Perhaps a favorite piece of equipment, knives! We all want to be bad ass and have the tools that say, "Yo, I'm the biggest bad ass out here"! This blog is not going to be about the most bad ass looking knife you can buy. Sorry to disappoint. This is going to be about choosing the right knife or cutting tool for the job.
Putting looks aside, purchasing the right tools with the right functionality for the operation at hand should be your focus.
I have one general rule, regardless of if I'm out on a rescue or out on the water to catch some rapids and have a good time or even diving - I don't want a tool that can stab me. I don't want a tool that can puncture my dry suit. I don't want a tool that can puncture my iSUP. I don't want a tool that could be likely to hurt someone else. This means the knives I'm going to show you will not have sharp points like a traditional knife.
Coming in at the top is Lifeline Tactical Rescue Tools. They make a tool specifically for dive rescue professionals. It is called the Gen 3 Jawz TI (TM). You can read all about it by going to their website. The price is a touch steep, but it is 100% purpose built, you will be hard pressed to find a better designed tool. This tool is made to cut through any line or net that might entangle you and can be used on laminated glass found in vehicles. The square cut out that you see is an O2 tank wrench. This tool can also be used as a pry bar due to the premium hardened material that it is made from. This company also manufactures accessories for the tool which will help you secure it on your person and prevent it from being lost into the abyss.
Next on my list is EMS trauma shears. While you can buy very inexpensive trauma shears to help take away the sting if you lose them in the water, my taste is more expensive. The extra features that come on the Leatherman Raptors make this tool an excellent option. The good news is it's about half the cost of the Lifeline Tactical Rescue Tool above. The raptor includes an O2 tank wrench, ring cutters, glass breaker and strap cutter. The stainless steal blades are strong and will cut through many materials. They come with a molle compatible holster and the small opening that you see to the right of the glass breaker allows you to secure the tool to your PFD. If you purchased the PFD from our Type V PFD blog you won't have a problem being able to secure this tool.
Last but certainly not least is your basic NRS Pilot knife. The best news is this will cost you less than either of the above mentioned tools. You can't go wrong with this simple yet very effective tool. It is made with a blunt tip, sharp edges and includes a glass breaker, O2 wrench, rope cutting hook and a bottle opener.
There are many knives and tools to choose from, this is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of options. My goal was to keep this simple and present you with three very effective tools at different price points. Feel free to explore other options, but make sure you have a functional tool that is going to serve you well when you need it. Functionality over looks is the morale of this blog.