DODGING ALL THE MODERN-DAY Anne Boleyns driving little princes and princesses to school in their shiny black and chrome 4x4 palaces, it may sometimes seem that everyone else is affluent to the point of excess.
This isn’t true, but for those passionate about a hobby, as many of us are about scuba-diving, we’re inclined to treat ourselves beyond what might be considered rational by non-divers.
But like those suburban princesses who feel the need of a Range Rover to run errands before meeting their personal trainers, if we can afford capricious purchases and they make us happy, why not
It’s difficult for a non-diving family-member or spouse to choose a Christmas present that will be just what we wanted. We’re more likely to treat ourselves, with the excuse that it’s the festive season, rather than leave clues and hope that the parcel under the tree doesn’t lead to disappointment.
On the other hand, you might be buying a present for a diving family-member or friend.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND a lot to make a diver happy (though it does no harm!) A double-ended bolt snap in shiny stainless steel (£8) (1) or even a length of bungee cord (£3 per metre) (2) can prove very useful. A Dive-Log Scuba Tag keeps things identified, and prices start from around £5 according to the quantity ordered (3).
Those divers who travel abroad and for whom the weight of checked baggage is crucial will welcome the gift of a portable Baggage Scale, and it won’t break your bank at only £13 (4).
A bit of a price-jump here, but if you’re looking to buy a present for that special someone who travels by air to diving destinations, you could hardly do better than invest in an Apeks Flight, the world’s highest performance lightweight regulator and now available in an attractive Twilight colour scheme for £370 (5).
If it’s the tropical Pacific to which your loved one is heading, Paul Humann and Ned DeLoach’s Reef Creature Identification book (ISBN 9781878348449) will be welcomed, at £40 (6).
Mums with flowing tresses will appreciate the comfort of the Aquatec Underhood. It stops hair getting tangled and makes it easy to don a neoprene hood over it. It can even be worn alone if the water’s warm enough. Your children will appreciate being able to buy one for £12 (7).
It’s annoying when ordinary clothes-hangers collapse under the weight of diving gear, but the UK Gorilla Big Gear Hanger can carry up to 22kg without failing, and costs £16 (8).
It’s far more annoying when you’re presented with the chance to snorkel with a basking shark to find that you don’t have a snorkel. A Seac Bora HD costs £14 and would probably be a welcome addition for anyone likely to jump in with shallow-swimming big animals (9).
The PDE Triton Net Cutter has a titanium blade married to an anatomically curved plastic handle. It costs £20, but could be worth its weight in gold the first time it’s required to be used in earnest (10).
Any diver can make good use of an underwater slate, and the Xit 404 comes with a pencil specially formulated with non-swelling lead for use under water, plus an eraser. It costs £19 (11).
MARES BUNGEE FIN-STRAPS will enhance even the scruffiest pair of old fins, and they come in three different sizes, with an insert to accommodate Rock-boots too. They cost £24 a pair (12).
If your own fins are looking tatty, why not ask Santa to send you a new pair The Scubapro Seawing Nova Gorilla fins with bungee-straps are said to have all the attributes of the famous Gorilla fin of yesteryear, yet to pack a kick that puts you ahead of the field, for £165 (13).
If you have a rich uncle, forget fins and ask for a Seascooter RS1 DPV. It will tow a diver at 7kmph for 90min at a depth of 40m, but it will cost £1400! (14)
Should you feel unwell after that massive Christmas lunch, you can make yourself feel better by reading about divers worse off than you.
The book FAQ Dive Medicine by Dr Oliver Firth and Jules Eden is, for the subject, an entertaining read, and costs £9 (ISBN: 9780955346729) (15).
Photographic equipment is expensive, but an Intova Camera Care Kit (£13) is designed for underwater photographers and contains all that’s needed to keep O-rings and housing grooves clean and working efficiently (16).
All underwater photographers will appreciate the gift of a Samsung waterproof SDHC card.
Sadly, they say it’s not “if” but “when” a flood occurs. A 16GB card costs around £21 (17).
Just as a pair of socks was a traditionally safe Christmas gift for a man, so a pair of gloves will always come in useful for a diver. O’Neill Explorers are tough while O’Neill Psychos are sexy.
Both cost around £24 for a pair and suit use in tropical water (18), while a pair of Fourth Element Thermoflex Mitts will be more useful for use in home waters. They still allow for some dexterity, and cost £33 per pair (19).
If you or your friends are planning a cheeky dive over the Christmas holiday, Paul Naylor’s Great British Marine Animals (ISBN: 9780952283164) will help you to identify any creature you might see. It costs £16 (20).
Keeping stuff dry in the wet conditions usually found in open boats can be a challenge, but not if you have a properly designed dry-bag. Akona bags are available in two sizes and cost £34. Bags are always a safe buy when it comes to presents for others, and the same manufacturer offers a regulator bag (£25) and a weight bag (£20) too (21).

