How to Use a Dive Computer | Most Effective Methods You Don’t Know

Dive computer – aka dive watch, which is an integral part of scuba gear – provides essential information that will protect you from decompression illness and lung over-expansion injury while you dive. In this guide, we will be discussing how to use a dive computer.

Dive computers are an excellent piece of diving equipment that provides an easy-to-read display for divers to monitor information such as depth and time. In short, the dive computer must be able to dive well into all the real-time information divers. 

The dive computer also tells you how much dive time you have left to enjoy the dive safely.

How to use a Dive Computer

Dive computers have easy-to-read displays (also available in color) that provide divers with the following important information:

  • There are no stop limits
  • Dive depth
  • Time
  • Ascent rate
  • No stop time left
  • Emergency decompression
  • Previous dive information
  • Low battery alert
  • Enriched air compatibility

There are no stop limits.

The stop limits shown on your dive computer are digitally submitted dive tables. This will allow you to know when the decompression will stop on your ascent (if any). And how long to stop (countdown added).

Dive Depth

How deep you are below the surface.


This is the time when you are diving. The ‘real’ time will be gone when you find the big blue.

Previous Dive Information

Previous dive information will help you log in later in your dive book. It is also vital information to use if you are ever flying close to a dive. Remember: You should not travel 12 hours after a single dive or 18 hours after multiple dives.

Ascending Rate

How quickly you are coming back towards the surface. If you are climbing too fast, the dive computer will make a loud audible beep (faster than 30ft / 9m per second).

Emergency Decompression

Signaling if you climb incorrectly and an emergency decompression stop is required.

No stop time left

Also known as the no-decompression Limit (NDL), this is the amount of time a diver can theoretically spend decompression without stopping at a certain depth. Keep reading to learn about this acronym.

Enriched air compatibility

Using rich air to dive will change your dive time and depth. This will extend your stop limit so you can spend more time in the water. This is especially helpful when it comes to repetitive dives.

Low Battery Alert

It is always a good idea to check your dive computer batteries before going on a dive holiday. Changing them once a year or after about 50 dives is a good safety practice.

How to Choose the Best Dive Computer

Choosing the right dive computer is the difference between a good dive and a great one. After all, dive computers are one of the most crucial dive devices you can buy – they keep you alive, which is very important.

Let’s take a moment to understand the different aspects of dive computers, what they do, and what they are for you.

Provide decompression times

Dive computers give you decompression time, which tells you how long you can stay at a certain depth without increasing the chance of decompression illness (where nitrogen bubbles appear in your body after the dive).

If you accidentally go into decompression, having a dive computer will let you know what steps you need to take to climb to a certain depth and how long it will take you to adjust.

How to Use a Dive Compute

Record the diving depth

Dive computers are also great at telling you how deep you are diving, so you should not exceed maximum depths or dive into dangerous depths that could endanger you. Having a dive computer can help insurers avoid paying you because they will prove that you did not dive below the recommended safe depth.

how does a dive computer work

You can upload all the information.

Another advantage of dive computers is that you can upload all the information collected in dive into your computer. It allows you to keep a comprehensive online log of all your dive activities. Additionally, you can upload photos and maps along with each dive for your records, as well as leave notes. 

This is not only useful when you return to the dive site but also means that you can share your trip with other divers on your various social media accounts.

how a dive computer works

Air transmitter

An additional feature of dive computers is the air transmitter. This feature allows you to monitor your current air pressure easily. At your current depth, it also tells you how long the air in your tank will last, taking into account your average breathing rate.

dive computer basics

Monitors Gas level

As you become a more experienced diver, you may go on more technical diving trips that require more than one cylinder of oxygen. Dive computers have the added feature of monitoring each particular cylinder and different levels of oxygen throughout the dive.

Rechargeable batteries

As we all take steps to be more eco-friendly in our daily lives and activities, it is now possible to enjoy dive computers that come with rechargeable batteries. All you have to do is plug your dive computer into the USB port, and it will recharge for you. After charging, dive computers last up to about 20 dives.

Three types of dive computer

Once you have decided to buy a dive computer and identified the functions that are most important to you, there are three main styles you can choose from:

Wrist style

The most popular option, the wrist style dive computer, is lightweight, comfortable, and easy to read while sitting on your wrist.

Watch style

Great for diving vacations, you can use the watch style dive computer like a watch when you are not in the water and use it exclusively for diving when you are in the water. It has many of the functions of other dive computers but is a bit more expensive.

Console computer

The console computer replaces your current pressure and depth gauge through the hose to your regulators. Popular in America, the console computer is less convenient to take with you on the dive but does a great job monitoring your oxygen levels, depth, and safety.

Advantages of Dive Computers over Dive Tables

  • Having a dive table has proven to be more difficult because you must remember how to read columns and rows.
  • Although both the computer and the table are thought to be useful in determining the amount of nitrogen, the advantage of a dive computer is that you can get this information while diving.
  • Although both the computer and the table are thought to be useful in determining the amount of nitrogen, the advantage of a dive computer is that you can get this information while diving.
  • Finally, dive computers record how fast you climb. It also triggers an alarm, especially if you are coming in a little faster.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a dive computer?

Yes, you do. Dive computers track nitrogen saturation and are aware of diver acceptable safety limits, continually tracking each dive’s time and depth and the depth between dives. They also help plan the maximum depth and dive time for repetitive dives by calculating the minimum surface interval between dives.

The main feature is that the computer calculates the remaining bottom time as well as displays the depth. Dive computers have become so common and affordable that there is no reason to lack one as a diver. While I thoroughly and utterly feel that all divers need to understand dive tables and their relationship with diving, I feel equally strongly that all divers should have their dive computer.

How long do dive computers last?

If a diver makes a single dive into a computer, the computer will keep computing tables 24 hours. So if someone dives an hour a day with his computer, the computer still runs for 300 days.

What is the best dive computer for a beginner?

Cressi Leonardo is the best budget dive computer for a beginner. Because it is cheap for any diver, at the same time, it is also high quality and reliable device.


In conclusion, knowing how to use a dive computer can be very difficult at first, especially if you are a beginner.

However, it can help you realize that its navigation, settings, and readings are straightforward to use repeatedly. You should note common user errors and features so that you can make full use of your dive computer.

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