Introduction to Scuba Diving – Understanding the Scuba Regulator


‘Scuba’ is an abbreviation for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. The history of scuba diving is quite amazing. Did you know that the first recorded underwater breathing dates back to 500 BC? According to legend, a Greek soldier used a hollow reed to breathe underwater. Alexander the Great hid underwater during the siege of Tyre by using a barrel as a diving bell.

Although these were the first known attempts of breathing underwater, a rebreathing device was not invented until the 1940s when Jacques Cousteau and Emilie Gagnan worked to create the first rebreather.

Since that time, scuba diving has grown in popularity both professionally and recreationally. People from around the world enjoy spending time exploring the fascinating creatures and sites underwater.

In order to scuba dive, you will need a variety of items, including a BCD, a wetsuit, fins, a mask and a scuba regulator. The following information will explain what a scuba regulator is and why all scuba divers must carry a spare regulator when diving.

What is a Scuba Regulator

A regulator delivers breathable air from your scuba tank so you can breathe underwater. A scuba regulator reduces the pressure of the gas to the ambient pressure so the diver can breathe safely and easily underwater. The diver will wear a compressed cylinder which will contain purified air or a specialized blend of breathable gas which expands the dive time. This air is delivered from the compressed cylinder to the regulator by a hose. The regulator fits comfortably in the diver’s mouth and allows the diver to inhale and exhale freely while underwater.

The Two Stage Regulator System

All scuba divers should use a two stage regulator system. The first stage is the one that connects to the compressed cylinder using a DIN fitting or yoke. It regulates the pressure of the air as it enters the air hose. The second stage is a mouthpiece that is worn in the diver’s mouth. The second stage also contains a purge valve to remove any water or waste from the breathing apparatus.

There are different types of regulators, including the piston assembly and the diaphragm assembly. Both of these control the pressure of air delivered to the diver. The piston regulator contains only one moving part, while the diaphragm contains several moving parts. Most divers use a piston type regulator; however, those who are diving in deeper and colder waters prefer diaphragm regulator because there is a lower risk of free flow.

When purchasing a regulator for scuba diving, it will contain two 2nd stage regulators. The secondary 2nd stage regulator is used if the primary regulator fails or another diver runs out of air. The secondary regulator is usually bright yellow so that it can easily be seen. This regulator is normally attached to the divers BCD so it can be easily found and used.

Scuba regulators are one of the most important pieces of equipment in a scuba diver’s set up. It allows pressurized air to be delivered to the diver so that they can comfortably and safely breathe while underwater.