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Scuba regulators are known by many names. A regulator may also be called an open circuit scuba, mouthpiece, demand valve, first stage or second stage. These are designed to provide air at the right pressure while diving.
The high pressure air which scuba regulators take from the tank is adjusted to a better pressure for breathing. This useful device only supplies air as the diver breathes. Another way of phrasing this is to say that it supplies air on demand.
Scuba regulators directs the breath into the water when the diver exhales. They also supply air to other gear. Dry suits and instruments may need air. The Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) may also require it as well.