I would venture to guess that the main reason people don’t get into rebreather diving is due to the high cost of the unit and training. In this article, we will explore the costs associated with rebreather diving and whether or not it’s worth the investment.
Cost of the unit:
The cost of a rebreather unit can vary widely depending on the model and manufacturer. A basic model can cost around $5,000, while a top-of-the-line model can cost upwards of $15,000. In addition to the initial cost of the unit, rebreathers require regular maintenance and replacement parts, which can add to the overall cost over time.
Cost of training:
Proper training is crucial for safe and effective use of a rebreather. Training courses can vary in cost depending on the level of training and the instructor, but a basic rebreather course can cost around $2,000. Price tags for the more advanced courses can be upwards of $5,000.
Cost of gases:
Rebreathers are designed for technical diving. As such, they can be paired with different gases than recreational open circuit scuba diving. Gas blends using helium are more expensive and require careful planning and management, so rebreather diving is actually preferred when doing this type of technical diving because it uses less gas on a dive. This is one type of diving that would, over time, incur savings vs open circuit.
Cost of sofnolime:
Sofnolime is the scrubber material used in rebreathers to remove carbon dioxide from the breathing loop. Sofnolime is expensive and requires regular replacement. The cost of sofnolime can vary depending on the manufacturer, the location where you want to send it, and quantity purchased, but the price tag usually sits around $300 USD for a 40lbs container.
Cost of parts:
Specialized equipment is never cheap, and the same goes for their components. Oxygen sensors for scuba diving rebreathers cost around $80-90 USD. That being said, the most likely pieces of equipment that fail are actually the normal recreational items like hoses, valves, and o-rings. Due to the complexity of the unit, there’s a lot more places where failures can happen, but as long as you keep up with cleaning and maintenance, upkeep is manageable.
Traditional open circuit technical diving vs. rebreather diving:
Attempting to do the same rebreather dive profile on a traditional open circuit system can require multiple tanks with different gas blends. This means you must have several tanks, first stages and second stages to be able to complete the dive. All of this extra equipment may not even out to the cost of a rebreather, but after factoring in the cost of breathing gas, it just might.
Is it worth the investment?
Whether or not it’s worth the investment to get into rebreather diving depends on the individual diver’s goals and budget. Rebreather diving offers many advantages over traditional open circuit scuba diving, many of which you can see in our blog article here.
For those who are serious about technical diving and have the budget to invest in a rebreather unit and training, rebreather diving can be a worthwhile investment. However, for those who are only interested in recreational diving or who have a limited budget, traditional open circuit scuba diving may be a more practical option.
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