When divers think about emergencies, they usually think about things like out-of-gas situations or getting stung by the wildlife, but many overlook the silent killer of the scuba world:

Entanglement

Entanglements are so deadly because when diving you’re limited by the amount of gas you have in your tank, and how quickly you or your (hopefully close buddy) can react to the situation. If you don’t react in time, you could run out of gas.

This makes dive knives a basic safety choice. Carry more than one, and different types.

Some tools may be ineffective against whatever you are trying to cut, but another tool may work better. You’re also going to want to stay away from any knife you think you would see on sea-hunt.

These large, bulky, jack-of-all trades master-of-none knives are useless in a real emergency.

Things like the fog cutter do a lot of things, all of which very poorly.

While the sleek and sharp knives look great, you’re going to want to stay away from anything that has a point or could hurt you or your expensive dive equipment.

Get both and similar tools to what we reccomend here, and you’ll be prepared for most of the things you could encounter.

Best Dive Knives

EEZYCUT Trilobite

If you don’t already own a cutting tool, I would start with the EEZYCUT Trilobite. This tool can cut just about any material you will encounter when diving.

It can cut monofilament, bungee, plant life, webbing, and it can even cut someone out of a drysuit.

Many tools can cut through those things though, the reason I like this device specifically is that it’s safe to use. Cutting tools that have exposed blades can cause injury to yourself and your gear.

This tool can be taken apart for cleaning or even to replace the blade, of which it comes with two extras. This tool can even be carried into countries that would not traditionally allow knives.

Here is a fantastic video demonstrating what this device can cut through.

There are similar products on the market that use different blade materials, including ceramic, that don’t tend to be as sharp and are susceptible to chipping. This exact model, I have not personally had any issues with. I have not tested the dive rite ones, but I have dive buddies that use this one and seem to like it.

You are going to want to get the model with the harness pouch. This is the one that will fit onto 2” webbing. I place this knife on my waist belt, but I have also seen people place it on the top of their crotch strap, which I also think is pretty smart.

What makes the EEZYCUT Trilobite so great:

  1. Replaceable blades (comes with three blades: one in the tool, +2 extras)
  2. Can cut through nearly everything
  3. Can be placed anywhere you have webbing
  4. Safe to use
  5. Easy to travel with

EMT Shears

These things are fantastic! You would use this to efficiently cut someone out of an exposure suit, or out of their harness. This is also very effective against thin wire and nets.

There is one problem with these: they rust, often. Expect to buy replacement shears once or twice a year (depending on how often you dive). Just be sure to get one with a stainless steel pin.

I chose the Dive Rite shears package because it comes with a really good sheath. So, even when the first set rusts out, you can replace it with a set of shears (with a stainless steel pin), but you still have a good sheath.

I will also place these on my waist belt, in a spot where I can reach it with either hand.

Conclusion

Cutting tools are one of those things that have been tested over time. Through trial and error, we have narrowed down the necessary tools a diver needs to carry to a science.

Consider getting one or both of the cutting tools we discussed in this article to help protect yourself from a tragic entanglement.

Safe Diving!