The Importance of Maintaining Your Scuba Equipment
Scuba divers depend on their equipment for survival at depth, yet many either don’t know or don’t take the time to properly maintain their equipment. Maintenance isn’t difficult, but it’s critical that it be done regularly—and that starts the moment you buy your first piece of scuba gear.
Equipment care can be broken down into two categories: what divers can do themselves and what maintenance needs to be done by certified technicians. Knowing each item’s service requirements will not only help ensure your safety but extend the life of your equipment as well. Regulators and BCDs with integrated air sources should have annual inspections by the pros. But, the routine care you give your equipment between professional servicing is the key to keeping everything in order.
Always make sure your regulator’s first-stage dust cap is in place before dunking your regulator into the rinse bin or hosing it down with fresh water. This prevents water from getting into the first stage. Hooking it up to a tank afterward and purging the second stage will blow out any residual moisture. Once completely dry, loosely coil the hoses and store them in a dry location.
Regulators will periodically need to be serviced by an authorized technician. Don’t overlook service—many manufacturers set service timetables as a condition of their warranties. For example, Scubapro recommends its regulators be serviced every 24 months for most recreational divers. But for divers who are lucky enough to make over 100 dives in a year, the timetable shortens to an inspection every six months, with new parts annually. (And as an aside, make sure you register your equipment with its manufacturer to activate the warranty!)
Divers ask a lot of their BCDs. It holds your tank, modifies your buoyancy, carries weights, and packs additional gear either in pockets or on D-rings. If it has an Air2, it even provides an alternate air source. So before you rinse it, make sure you cap the Air2 hose connection.
While diving, saltwater can seep into the bladders, which means after you rinse the outside, you need to rinse the inside as well. Depress the button on the power inflator and direct hose water into the inflator mouthpiece, swish it around, and then drain the BCD through either the rump or shoulder exhaust valves.
Remember that water always runs to the lowest point. It won’t do you any good to pull on a shoulder dump if the water has collected below it.
Once drained, manually inflate it a bit before you store it. (It’s great practice in case you need to manually inflate on a dive!)
A note about Air2s. This piece of equipment serves two functions: as the means to power inflate the BCD and as an alternate air source. As a regulator, it needs to be treated as such—which means having it periodically serviced by a certified technician.
Fortunately, the technician will also be checking the internal valve that controls airflow to the BCD. If corroded, the valve could stick in the open position causing the BCD to fill, potentially causing an uncontrolled ascent—an event no diver ever wants to experience.
Wetsuits, computers, fins, masks, snorkels, flashlights
If it went in the water, it needs a freshwater rinse. While not required each time you dive, wetsuits benefit from the occasional soak with a wetsuit cleaner or shampoo.
Not only will this help eliminate salts and corrosion from the zippers, but it will also wash away body oils and combat odors. Hang in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight to dry. Whenever possible, wetsuits should be stored hanging to avoid compression and creases.
And speaking of storage, unless you are stowing your gear in a climate-controlled space, avoid storing anything in a plastic wrapper.
If the gear is the least bit damp when you put it in a bag, you are inviting the possibility of mildew and mold.
When you rinse any piece of your kit, use the opportunity to give it a thorough once-over. Are the hoses in good shape? Are any of the seams on the BCD or wetsuit fraying? Is anything damaged?
But maintenance shouldn’t only occur after a dive. A pre-dive inspection of your gear can save you a lot of frustration. Does the bulb of your flashlight or the battery of your computer need changing? Time, dust, heat, and storage in a garage can result in damage to equipment—and the time to discover damage is before you get on the boat.
Going on a dive vacation? Get your gear serviced before you travel. Your destination may not have the facilities or the parts to fix your particular brand of gear. Why let something that’s so easy to prevent ruin your trip?
Spring may be in the air, but summer is right around the corner and your gear should be as ready as you are to go diving. Jupiter Dive Center has a certified service department for all your equipment needs.
And with two boats mere steps from our shop, we can help you—and your gear—get back in the water. Call Jupiter Dive Center at 561-745-7807 to inquire about service, or visit us to book a dive, today!