Good care and maintenance of your diving equipment can result in many years of trouble free service.
More importantly, it can ensure your personal safety. You will have invested lots of money in expensive dive gear therefore it makes sense to maintain it properly which will give you more personal enjoyment underwater as well as extending it's life.
- Always rinse with fresh water after diving
- Always ensure that the dust cap is securely in place on the first stage
- NEVER depress the purge button while washing your regulator - doing so this will allow water to flow into the hoses and the part of the first stage that is supposed to remain dry
- Blow out any water in the dust cap before securing it over the inlet port
- Ensure that the O-ring is in place inside the dust cap
Wash regulators thoroughly as it is important to remove all salt from inside.
After each day of diving, clean, inspect and prepare the regulator for the next use or for storage.
As soon as the first stage is removed from the cylinder, reinstall the dust cap over the regulator inlet port. This cap is normally attached to the regulator yoke and therefore has been under water.
- Avoid ’soaking’ your regulator unless it is hooked up to a cylinder and has pressure on the system
- Do not depress the purge buttons on either second stage regulator while they’re in the water, without pressure, as this will allow water to flow into the first stage regulator. Doing so is likely to result in water entering both regulator stages, which could result in internal corrosion.
- Shake dry and wipe the regulator's exterior with a clean cloth.
- It is recommend that after washing the regulator you attach it to a cylinder and THEN purge the second stages to dry the valve mechanisms and second stage internal housings.
- Store the regulator in a cool, dry place ensuring there are no kinks in the hoses.
BCD's are rarely dry and with warmth they soon collect organic matter - which is ideal for bacterial growth.
- After every trip wash out the bladder of the BCD with clean water and a diluted disinfectant
- If you have a BCD wash solution (available in most dive stores) add the recommended amount before adding the water
- In a salt water environment, it is also important to flush all the salt out of the jacket before it dries and forms salt crystals. These can cut the bladder, diminishing its ability to provide buoyancy
- Depress the oral inflator button and allow warm water to flow into the jacket until it is about 20% full. Make sure that the entire bladder is fully rinsed by rotating and tilting the jacket is varying directions
- Open the valve and allow the water to flow out
- Rinse the exterior thoroughly in warm water, paying particular attention to push button valves and the oral inflator, and make certain they are operating freely
After you've drained as much of the water as possible inflate the BCD at least halfway and hang it on a BCD hanger to dry out of the sun. Tank air, being 99.9% humidity free, will help dry the bladder inside and prevent mould formation.
Even though they are made of treated steel or aluminium and then painted, you should still take a minute or two to rinse the tanks with some fresh water.
Salt and sand can build up in the valve knob, o-rings can degrade and crack and dirt and grime can collect under the black plastic boots where pitting can damage cylinder's surfaces and lead to corrosion.
Since you're rinsing everything else it just makes sense to spray the cylinders down too.
Reduce cylinder and valve damage
Proper handling of a scuba cylinder is important for the longevity of the cylinder itself and for the safety of the diver.
Avoiding scratches, dents, or sudden impacts to the cylinder is necessary to ensure a long service life. External damage can weaken the cylinder, unseat the valve or cause the cylinder to not properly connect with other equipment, namely the first-stage of the regulator harness.
Be sure not to drop your cylinder particularly on the valves. Lie cylinders down whenever unattended and make sure they can't roll. If possible fit plastic carry handles around cylinder neck.
Cylinders should only be kept upright if they are secured, such as on a dive boat or a dock equipped with cylinder restraints. Whilst resting the tank on its side is best, it is important to make sure the valve area does not get contaminated with dirt or sand.
Prior to assembling the 1st stage to the cylinder, always check the 'O' ring is clean and undamaged.
Mask Fins Snorkel
- Ensure your mask is kept out of strong sunlight.
- It should ideally be soaked (not just rinsed) and fully dried in the shade.
- Store it in the plastic box provided by the manufacturer to avoid damage to the face plate or the lens.
- Check your mask strap and mask skirt for cuts, tears or cracks, especially around the buckle areas.
Fins need only to be rinsed in clean, freshwater and dried in the shade.
The best way to store fins is to lie them flat so that the blade is not bent or curled.
Plastic stiffeners placed in the foot pocket can help keep the pocket from collapsing when stored or transported.
The snorkel should be simply rinsed out and checked for any damage.
Latex seals can perish easily. The main reasons for this are skin oils, perfume in talcum powder, exposure to
sun and failing to wash them after usage in the sea and therefore leaving them salty during storage.
- Wash thoroughly inside and out with mild detergent
- Rinse with plenty clean water
- Dry carefully then treat surfaces with a special silicone treatment or at least with a perfume free talc to reduce seal welding.
If you are going to dry your suit on hangers, it is important that you use an extra wide hanger. If narrow or wood hangers are used, the suit is likely to be damaged due to excessive pressure.
After the suit has dried, the zipper should be left open and lubricated with bees wax or silicone lubricant (non-petroleum based) to make them easier to open and close next time.
As soon as possible, hang up your gear to dry and pack it away dry and clean!
Remember that sunshine isn't good for dive gear - leaving it laying around in the bright and hot sunshine for long periods of time is bad and can lead to rotting, cracking, and fading of various parts of your kit.
Neoprene rubber is especially affected by ultraviolet light and wetsuits, boots, hoods, gloves etc should not be left out in the sun any longer than is necessary. It is better to roll your neoprene suits once they are dry, folding them for prolonged periods can cause any folds to become permanent. Either hang them or store in the bag that they came with.
BCD bladders, low-pressure inflator hoses, and regulator components can also be affected by prolonged exposure to sunlight.
If you're not planning on diving for a while or packing your dive gear away for the season making sure things are dry is critical, not only for the gear, but for your health as well! Consider using desiccant pouches which will absorb any lingering moisture.
Cylinders are best stored with some pressure inside to prevent moisture build up.