guide is the only person with a cutting tool and he loses his then you are all at risk. One of the greatest risks to divers, especially if you are not diving with a guide, is getting fouled on something on the bottom. Throughout my training as a Navy Diver the most valuable skills we were trained in was problem solving. You can train a monkey to dive, but that doesn’t mean they can solve a problem that will save your life. As a piece of required gear as a Navy Diver we all have a dive knife. The requirements are simple, The knife has to be sharp (Duh), It can’t be jettisoned (meaning that it can’t be attached to anything that you might have to ditch), and it can’t just fall out or get kicked out of its sheath it needs to have locking mechanism yet still be easy to get to and use. I am adding this next rule in because it makes sense to me, the knife needs to be easily accessible to both hands. If you put the knife on the outside of your right calf and your right arm is stuck in something it will be a bitch trying to reach for it with your left hand. So my advice is to place it on either leg, but on the inside of your leg. It’s easier to reach it from either hand if it is inside the leg. Now here are the reasons why you need to carry a knife.
- If you get tangled up you need to cut yourself free. You are most likely diving a wreck and most of the time many fisherman fish on these wrecks( meaning fishing line, nets, steel leaders and braided line), some times they are not cleaned out and have wires and insulation floating around. Get a knife that can cut through steel braid easily, and get a knife sharpener with it to keep it nice and sharp.
- Your buddy might need to get cut free.
- It can be used as a probe. If you are spearfishing or searching for something you can use is to probe beneath the sand, pry, scrape, or pound on something. I have used my knife as a hammer more than an actual knife. Granted my dives were working dives and mostly on equipment, the reason stands valid, you are better to have one and not need it than need one and not have it.
- This reason is mostly for spear-fishermen, it is used to finish a fish after you have shot it. Many fish in the ocean have spines and toxins that can really mess you up. The lionfish, or the stone fish. I had to remove a remora from a my tank as well as a stonefish that was getting a little too friendly with my dive buddy, as you know stone fish are not to be messed with. A quick flick with the knife and it darted off.
- Lastly is one of the most important and useful things to use a dive knife for. Tapping on your tanks. This is a means of signaling. If you ever get separated from you buddy, go back to where you last saw him/her and if you still can’t find them start tapping on your tank in sets of three while ascending spinning around in circles while looking for bubbles. If you hear your buddy tapping in sets of three answer back by tapping a set of 4 while ascending and spinning in circles and looking for bubbles. This is a technique we use in the navy when we get separated and I think it could be very useful to recreational divers. I am not saying any of this will save your life but it will definitely help. It is up to ourselves to be prepared for every situation.
Quick tip: either use WD-40 or a little bit of chain oil/grease on the blade of the knife while storing it. It helps keep it from rusting after dives.
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Here is a link to an article that reviews Dive knives just incase you needed some more information