IF YOU KNOW SOMEONE who uses an iPhone 4 aboard a boat, a LifeProof case will accommodate it and keep it dry for £50 (22). Go one better and spend £275 to purchase a Patima underwater housing for the iPhone 4, so that you can take pictures or video with it while diving (23).
Keeping warm is just as important as keeping dry, and a Weezle Diving Russian Hat will do the job both on land and at sea. It costs £32 in its own net bag (24). A similar job is done for the torso with the Fourth Element Xerotherm Core Body Warmer. It’s a stylish gilet, suitable for both sexes in a variety of sizes. It can be worn on a wide range of occasions and costs £120 (25).
Keeping in contact with how much gas you have in your spare tank is always a sound idea, and an Apeks Button Gauge costs around £38 and screws directly into the hp port of a pony regulator (26).
A modern flexible high-pressure hose, in a Carbon heavy-duty version from Miflex, could go with it. A 60cm version costs £35 (27).
Is the intended recipient of your generosity still using boring old black rubber medium-pressure hoses You can brighten that diver’s life with a set of super-flexible Miflex Xtreme braided hoses, for both direct-feeds and regulators, They come in a huge range of vibrant colours and a variety of lengths, and are priced from £28 (28).
The recipient may be a technical diver who wants something a bit “serious”. A Clear Tech gauge from technical diving manufacturer Dive System costs £106 but will confer bags of credibility (29).
Even technical divers will gratefully receive presents of a more modest nature, and a stainless-steel Dive Rite finger-spool with 30m of line and a stainless-steel double-ended bolt snap will set you back around £57. In fact, you don’t need to be a technical diver to find such a thing useful (30).
Equally, every diver needs a new bag from time to time. The Seac Flight Mate is capacious, has wheels and an extending handle, weighs 3.5kg and costs a good-value £69 (31).

IF THE OBJECT OF YOUR INTENTIONS already has a Suunto diving computer but never got round to using the air-integration function, a treat would be a Suunto transmitter (£250), signalling an end to reliance on mechanical pressure gauges (32).
If you’re buying for a dearly beloved, what about a Suunto D6i computer in a festive white finish, with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, at £650 That should keep you in favour at least over the 12 days of Christmas (33)!
Buying a dive computer for someone who has only recently taken up diving An Oceanic Veo 3.0 costs £285 and will satisfy most requirements of any leisure diver (34).
Even computers can err ocasionally, so every diver should consider owning a second unit as a back-up, which is where the Oceanic BUD (Back-Up Device) comes in useful. It costs £149 (35).
Jewellery always goes down well, especially with female divers, and has a range of diving subjects such as turtles, sharks and manta rays as pendants, sculpted in sterling silver from around £17, and silver from £46 (36).
Don’t bang your head trying to think of an original idea for a Christmas gift. A Scorpion 2 helmet from Northern Diver costs £39 (not including the attachable lamps) (37).
A diving knife made from titanium should last forever, yet it seems an extravagant buy. For less than £90, one of these Atomic Aquatic knives would be well received and should stay a lasting reminder of the person that gave it (38).
Every diver can do with a new underwater lamp. The Submerge EDI-T D2 is an economically priced unit with a big output. Depth-rated to 100m, it has a claimed burntime of two hours at full power, with three other power settings, and costs £74 (39).
Kids need presents too, as yours may occasionally point out, and there’s more to life than computer games. How about an Oceanic Explorer snorkelling set for £40 The mask and snorkel are available in blue or yellow, and the fins come in three different sizes in blue only. All are available separately (40).
For around £30 you can get an amazing Air Swimmer remote-controlled shark or clownfish. It’s a huge helium-filled fish that hovers around the room, moving forwards or backwards and up and down at your command. Be sure to let your children have a go with it too, once the Christmas cheer takes effect.
Then there are the toys we’d love to own but never get round to buying. The little GoPro Hero 3 HD camera can be bought with a proper underwater housing, and provides lots of fun (41).
It costs £349 complete and shoots good video, as does the Liquid Image Camera Mask with its built-in 1080p camera. It’s easy to use for both stills and HD video, watching the head-up LED to know what it’s doing, and costs £330 (42).

NOBODY LIKES TO THINK about safety equipment. It’s just not sexy – but for that reason it could be the most valuable gift you could buy. A Nautilus Lifeline VHF radio and GPS receiver designed to be taken diving might mean the difference between life and death the day the owner gets lost at sea, and the cost of £252 will be well justified (43).
An alternative is the McMurdo Smartfind AIS Beacon S10. When manually activated it uses the Automatic Identification System and GPS technology to send data on its position. It costs £239 (44).
On long winter nights, there are plenty of divers who might enjoy travelling back in time to watch iconic Jacques Cousteau programmes. A deluxe edition of the boxed set of 22 DVDs, with 35 hours of viewing including three full-length movies, costs £100 from Amazon (45).
For Christmas reading, try a story from Amazing Diving Stories (hardback, £9 from Amazon) while the others do the washing-up – with 64 more chances to read stories and avoid the chores (46).