I have mixed feelings about this Schrade Water Rat dive knife.
First the good feelings: I think the orange nylon handle is attractive, decently sized (4.1-inches), and easy to grip. It is also available in black, which looks good with any diver’s gear. The orange, though, makes for easy spotting in the murky depths. Also, I think the 3.2-inch blade is a modest-quality stainless steel in a design that works great for casual submerged use: blunt tip and partially serrated. Blunt tip is a responsible choice of knife to carry while diving – in underwater conditions, it’s hard to look out for your surroundings, and often certain gear, like gloves, can hinder your normal mobility and carefulness. That’s a bad combo when carrying a knife with a clip, drop, or spear point. Sure, a sharp point means you can show that shark who’s boss if need be, but that’s an unlikely scenario. More likely than not, a dive knife would be like a safety pin against serious sharks. And the function of a dive knife is not to protect against underwater life – it’s to use in an emergency to cut yourself free from lines or other dangerous situations. That’s where the partially serrated edge is very handy to have. I always buy a dive knife with a serrated option.
Here the bad feelings: This knife doesn’t have a tank signal option, a specific line cutter option, and the sheath isn’t my favorite thing ever. Tank signal is important for underwater communication. Banging the butt off your knife against the tank is the best method I’ve found. A line cutter specifically for cutting lines isn’t that big of a deal, but I like it. And a sheath is important because fumbling to get a knife out at a hundred feet underwater could be the last thing you ever do. And other than those three things, I still have some other beef.
This knife reminds me of the blunt tip Gerber River Shorty, in that they are nearly identical designs, but the folks at Gerber usually market the River Shorty as intended for rafting and paddling sports. If you wanted, it could be a dive knife, but calling it a dive knife outright is a bit far-fetched. Any serious diver knows that top-notch equipment is going to be the difference between life and death. That’s why I always have a hard time making dive knife recommendations – what I consider important might not matter so much to another diver. They might seriously need that sharp point to kill sharks. They might like the Schrade Water Rat’s simplicity. Before you decide, at least check out the U.S. Divers Titanium 5-inch Dive Knife, which I’ve recommended as a great alternative choice in most of the dive knife reviews I’ve done. The titanium blade won’t be a sharp, but it will last longer in wet conditions. Or, the Gerber River Shorty is a good alternative stainless steel blade at, last I looked, at a cheaper price.
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[phpbay]Schrade Water Rat, 2[/phpbay]