By Lynn Seldon
April 16, 2004
I've been a big fan of knives from Underwater Kinetics since I first started diving and noticed that most veteran divers tended to strap on one of their models. I have to admit that, at first--virgin diver that I was--I thought dive knives might be meant only to stave off shark attacks, pry away some treasure from a shipwreck, or spear a fish for dinner at close range.
Of course, a dive knife's primary purpose isn't any of these things. It's meant to help out during an emergency--like getting tangled in fishing line, rope, or kelp--and other situations where the availability and correct usage of a knife might mean the difference between life and death.
A high-quality dive knife can also serve as a tool--stepping in as a light pry bar, a screwdriver, a hammer, and even an equipment modifier, if needed. In short, every diver should have a dive knife and the Blue Tang from Underwater Kinetics is one of my top choices.
A couple of years ago, I reviewed a titanium version of the Blue Tang for a scuba gear review I did in Playboy. My editor liked that knife so much that he bought it!
UK--as divers in the know call them--now has a Hydroalloy series that uses a unique blend of metal alloys and proprietary finishing techniques. This provides a knife with the strength of 420 stainless steel, plus more corrosion resistance than 316 stainless steel. When you're dealing with water, this is a nice combination. UK developed Hydroalloy as an economical alternative to titanium, without sacrificing its benefits.
At less than 55 bucks, I'd say the Blue Tang is still my favorite version in the new line, though this particular UK series also includes: the Remora (my close second favorite and a great emergency knife); the Fusilier (a small, but full-featured option); and the Trigger (the smallest knife in the UK line).
The Blue Tang Hydroalloy comes packed with features: a large grip; an insulated pommel (the butt end of the knife) that eliminates metal-to-metal corrosion and can also be used as a signaling device or hammer; two five-inch blade styles, which are hollow ground and double-edged; a serrated edge for cutting line and rope; a hooked edge line cutter; one-hand insertion and removal from sheath; ozone-resistant quick-release knife straps; and quick disassembly for cleaning (no tools required).
The Blue Tang's blade comes in drop point or blunt tip. It's your choice, though wreck and tech divers should probably go for the blunt and those who might be doing some fishin' should go with the drop point.
There are no real negatives to the all-purpose Blue Tang, except that some might be tempted to use it in negative ways I outlined above. But the bottom-line is you need a dive knife and UK's Blue Tang Hydroalloy is a fine choice. Check out UK's web site at: www.uwkinetics.com.
Reviewed and written by Lynn Seldon, www.lynnseldon.com