If you’ve been diving for a while, you may have already made the decision to invest in buying your own dive equipment. So that you don’t have to use rental equipment that’s been used by God-knows-how-many people before you. If this is you, great! Having your own equipment will enhance your dive experience and even save you money in the long run. More importantly, you need to know how to maintain your scuba gear so they stay in good shape! In this post, we list a few things that will help you take care of your equipment so that it can last you hundreds of dives. To learn how to maintain your scuba gear, read on:
- Rinse your gear with fresh water
- Rinse the inside of your BCD
- Dry your gear in a shady and well-ventilated area
- Store your gear safely
- Pack your gear thoughtfully when traveling
Rinse your gear with fresh water
If you could only take away one tip from this post, let it be this one. This is essentially the cardinal rule of scuba gear maintenance. If you’re diving multiple times in a day, you should rinse your gear with fresh water after the last dive before packing away your gear for the day. To be extra secure, rinse it after every single dive.
So far, I’ve told you what you should do but not why you should do it, so why is it important to rinse diving gear with freshwater? The answer can be boiled down to one word: salt. Not the kind you use for your popcorn, mind you, but the kind that’s found in the ocean water. After diving in ocean water, bits of salt can crystallize into small and sharp objects in and around your gear, which can cause damage and corrosion.
Ocean water salt doesn’t discriminate, so, given enough time, it will damage highly mechanical parts of your gear, such as your dive computer, as well as fabric-based parts like your BCD, and everything in between. Rinsing away this salt is paramount to keeping your gear in good shape.
Rinse the inside of your BCD
While it may be easier to just rinse the outside of your BCD and call it a day, the inside of the BCD deserves some love, too. You certainly don’t want salt crystals forming in there and tearing the fabric apart. To do so, hold down the deflation button while running water into the opening that you would normally use for oral inflation. When your BCD is about halfway full of water, take it out of the water entirely, blow some air into it then give it a few good shakes. This will allow the water to slosh around inside clearing away any salt. Next, hang up the BCD and pull the release valve on the bottom of the BCD to get all the water out. Feel free to repeat this process a couple of times to ensure the inside of your BCD remains squeaky clean.
Dry your gear in a shady and well-ventilated area
You’ve just finished your third dive of the day, and you’re thinking that it would be nice to lay in the sun for a while. Your gear certainly doesn’t agree. To maintain your scuba gear in good shape avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. While it would dry your gear faster but it could also damage it beyond repair. After rinsing your gear, dry it by hanging it away from sunlight with plenty of ventilation. This means that you shouldn’t let it dry on the beach, nor in a dark storage room. Most dive centers will have areas where you can safely hang your gear to dry. Locate that area, hang your gear then do all the sunbathing your heart desires!
Store your gear safely
Whether you’re done scuba diving for the day or for the year, storing your gear properly will make sure it will still work the next time you use it. Your tanks should not be completely full or completely empty to avoid contaminants getting in there. Keep some air inside the tank before putting it away. Also, store it in a place where it will not be kicked or knocked over.
Hanging your wetsuit using normal clothes hanger can create creases that are close to impossible to get rid of, thus disfiguring your wetsuit and making it uncomfortable to wear. To avoid that, gently fold it over instead, or use specially designed wetsuit hangers. Your fins should either hang by the strap away from the floor or simply lay them down horizontally on the floor. Do not balance them on the tips for any amount of time, as that can make them lose their shape and become rather useless in the water.
Pack your gear thoughtfully when traveling
It’s finally vacation time, and you’re excited to go exploring the depths again. Great! In order to make sure that your gear is as excited as you are by the time you reach your destination, make sure to be kind to it when you pack it. If you’re packing a lot of stuff, place items like your fins, mask, and snorkel at the top of your suitcase. This ensures they are not crushed by the weight of the things above them, thus preserving their shape.
To keep your mask lenses scratch-free, store it in the original packaging you bought it in. If you don’t have that anymore, you can wrap it in a few pieces of clothing instead. If your fins do not comfortably fit inside your bag, then keep them outside. You don’t want any pressure placed on them so that they keep their shape. If they do fit, that’s great. You can also wrap them using your wetsuit for some extra padding. Make sure to not wrap them too tightly, though, so your wetsuit stays crease-free.
And there it is! Taking care of your (often expensive) scuba gear can keep them functioning well for multiple years, and avoid any problems happening underwater. We hope this post has given you a clearer idea of how to maintain your scuba gear. Can you think of anything else that should be on this list? We would love to hear all about it. Leave us a comment below or send us an email at [email protected]