What are Dive Slates?

Last Updated: February 22, 2023

While most of dive accessories are easy to understand, dive slates are probaly not one of them. Nowadays, you don’t get to see a dive slate being used very often and it’s rarely talked about. But it is one of the must-have essentials each time you are diving.

What is a Dive Slate?

diver using slate board

A dive slate is simply an underwater communication tool. It’s a piece of equipment that you can write on to communicate with other divers.

Dive slates are useful for diving beginners as well as professionals, as they come in handy where hand signals do not seem to work. It offers a quick and convenient way to communicate anything you do not understand through diving sign language.

You can use these little scuba boards to write down any important information such as depth and dive time.

Not only is it suitable for navigation but also when doing underwater photography. You can use it to record camera settings, note down compass directions or mark some natural features.

How Do Divers Write Underwater?

Divers can write underwater by using dive slates. These underwater writing devices are erasable boards or sheets that can be written on using a standard lead pencil.

With the use of magnetic slates, a diver can quickly write on the plastic surface using unique technology. All they need is a magnetized pen that makes use of magnetic particles inside the slate to make any markings.

What Are Dive Slates Made of?

There is a wide range of dive slates that are designed from different materials. However, most of them are created from solid and high-quality plastic materials that are long-lasting.

Types of Underwater Writing Devices

Standard Dive Slates

The most common one and easiest to use. The standard scuba slate board is usually made of a white plastic tag. It comes with a hook clip to help you attach it to the BCD. It also comes with a special pencil for writing, plus a luminous glowing-in-the-dark material to efficiently serve night divers.

dive slates

Multi-page Wrist Slates

You can attach them to your wrist, using an elastic velcro strap. To ensure they fit your wrist perfectly, the pages are curved. They’re made of plastic and come also with a pencil.

Magnetic Slates

They come with magnetic pen and a plastic writing surface. You use the pen to write on the surface, and as you do, tiny magnetized grains are formed inside to translate the magnetic particles into your messages. These slates are easy to read, come with a slide eraser and are a bit bulky.

Waterproof Notes

These are made from tear-resistant, erasable, waterproof paper. The sheets, which are usually around 15-30, are attached to a spine for easy tearing off whenever necessary. Like other dive slates, the waterproof notes also come with special pens.

AquaSketch Minno Wrist Slate

Made of long vellum scrolls that you can write on using a standard pencil. Like the typical dive slates, the AquaSketch Minno is phosphorescent to give night divers the much-needed visibility glow.

How Do You Use a Dive Slate?

How you use a dive slate entirely depends on the type you choose. But generally, you can either attach it to your wrist, or secure it to your BCD, and use attached pencils to write on them.

Scuba instructors usually use dive slates each time they write down student evaluations while underwater. Not only does it facilitate underwater communication but also data collection and education. It allows you to checklist various safety measures.

How Do You Clean a Dive Slate?

Although dive slates are generally easy to erase, sometimes ink marks are left on it, making it difficult to clean. Also, even though they come with erasers, they often leave sticky layers, which need extra effort to clean.

To maintain the cleanliness of your dive slate, you cantry using white toothpaste. Apply it generously all over and wipe it off with a soft cloth.

You can also use alcohol. Pour just enough onto your slate and let it clear the mess. You don’t even have to wipe.

Some divers also saya pinch of sand works just fine. It might not work as perfectly as the other methods, but you can always try it out, especially when in a hurry and nothing else is within your reach.

Other cleaning agents to consider include Mr Clean Magic Eraser and Soft Scrub Liquid.

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