Saturday, July 13, 2024

Proper Scuba Gear Maintenance: Tips for a Longer Gear Life

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Proper scuba gear maintenance is key to prolonging the life of your gear. At the same time, there is no substitute for having your gear regularly serviced by an accredited professional. However, you can put many smaller steps in place that will help your kit live long.

So here are some tips on scuba gear maintenance and how to properly look after your dive gear!

Scuba gear maintenance is key to fun safe scuba dives
Scuba gear maintenance is key to fun safe scuba dives

Caring for Your Dive Mask & Fins

Your fins are one of the most robust pieces of equipment you have, while your mask is arguably one of the most delicate. Yet ironically, when it comes to scuba gear maintenance, they both need almost the same thing to keep them in good condition.

Scuba Gear Maintenance: Fins

Fins require little to no maintenance. Rinse them off after every dive with fresh water and ensure that there are no sand or other particulates on the fins or in the buckles, and you are done. Stay on top of this simple route and keep your fins out of the sun whenever possible, and they should last you virtually forever.

You may opt to review the straps every few months to ensure no cracking and overt signs of wear and tear. If there is, swap out your strap since it is far more convenient to swap out a strap at your leisure than try to do so at a dive site or on a boat while you are rushing to get in the water for a dive.

Scuba Gear Maintenance: Dive Mask

Maintaining your dive mask is also relatively simple and straightforward. After every dive, rinse with fresh water and remove debris or sand on the mask. Depending on your situation, it is always a good idea to let your mask dry briefly before popping it back in its plastic box so it doesn’t get stepped on or broken by a stray scuba tank.

Like the fin strap, inspect it periodically for breaks or signs of wear and tear. If you see these signs of trouble ahead, change the strap as soon as possible. 

Wetsuit and Drysuit Care

Looking after your wetsuit and dry suit requires basic scuba gear maintenance skills and primarily involves keeping them clean and debris-free. Start with rinsing your suit with fresh water after every dive. Once your trip concludes, you can use a suit shampoo to clean your suits thoroughly.

You can clean the interior and exterior of a wetsuit; on a drysuit, it is mainly the exterior. Before storing your suit, always apply wax to your zippers. This keeps them from rusting or becoming too brittle.

Suit Seals

The single item that perishes the quickest on suits, whether dry or wet, is the wrist and neck seals. That is why they need more tender loving care, especially the latex variety. Once thoroughly drying your seals, apply a liberal chalk or non-perfumed talcum powder dusting.

This keeps them dry and prevents them from rotting. When storing your suits, ensure the seals are not in contact with direct sunlight. The Ultraviolet rays will break your seals down in no time.

Scuba Gear Maintenance: Dry Suit Valves

If you have a dry suit, you should take one more step beyond maintaining your seals. Clean out your inflator and dump valves to make sure you have no salt buildup or debris inside them. You can often unscrew these, rinse them out in fresh water, and you are ready to go. If you are unsure or they seem to have issues, you should get your valves serviced by a qualified technician.

BCD and Regulator Maintenance

Regarding scuba gear maintenance and regulators, you should get it serviced by an accredited professional at least once a year. Possibly more than once if you dive multiple dives daily, day in and day out. Being immersed in water and having moving components inside elements of your regulator will always wear with use, so it is best to get them serviced regularly.

Before any dive trip, there are steps to ensure you are ready. Loosen off your hoses and inspect the O-rings between them and the body of your first stage. If any seem damaged, indulge in some scuba gear maintenance and change them.

After dives, you should always rinse your regulator with fresh water, and if you will not be diving for a while, it is always a good idea to unscrew the cover of the second stage and make sure it is thoroughly rinsed, and there is no sand or debris in there. Needless to say, the item that is used up the most is the mouthpiece. So, before every trip, check your mouthpiece and make sure it is in good condition.

Scuba Gear Maintenance: BCD

Your BCD does not require much maintenance, but it should be washed out in fresh water after every dive, especially if you are diving in the ocean or sea. Remember to fill the bladder with fresh water (preferably with a small amount of disinfectant added) and slosh it around to clean the inside of your BCD.

Once emptied and rinsed out, leave your BCD slightly inflated to dry. This lets the inside dry thoroughly, reducing the probability of internal mold build. It also gives you a good idea if you have a small puncture in your unit and, if so, how big a puncture is.

Have your dump valves and inflator serviced by a qualified technician at least once a year. In the meantime, you can always rinse them out to ensure they do not contain sand or debris.

Storing Your Scuba Gear

So you have put together a great scuba gear maintenance routine, and now it’s time to store it at the end of the season! So, how do you store your gear? Put it all in a bag and toss it in the back of a cupboard in your garage, attic, or basement! No, that would be a bad idea and an act of cruelty to your gear.

Ideally, you want to store your gear inside your house in a normal climate—not too hot or too cold. Tossing it in a cold garage over winter will do no good. Second, you want to hang your suits up so there will be no additional stress on the neoprene. Or trilaminate material. Rolling them up will not help the material in the long run.

The same applies to your BCD; if you put it on a BCD hanger that is much wider than a typical clothes hanger, that is ideal. Normal clothes hangers can bite into the Cordura since BCDs are much heavier than regular clothes.

Regarding regulators, masks, and fins, ensure they are completely dry, put them in the respective bags, and store them in a cool, dry place with some ventilation. This is key to preventing any unpleasant mold or other bacteria from taking hold of your gear during the off-season.

Finally, read the manufacturer’s manual more often than not; it will give you guidelines on how to store gear properly in the off-season.

Sam Helmy
Sam Helmyhttps://www.deeperblue.com
Sam Helmy is a TDI/SDI Instructor Trainer, and PADI Staff and Trimix Instructor. Diving for 28 years, a dive pro for 14, I have traveled extensively chasing my passion for diving. I am passionate about everything diving, with a keen interest in exploration, Sharks and big stuff, Photography and Decompression theory. Diving is definitely the one and only passion that has stayed with me my whole life! Sam is a Staff Writer for DeeperBlue.com

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