Scuba equipment is expensive. We buy it because we know it has quality, makes us both better divers and safer Scuba divers. Taking care of that equipment is just plain common sense. The PADI Equipment Specialist course is one way to learn how to care for your equipment.
All Scuba Diving Equipment
After diving all scuba equipment should be rinsed thoroughly. If possible soak the equipment for several hours or overnight. Frequent water changes will help in dissolving salts, sand, and grit, the number one enemy of diving equipment. All scuba equipment should be stored out of direct sunlight. Sunlight causes silicone and neoprene to discolor and become brittle.
Mask & Snorkel
After rinsing, your mask should be stored in a protective box or mask bag. Store out of direct sunlight. If mask strap is made of silicone or rubber, and the mask will not be used for a long period of time, remove the strap. This allows the strap to better retain its natural shape, and will lengthen its life expectancy. Frequent cleaning of the inside of the lenses with Sea Buff Mask & Slate Cleaner or toothpaste will help keep the mask from fogging.
After soaking be sure no salt or sand remains on the buckles. Brushing the buckles with a toothbrush may be necessary to remove all sand and grit. Fins should be stored out of sunlight. The foot inserts that came with the fins should be placed in the foot pocket when fins are stored. They will help maintain the proper shape of the foot pocket. Store fins flat. Storing them on the fin blades can cause the blade to change shape.
Buoyancy Control Device (BCD):
Your BCD needs to be washed both inside and outside. Soak the entire unit as above. Also run fresh water inside the unit through the oral inflator mechanism. Shake the unit well then drain the water thoroughly. Unit should be stored half full of air. Hanging unit from a hook or special BCD hanger in a dark closet is best.
Your BCD should be serviced annually by a professional. It should be flushed with BCD Cleaner/Conditioner. The inflator mechanism is also dismantled and inspected. “O” Rings should be replaced and the low pressure inflator adjusted. This will add years to the life of your BCD.
Scuba regulators and gauges are delicate instruments. They should be handled carefully. Avoid jarring them. It is recommended that when traveling by air, you carry your regulators on the plane, rather than subject it to the abuse that it might receive if checked with the rest of your luggage. Never leave your regulator in the sun. If your gear is left out between dives, cover your gauges with your BCD or your wetsuit. Sunlight can dry out the oil inside of your gauges, compass, or the LED display of your computer. Rinse your regulator in clean water after diving, but do not soak the first stage. The dust cap does not adequately keep water out.
Your regulator should not be hung to dry. Hanging the regulator by the first or second stage and allowing unit to dangle causes stress on the hoses. Store entire unit lying down. Always carry the regulator in a protective bag, but do not store in one. When storing for a long period, lay your regulator flat on a shelf or in a drawer.
Scuba regulators must be serviced at least annually. More often if subjected to hard use or abuse. This is both for safety purposes and to maintain the warranty on your regulator. When serviced the unit is completely dismantled. All parts are inspected and many may be replaced. The unit is cleaned, disinfected, reassembled and adjusted.
Wetsuit & Neoprene Accessories
All neoprene products need tender loving care. They must be stored out of direct sunlight. Folding neoprene products causes a breakdown of the nitrogen bubbles within the rubber. This in turn causes the product to lose its insulating properties. If a wetsuit must be folded for travel, it should not be stored with anything on top of it, nor packed too tightly. It should be unpacked as soon as possible. After washing, store your wetsuit on a wide hanger, or lay it flat. Hanging the suit inside out when wet, then reversing it when dry will help cut down on mildew. Lightly lubricating the zipper with a “zipper stick” will protect the zipper from contaminates.
Scuba cylinders should also be rinsed after diving. Filled tanks should never be left in direct sunlight, or in a hot car trunk. Excessive heat can expand the air inside the tank and cause a rupture of the burst disc. The heat can also weaken the metal and shorten the life of the tank.
When storing a tank for long periods most of the air should be nearly drained. Steel tanks should be stored with only 50-100 PSI, aluminum tanks should be stored either full or with only 50-100 PSI, and both in a standing position. Be sure it is against a wall or some support so that it will not fall.
All dive knives are made of stainless steel. They will still rust over a period of time. Your dive knife should be washed after every dive. Any rust spots should be removed immediately. “Never Dull” or fine steel wool will remove most rust spots. Coating your knife with scuba grade silicone spray will leave a protective coating over the blade and lessen any rusting.
Your dive light will last much longer if you take a few extra precautions. If using your dive light for the first time in a long while, check the “O” ring prior to your dive. If it seems dry, lightly lubricate the “O” ring with silicone grease. Use only enough grease to make the “O” ring shine. Too much grease will cause your light to attract grit and possibly flood. Make sure the light is closed tightly before going into the water.
Do not use the light on land unnecessarily. When changing the light bulb, do not touch it with your bare hands. Dive light bulbs get very hot, grease from your hands or using the light on land can cause the bulb to burn out. Periodically cleaning the battery contacts with a pencil eraser will also prolong the life of your dive light.