The best diving gear for beginners

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Oceans cover roughly 70 percent of the planet, and that water teems with life. Exploring this other world requires special equipment. You can rent the big stuff like an air tank, regulator, and dive computer, but you’ll want a few essentials in your personal kit. Suit up with these items, and you’ll be ready to dive into the deep or snorkel along the shore.

Fins
Hanging out with the fishes requires underwater propulsion; bare feet aren’t too effective, and you’re carrying heavy gear. The 24-inch, stiff plastic blades and rubber ribs of the Aqua Lung Stratos 3 make for swift swimming, and the snug foot pockets hug your tootsies to prevent dangerous cramping.

Wetsuit
The 5 mm thick neoprene Cressi Otterflex traps and warms a thin layer of water around your body to insulate you in the chilly, dark depths. It will keep you toasty down to 59 degrees. Reinforced knees and shoulders resist abrasion, while flexible arm and torso panels don’t hinder your movement.

Mask
There’s no point in diving if you can’t see the sights. The Tusa Freedom One Pro features a ­reflection-​­resistant coating that improves color and enhances contrast. The soft silicone gasket ensures a tight seal, and an ergonomic strap holds it firmly against the curves of your noggin.

Snorkel
Dives shallower than 12 feet don’t require a complex air system. The Mares Rebel Splash lets you breathe without taking your eyes off the show below. The corrugated tube flexes for maximum maneuver­ability, and a guard at the tip keeps you from sucking down splashed seawater.