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Dive Gear Dos and Don'ts



Scuba diving regulator
Regulator need to be cleaned!


Let's face it, diving is not the cheapest hobby to have, it may be the most expensive (normal) hobby. Unless you're into collecting art, supercars, planes or yachting – it ranks as one the most expensive ones out there! It becomes especially unkind to the wallet if you choose to invest in your own equipment (absolutely recommended if you plan to dive a lot!). It makes sense then, to take the best care of your gear; salt water, sun and incorrect storage, all can significantly reduce the lifespan of your equipment. The better you take care of your gear, the longer it will last, saving your precious pennies!! So here are some dive gear dos and don'ts.

REGULATOR

Rinse your regulator thoroughly in clean fresh water after every use. Don’t be tempted to use harsh solvents or disinfectants – this will be damaging, fresh water will do the job just fine!


Avoid using harsh chemicals on dive gear
Avoid using harsh chemicals on dive gear


Make sure the dust cap is on and tight before rinsing to prevent water from entering the 1st stage and causing damage. When rinsing, you can hose water through the mouthpiece and vents but do not press the purge, as this can allow water into the hose.


When drying, leave out of direct sunlight and hang either by the first stage or coiled and avoid leaving on the floor! Most regulators when bought, will come with a bag, ensure the regulator is dried before storing it in the bag.


Check mouthpieces, the integrity of the hoses for any damage, and if a DIN, check the o-ring, and replace as required, using the correct o-rings and proper tools – if in doubt, take to your local dive shop. Make sure to have your regulator serviced annually at your local dive shop and don't attempt to service, repair or open your regulator fittings unless properly trained to do so.


WETSUIT

The saying goes, there are 2 types of divers; those that pee in their wetsuit and those that lie! Now, no judgment, but I would suggest trying to avoid peeing in your wetsuit to make cleaning easier/nicer!

Avoid using washing machines, wetsuits are handwash only! After every dive, rinse wetsuits in clean fresh water, room temperature or cold water will work fine, too hot and it can damage the neoprene. Every few uses (depending on how often you dive, your personal preference or whether you pee in it!) you can add some wetsuit cleaner to the water. Wetsuit cleaners are easily available, and tend to be used like shampoo, requiring rinsing after, but always read the instructions.

Turn the suit inside out, open all the zips, and submerse in the water. If using a wetsuit cleaner, give a knead to get the soap everywhere it should be and let soak for 10-20 mins. For Zips and clips, using a gentle brush or opening and closing them while submerged can help free the teeth of salt/sand that may get stuck there.

Hang suits on a large/wide hanger – a small, thin hanger will not be enough to support the suit and will cause stretching and damage to the shoulders. Open all zips, and once the inside is dry, turn the suit the right way and continue drying. Avoid leaving in direct sunlight and ensure the suit is completely dry before storing. For storage, it can be laid flat (avoid folding) or put on a wide hanger.

To keep zips happy, you can buy special wax zip lubricant, or simply use a long candle and rub it on the front and back of the zips for an easy glide!



dive gear open water course learning diving
You first learn to wash your gear during your open water course


BCD

As with every other piece of dive gear, be sure to rinse your BCD after every dive in a basin with fresh water. Avoid the use of chemicals or solvents as this will damage the fabric. When rising, don't just focus on the outside either; you want to rinse the inside of the BCD bladder too. It is easiest if you have access to a hose. Aim the hose in the inflator hose, while pressing the deflate and partially fill the bladder. Turn the BCD upside down, pull on the dump valve and empty the water out; repeat a few times. All buttons and clips can be opened and closed to remove any salt collections.


The dump valves can be unscrewed and inspected. Salt and other debris can be collected here, so it's a good idea to rinse and check the valve is intact. Be sure to re-screw tightly before diving. Make sure the BCD is dried completely before storing. Keep out of direct sunlight and, for storage, inflate slightly to avoid the walls of the bladder sticking together.


Tanks

Not all of us will own our tanks, however, I know some people who have chosen to make this purchase. Tanks are sometimes forgotten about in the care aspect, however, as they hold the air we breathe – they are very important, and we should care for them correctly.


Firstly, it is important to quickly check the tank before each use, looking out for any nasty-looking substance from corrosion and damage to the structure or valve. Tanks are required to be officially visually inspected annually, and hydrostatically tested according to your location (in most areas this test is required every 5 years).


When rinsing your gear after diving, don’t neglect the tank. Saltwater can also have a detrimental effect on the cylinder, so ensure you hose down with clean, fresh water after every use.


Take the time to check o-rings (unless a DIN valve). When they need replacing, make sure you have the correct replacement o-rings, use the correct tools for the job and apply a nice amount of dive-specific silicone grease.


Remember to never allow the tank to be completely emptied. Keeping some air in the tank at all times, therefore maintaining tank pressure, means dirt, dust and other foreign material cannot enter through the valve.


Ultimately, for dive gear dos and don'ts...

  • Always rinse in clean, fresh water after every use

  • After rinsing, allow to dry thoroughly out of direct sunlight

  • Regularly inspect for damage or worn parts

  • Regularly have gear serviced by a professional


Love your gear and your gear will love you!


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