One of the most exciting water sports you can ever experience, scuba diving brings its challenges that can be a matter of life and death. As a diver you already should know the hand signals to communicate with your buddy, however, sometimes you might need to communicate something more important and elaborate.

This is where dive slates come in and help you convey a message about marine life or an emergency that you might face. Although it may not be necessary on every dive, underwater writing slates should be a key part of your dive safety gear. That’s why we’ve gathered the top-rated dive slates available on the market as well as prepared a comprehensive buying guide to help you out with your decision.

How To Choose A Dive Slate – Buying Guide


Types of Slates

  • The market offers numerous types of divers slate, although all follow the same premise, which is recording information underwater.
  • Typical: Typical diving slates are the simplest: a simple tag of plastic that you can fasten to a BCD. They may seem simple but help you save time when rummaging around for gear or attempting to show a colleague a message. More expensive options offer quick clip attachments and compasses to provide an extra level of utility.
  • Wrist: The advantages of a wrist slate is that you have a free hand as the Velco strap fixes to your wrist. Plus, these type of scuba dive boards are easily accessible and ensure a stable platform at the same time.
  • Erasable Magnetic Diving Slate: This type is almost identical with an etch-a-sketch. These dive slates are great if you have a lot to communicate and need to erase messages quickly. One disadvantage though is that they are a bit heavy.
  • Waterproof Paper: This type is a well-engineered but seemingly more traditional approach. Waterproof notebooks and paper have several strengths over its competitors. Less bulky, with more room to right on, a diver can fill multiple pages with notes and observations. Waterproof paper is probably the best underwater writing device for those recording scientific observations or who like to take detailed notes.


The size of an underwater notepad determines how often you can communicate, how large you can write, and how easy the dive slate is to store. With that in mind, people who often find themselves chatting to a friend, or somebody who needs to communicate with a larger group, need different sizes of slate. Similarly, a diver looking to record detailed notes may need multiple pages.

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What is your purpose in writing underwater? How important are your notes and how often are you prepared to return to the surface? The average diver shouldn’t need to communicate that often but when you have to, it’s best to know you have it available. Many people find magnetic dive slates are the best solution to sending short messages that can easily be erased, allowing you to use the dive slate again.



Q: What is a dive slate?


A dive slate is an underwater paper and pen. It is a piece of equipment you can use to write notes on when hand signals are not enough. A scuba diving slate is great to communicate messages as well as to document information collected during the dive.

Q: Why use a dive slate?


For first time divers, a scuba slate may simply be used to send excited messages to a dive buddy. However, as you dive more often, you may find yourself writing down different species of fish, a map for yourself, or recording your general observations with your underwater pencil. Whatever the case, all divers would agree that some messages can simply not sent through arm and hand signals.

Q: How to clean a dive slate?


This depends on the kind of underwater pen and paper. The majority of dive slates can be cleaned with rubbing the plastic, either with your hand or sand.

However most of the time this method does not produce the optimal result. Many divers confess that typical plastic dive slates are difficult to clear whilst underwater.

When returning the surface, you can use rubbing alcohol, magic erasers as well as everyday erasers. It is worth taking the time to properly clean your dive slate when on dry land so that your underwater messages show up clearly.

A magnetic scuba notebook, on the other hand, is the easiest to clean with the press of a button.

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Although they may not seem as important as a dive watch or dive computer, the simple technology of a dive slate certainly has its place. More time spent underwater quickly reveals how a diving slate can be useful. We hope that one of the options we’ve presented here is the right underwater dive slate for your needs.

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