Scuba Gear Care – 6 Ways to Make Your Gear Summer ReadyAugust 3, 2022
Summer is in full swing, and we want to make sure your scuba gear is ready for every underwater adventure that comes your way! There are a few important things to do to ensure your scuba gear is in proper working order. Has it been sitting on a shelf for most of the year? Check out these simple steps to ensure your gear is in good shape before you dust it off and jump right in.
Follow this guide to make sure your scuba gear is ready for summer:
Your regulator is one of the most essential pieces of your scuba gear, delivering you an uninterrupted supply of air while you explore the wonders of the underwater world. The last thing you want to happen during a dive is to have your regulator fail.
To avoid regulator failure, most manufacturers recommend an annual tune-up of your regulator with a total overhaul every other year.
SSI recommends contacting your local dive center to inquire about their servicing packages.
You can drop off your entire regulator unit, including the first stage, second stage, and octopus or secondary air source, for inspection.
2. Dive computer.
You do not want to start your descent and notice a low battery sign on your dive computer.
So, before heading out on your next dive, pull all of your dive computers out of storage, turn them on, and check the battery level.
Make sure each dive computer is functioning correctly with a full battery. Run through your computer’s dive planning mode to ensure everything is working.
If you get a low battery indicator, change the battery immediately if your computer model allows self-battery changes or send it to your nearest service center.
Make sure you do this before going on any dives!
3. Buoyancy Compensator.
Your Buoyancy Compensation Device (BCD) does not necessarily need to go in for servicing at a service center unless there is an obvious problem.
Run through a few self-checks to ensure your BCD is in good working order:
- Orally inflate your BCD to make sure it still holds air.
For an even more thorough check, fill your bathtub with water or take the BCD out to your pool and hold it underwater fully inflated.
Rotate the BCD underwater and look for any bubble streams escaping from the BCD’s bladder or valve seals.
- Make sure all of the BCD’s dump valves are working properly.
Deflate your filled BCD by pulling on each valve individually.
- Check your BCD’s weight pockets as well.
Ensure they are working correctly by putting the BCD on, adding weight to the pockets, and checking that the pockets do not unlock by themselves and release when prompted.
Wetsuits are pretty straightforward and do not require much preparation for use. However, it is a good idea to try on your wetsuit and check it still fits if you have not dived recently.
This small but useful step could save you from trying to squeeze into a too-small wetsuit on a rocking dive boat or getting cold in a wetsuit that is too big!
You may also want to ensure the zipper is still in good working order and that there are no holes or worn-out areas.
Remember that most modern diving wetsuits, especially hyper flex models, are manufactured to only last around 100 dives as the neoprene permanently compresses a little during each dive.
An older wetsuit will not keep you as warm as it should.
5. Mask, snorkel, and fins.
Most divers do not put much thought into checking their basic scuba gear before packing up for a dive trip or taking them out after long-term storage.
These essential items are just as susceptible to wearing out as other scuba gear, especially if they are stored in an area with low airflow and extreme temperatures, like the garage.
- Check the silicone skirt around your mask to ensure it has not turned a dingy yellow color.
This could indicate that the silicone has hardened and may not be as pliable as it should, which can lead to a constantly leaking mask.
- Check the purge valve plug and mouthpiece for the same discoloration on your snorkel.
High-end snorkels make these parts out of silicone as well, and if they are not in good working order, you could end up with a leaky snorkel.
- For fins, check the heel strap and buckles are not broken and that the fin blade is not warped.
The fin should look straight, and the heel strap should be easy to tighten and loosen.
6. Scuba Cylinder.
Every scuba cylinder requires an annual visual inspection. Check the visual inspection sticker on the side of your cylinder for the month, and the year it was last inspected.
If you are out of date, make sure you take it to one of your local SSI dive centers to get it visually inspected before using it.
A visual inspection does not take long but is essential to your dive safety. Your SSI center will also ensure that the cylinder is within the 5-year hydro date.
Your tank must be sent off for hydrostatic testing every five years. This process takes much longer than a visual inspection, so check your cylinder well in advance of your next scheduled dive.
By checking your scuba gear thoroughly before your next diving adventure, you will stop your dives from being ruined by preventable gear problems!
Keeping your scuba gear in tip-top condition will ensure you get years of good use out of your equipment investment, and it will keep you safe along the way.
Check out the SSI Equipment Techniques course to learn how to get the most from your investment and enjoy safe, comfortable dives for years to come.