3 critical factors to choosing dive knives

Dive knives are one of the fundamental pieces of a diver's ensemble. When diving, these knives are invaluable tools that can help you slice through tangles, cut chum, dispatch your catches quickly and if necessary, fend off sharks. Dive knives are not weapons. They're to be used primarily for cutting through things while underwater.

If you're just getting started with diving, you'll likely have a lot of equipment to buy. Your decision of which dive knife (or knives) to purchase is crucial. You'll be using your dive knives frequently, so investing in the right knife can have a significant impact on your effectiveness underwater. They can vary in size, shape and the material from which they're made. The type of knife you purchase will have inherent pros and cons. Below, you'll learn the 3 critical factors you need to consider when investing in a dependable diving knife.


Factor 1: Size of the knife

Experienced divers use knives of different sizes based upon the purpose for which they intend to use their knives. The smallest dive knives have blades that are approximately 2 inches in length. The longest blades range from 5 to 6 inches. Beginning divers often mistakenly think that longer blades are more useful. However, longer blades can be dangerous and awkward to use properly. Dive knives with blades of 4 inches are much more practical. You can grip them comfortably and sheath them easily without fear of harming yourself or anyone next to you.

Factor 2: Shape of the knife

Dive knives are available in a variety of shapes. For example, the blade can be serrated or straight. The point of the blade can be sharp or have a blunt edge. Some knives have a small notch toward the handle while others lack the notch. The different shapes of dive knives have varying uses to a skilled diver. While serrated blades are useful if you need to cut through thick material, a straight blade is more effective for slicing through nylon or plastic lines. Sharp blades are helpful for spearing fish, but can break easily if you're chiseling choral or digging. Some dive knives offer blades that are serrated on one side while the opposite side is straight.

Factor 3: Steel or titanium?

The majority of dive knives are constructed from stainless steel (usually with 300-series or 400-series alloys). Because steel knives have a high level of carbon in them (to provide strength and durability), they'll show a bit of rust after repeated use. Titanium knives, on the other hand, contain no carbon. As a result, they're more resistant to corrosion and rust and can hold a sharp edge longer without needing maintenance.

Investing in diving knives and using them safely

Even though your dive knife is merely a tool, it can be dangerous. Often, beginning divers fail to use caution with their knives and accidentally cut themselves or harm others around them. Learn to draw your diving knife safely from its sheath and use it properly. You'll discover, with experience, that your knife is one of the most important and most-used tools of all your diving equipment.

Understand your needs and invest in a knife that will help you become a more effective diver. Many skilled divers prefer to have multiple knives of different sizes and shapes with them while underwater. Start with one. Once you have experience, you can invest in additional knives that can suit multiple purposes.

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