How to Maintain Scuba Diving Gear in Great Condition!
How to maintain scuba diving gear is something every diver want to know about. Let’s face it; dive gear is not cheap. Investing in good quality equipment can take a serious chunk out of your pay packet! So all divers naturally want to make sure their kit lasts for as long as possible.
The good news is that with proper care and attention, well-maintained scuba diving gear can last for many years. And proper maintenance is one of the best ways of ensuring your safety underwater.
Of course, most divers are aware that they should rinse their gear thoroughly with fresh water after every dive, keep it out of direct sunlight and store it in a cool place. But what else can be done? Well, here are a few extra tips to get you well on your way to maintaining your scuba diving gear in great condition.
1. Store your mask away from your wetsuit!
Storing your mask bundled up with your wetsuit may lead to discolouration, as the neoprene can leach into the silicone seal and discolour it. Although this won’t harm your mask functionally, it will make it look less attractive. Also, when storing your gear away for a long period of time, make sure not to leave it in a garage or outhouse that might be home to bugs. Cockroaches love to eat silicon, so make sure not to throw your mask box and and keep it tightly sealed during periods of non-usage.
2. Don’t throw those fin inserts away!
It’s a bit of a pain replacing the plastic inserts into the boots of your fins after a day’s diving, but it’s well worth holding on to them. They’ll ensure the rubber doesn’t bend out of shape during storage and keep you from getting blisters. If you do find that your fins have become deformed, place them in direct sunlight for a while, insert the protector and let them cool in the desired shape. The rest of the time, make sure they stay out of the sun.
3. Spend time with your regulator!
Buying a good regulator is an investment so it’s worth giving it some TLC to ensure it stays in great condition. At each step of your diving day, pay attention to your reg. When you’ve assembled your gear before a dive, ensure that the set up is secured. If your tank falls over onto your reg, it could break. When you’re diving, keep all hoses secured to your BCD to avoid scratches from the reef. When diving is over for the day, rinse the second stages with warm soapy water to clean it. And before storing your regulator for longer periods of time, remove the diaphragm and clean thoroughly to avoid any mould growth.
4. Avoid the three Ss – Salt, Sand and Sun!
Whilst these three components make for a great holiday, they can seriously reduce the life expectancy of your gear. Avoid placing your gear on the beach if possible. If your equipment does get sandy, try using a soft bristle toothbrush to remove the grains. Rinse all your gear in fresh water after every dive and empty salt water from your BCD between dives. Let fresh water run through all dump valves including the deflator hose. When rinsed, hang your BCD to dry half inflated to avoid a sticky blade. And don’t neglect your surface marker balloon! Similarly, rinse the balloon thoroughly and dry it inflated. And of course, avoid drying any of your gear in the sun. This can fade the high-viz colour of your SMB and deform rubber and plastic.
5. Press your buttons!
This is a very small point but something most divers forget to do. When rinsing your dive computer, submerge it in fresh water and press all the buttons. This ensures that even the slightest salt residue is dissolved and guards against any possible build-up. Repeat this when rinsing your dive torch by pressing the power button if it has one, and your camera housing as well.
6. Keep a silk scarf handy for slipping into your wetsuit!
We’ve all been there – wrestling to get our arms and legs into unforgiving wetsuits. One useful way of gliding effortlessly into your suit is to use a silk scarf (as long as you are dry). If your sleeves are tight, place the scarf over your hand before getting dressed, and you’ll find that your arm slips through the sleeve much easier. The same can be repeated with your feet. This way, you’ll avoid a lot of frustration and the chance of ripping your wetsuit. And when you’re done diving for the day, rinse your wetsuit thoroughly and dry it inside out on a proper wetsuit hanger to avoid disfiguring the shoulders. And if you haven’t used the suit in a while, use a proper wetsuit soap to freshen it up. Every so often wax the zip to ensure it doesn’t become galvanised.
7. Test your housing!
It might be tempting to take your camera on your first dive of the holiday – especially here in the Maldives where every dive is different! But I would suggest taking just your housing the first time you jump. Housing that hasn’t been used in a while should be tested and if you’re doing a shallow check dive, it’s a great opportunity to ensure that your camera won’t get flooded at a later stage.
8. Get certified!
If you’re interested in learning more about ways to maintain scuba diving gear, you can sign up for the PADI Equipment Specialist Course. You’ll learn about routine care and maintenance procedures and storage best practices. Your instructor will show you how to overcome some common equipment problems and offer equipment configuration suggestions.
9. A few tools can go a long way!
To maintain scuba diving gear in great condition, it’s worth investing in a few simple tools. Consider purchasing a few basic tools, such as wrenches, silicon grease, Allen keys and a small screwdriver. If you use a Scubapro regulator, you might want to buy a Scubapro Universal Tool. Many retailers sell pre-packaged maintenance kits so ask your local retailer for advice.
10. Don’t forget to service your gear!
Some of the gear you buy might need servicing at regular intervals. This will change depending on the equipment and it’s best to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for this. A good rule of thumb for regulators is a complete disassemble, clean, polish and lubricate for every hundred dives. For other pieces of kit, an annual service should suffice.