What are we going to do to protect ourselves from those "evil" dive equipment failures?
The main cause of equipment damage is neglecting to soak it in fresh water. Salt crystals will dry and harden, and can cause metal parts to weaken and rust and the straps or fabrics to get stiff and crack. The salt crystals, along with dirt and sand, will act like an abrasive to cause scratches or holes in your equipment.
Don't let silicone rest against neoprene; the silicone will become permanently discolored.
Heat, ozone and fumes can all be harmful to scuba equipment. A garage is not a good place to store your dive gear, car exhaust and the heat in the summer is harmful.
Make certain you read your owners manual, and follow all manufacturers recommendations for maintenance and service.
BCDs should be soaked and rinsed in fresh water after use. You should also rinse the inside of the air bladder. Salt crystals can form inside and injure the bladder. You need to depress and hold down the oral inflator button and fill the bladder about one third full of water. Swish around inside by rotating the BCD several times, then drain the water completely by turning the BCD upside down, pressing the oral inflator button and gently squeezing the air and water out. Add air orally, and again drain, to make certain you have gotten out as much water as possible. You need to store your BCD partially inflated. This will keep the bladder from sticking against itself so the residual water won't form mold inside the bladder. Check straps and buckles to make certain they are not frayed, worn or broken. Check any velcro connections to make certain they will firmly connect -- that there is no sand, dirt or sediment build up that would cause it to lose it's "stick."
Your BCD should be checked and serviced once a year, or according to your manufacturer's recommendation.
After each dive day, you should soak your regulator in fresh water for an hour or so. While a regulator is submerged, it is very important to prevent water from entering the first stage. The best way to accomplish this is to leave the regulator connected to a pressurized tank. (If this is not possible, be sure that the dust cap is in place and do not depress the purge button on the second stage. Check manufacturer's instructions for specifics.) Be certain that you blow or towel dry the dust cap before you put it on the first stage.
Dry the regulator with a clean towel after rinsing, then store it in a cool dry place, away from dust, light, heat and fumes of any kind. Make certain there is little or no stress on the hoses, and the second stage is below the first stage with the mouthpiece facing down.
You need to have your regulator serviced annually, or according to your manufacturer's recommendations.
Masks and Snorkels
Masks should be soaked in fresh water and dried after use. You check your straps by stretching them gently, and looking for cracks or tears. If you find any, replace it with a new one. Look for cracks in the skirt of the mask or lens. If you have a mask with a purge valve, look for sand, salt or dirt in the purge, and check that the valve is in place. It's a good idea to store the mask in its original box.
Snorkels should be soaked as well, and the purge on them checked for salt, sand or dirt. Check your snorkel keeper by gently stretching and look for cracks or tears. Replace with new one (keep an extra one in your dive kit).
Fins should be rinsed off in fresh water after use. Replace the foot insert that came with your fins to prevent the foot pocket from losing shape. To avoid bent fins, they should lie flat, not on their tips. If you need to store them upright, never prop them by their tips.
Soak your dive computer in fresh water as soon as possible after use. Dry with a clean towel. Be sure to follow any and all manufacturers recommendations and consult the owner's manual before attempting replacement of the batteries. Check your computer owners manual for manufacturer's recommendations on annual service.
Wetsuit, hoods, booties and gloves
Any neoprene or similar material should be soaked and rinsed thoroughly with fresh water after use. Commercially available wetsuit conditioner is available to help control odors. You can apply a light coating of beeswax to zippers, then work them back and forth to prevent sticking. Allow wetsuits, hoods, booties and gloves to drip dry on appropriate hangers that prevent creasing of the neoprene.
Dive Lights & Cameras
Lights and cameras are extremely sensitive to water, sand and salt. Soak them in fresh water as soon as possible after use. Work all moving parts while soaking to loosen any salt and sand deposits. After soaking, make certain they dry completely before opening. Once dry, follow manufacturers instructions for storage. It's a good idea to loosen the connectors and remove batteries. Store in a protective case to prevent any seals from exposure to dust and dirt.
Weights and Weight Systems
Weights may be rinsed in fresh water after use, and should never be stored on top of any of your other dive gear. Check straps and buckles to make certain they are not frayed, worn or broken. Check any velcro connections to make certain they will firmly connect -- that there is no sand, dirt or sediment build up that would cause it to lose it's "stick."
Scuba Cylinders (Tanks)
Scuba cylinders should be rinsed in fresh water after use, then wiped dry. Remove the tank boot and dry the cylinder completely so that no water is allowed to accumulate on the outside of the tank. Check for corrosion on the outside of the tank. The valve should be opened briefly to expel any moisture from the valve opening.
Visual inspection is required annually. Any stickers MUST be removed prior to a visual inspection. Tanks are also required to be hydrostatically tested once every five years to ensure the integrity of the tank.
***If you fill your own tanks, make certain you do not overfill them -- this will cause stress to the metal, and can cause metal fatigue, which will shorten the life of your tank.
Before storing your tank, be sure it has at least 200 psi to prevent any moisture from entering the cylinder. Store tanks securely and upright in a cool dry place.
PSI Cylinder Inspection Course is AWESOME and should be a required course for EVERY diver!
If you own your own Scuba Cylinders -- yea! You can go diving any time you want! -- we strongly, strongly, STRONGLY recommend you take the PSI Cylinder Inspection Course. Whether you plan to inspect your scuba cylinder or not, you will learn not only HOW to take care of your cylinder, but WHY we do what we do.
Why is overfilling bad? It wil give me more dive time if I overfill just a little, isn't that a good thing?
Want to know about "hot" fills and why they are not good?
Want to know why some dive centers use a "wet-fill" station and others don't?
Want to know what to look for in a scuba cylinder, and what might not be so good?
We think every diver, whether they own their cylinders or not will benefit from the class.
A cylinder is another part of your safety equipment, learn how to care for it!
Always follow your manufacturer’s recommendations for each piece of scuba equipment.
These hints and tips may or may not apply to your particular equipment.
An extremely important question!
You are ready to dive . . . is your gear ready to dive?