An octopus is a vital part of your safety equipment. In the event of any regulator problems, your octopus can supply you – or your diving buddy – with air. There are in fact three parts of an octopus: the air hose, the first stage and the second stage. The first stage attaches to your tank using either a DIN or a yoke coupling fitting. The first stage is crucial because it allows the air to enter the air hose from your tank at the correct air pressure. The second stage includes the purge valve and the mouthpiece. The second stage is important because it removes waste from the diver’s mouth while also delivering air to the diver.
It is hard to overstate the importance of the octopus. This is the piece of equipment that allows you to breathe correctly and safely underwater. There is simply no point in spending lots of money on fancy diving accessories if you are going to buy a cheap octopus. You will want to take your time and find the best-quality octopus possible. When shopping, you will want to pay close attention to:
1) The hose. In most cases, the hoses that come with octopuses are longer than regulator hoses. It is a good idea to look for a long octopus hose because it can help you assist a diving buddy in trouble.
2) Swivel. Look for an octopus that allows for a good swivel motion and one that can be used upside down as well as right side up. A greater range of motion will allow you to adjust your regulator and will allow you to help your diving buddy, no matter where he or she is in relation to your position.
3) The exhaust valve. The exhaust valve is where the bubbles leave from the octopus as the exhaled air of the diver is allowed to exit the regulator.
4) Mouthpiece. Mouthpieces are vital, because the fit of this mouthpiece can affect a diver’s breathing underwater. Look for mouthpieces made from sturdy but pliable materials that create a good fit. Many good modern mouthpieces are made from hypoallergenic silicone, which is good for this purpose. Beyond material, look for mouthpieces which are ergonomically shaped. This means that your jaw can usually maintain a more natural, relaxed position on a dive, which can help prevent jaw aches and pains. It is a good idea to buy a back-up mouthpiece for your octopus. Many divers bite down hard on their mouthpieces, and this causes the mouthpieces to wear out quickly. Having a spare on hand can help prevent dive delays caused by mouthpiece problems.
5) Purge button. The purge button is important because it allows you to clear any water that has sneaked into the second stage by allowing you to force air through the regulator from your tank. It is important that this button is very easy to use. If you tend to dive with thick gloves, test the purge button to make sure you can easily reach and use the button if you should need it. Ideally, the button should require only one finger and a small amount of pressure. You don’t want to be struggling underwater to use your purge button.