Proper Maintenance of Scuba Equipment

Proper maintenance of scuba equipment is a must for all divers for several reasons. The first and most important is that your life depends on it. Remember, your dive equipment is your life support equipment. Diving gear is subject to all kind of harmful substances; Salt, heat, dirt, etc. Proper maintenance will result in your gear lasting longer. Below are some tips on how to keep your gear in tiptop shape.

When you’re finished diving for the day, soak your regulator in clean fresh warm water for at least an hour. Never depress the exhaust button on the second stage while immersed in water, as this will allow water into the hose and up into the first stage. During the soak, work any buttons, control levers or knobs back and forth to loosen any particles that may have accumulated inside. Once you are finished soaking the regulator, run fresh water over the first and second stages to remove loose debris that did not fall off during the soak.
Once you have finished cleaning the regulator, dry it and store in a cool dry place away from any dust, light & heat. Optimally, store the dry regulator in a plastic bag. Position the regulator in such a way that the hoses are not kinked.
All regulators should be serviced according to your manufacturer’s suggestion in order to remain under warranty, which is usually once a year for most brands, Atomic regulators have a two year maintenance cycle.

Scuba Tanks are heavy and should be handled with care. Never ever leave them standing up unattended as they can fall over and damage the valve or brake toes when they hit your foot.
Inspect the tank, valve and o-ring before every dive. After use, scuba cylinders should be rinsed in fresh water and wiped dry. Remember to remove the tank boot before drying the cylinder to prevent water from accumulating on the outside of the tank. The tank valve should be opened briefly to expel any moisture from the valve opening.
Ensure your tank is pressurized to at least 100 psi to prevent any moisture from entering the cylinder. Store tanks securely and upright in a cool dry place.
All compressed air cylinders should be inspected regularly, more often under extreme conditions. Before using the tank, check for any heavy wear or corrosion on the outside of the tank.
A Visual inspection is required annually by a qualified Scuba technician. Any stickers should be removed prior to a visual inspection. In addition, tanks must be hydrostatically tested once every five years to ensure the integrity of the tank walls.

Your BCD is made of cloth which soaks up salt water or the not so clean fresh water you dove in. Disconnect all hoses after finished diving. Inspect and clean all hoses including the corrugated hose for damage, cuts, slices, and splits. BCDs should be soaked and rinsed in fresh water after use. it is a good practice to also rinse the inside of the air bladder in the event water entered the BCD, especially if it was salt water. Any salt that remains inside the balder dries crystallizes and will start to degrade the material. Next to punctures, this leftover seawater has to be the leading cause for BC bladder failure. To do this, depress and hold down the oral inflator button and fill the bladder one third full with water. Allow the water to swish around inside by rotating the BCD several times. Then drain the water completely by turning the BCD upside down while pressing the oral inflator button. Partially inflate your buoyancy compensator and hang it to dry in the shade.
Store BCDs upside down and partially inflated.
Service according to manufacturer’s suggestions, usually once a year as there are all kinds of springs and o-rings in your inflator valve that can wear out and fail.

Weights should be rinsed in fresh water after use.

Weight Belts, Fins & Snorkels
These should be rinsed in fresh water after use and placed out of the sun to dry. If your fins came with inserts to maintain the shape of the pocket insert them every time you store your fins. This can prevent your fin pocket from collapsing which makes them much less comfortable.

Masks should be rinsed with fresh water and air dried out of the sun. It’s a good idea to store the mask in its original box to prevent any scratches. One your mask is scratched, it will take away some your diving delight.

Wetsuit, booties and gloves
Any neoprene or similar material should be soaked and rinsed thoroughly with fresh water after use. While soaking, flex the material with a kneading motion to remove any foreign particles from the material. Commercially available wetsuit conditioner (baby shampoo is said to work just as well) is available that will help to control odors and may prevent fading of the material. Apply a light coating of beeswax to zippers, and then work them back and forth to prevent sticking.
Allow wetsuits, booties and gloves to drip dry on appropriate (do not use the thin wire hangers as these can rust and start to degrade the neoprene in the shoulders) hangers that prevent creasing of the neoprene. Do not store your scuba diving wetsuit in direct sunlight. Also, do not use aerosol spray near your wetsuit as this can degrade the neoprene. Do not store your wetsuit in a garage unless the garage is not used for your car. Car exhaust can degrade the neoprene.

Lights & Cameras
Lights and cameras are extremely sensitive to water, sand and salt. Soak them in warm fresh water as soon as possible after use. Work all moving parts while soaking to loosen any salt and sand deposits. After soaking, allow the unit to dry completely before opening any compartments. Once dry, loosen all connectors so they do not freeze in place, then remove batteries and film. Thoroughly clean and lubricate all o-rings before next use.
Store components in a protective case to prevent any seals from exposure to dust and dirt.
Professional maintenance and pressure testing is recommended to ensure the longevity of delicate and expensive equipment. Be sure to follow any and all manufacturer’s recommendations.

Dive Computers
Dive computers and instruments are extremely sensitive to water, sand and salt just like lights and cameras. The instrument should be soaked, thoroughly rinsed with warm fresh water, and then dried with a soft towel after each dive. Work all moving parts while soaking to loosen any salt and sand deposits.
Service your dive computer as recommended by your manufacturer. Be sure to follow any and all manufacturer’s recommendations and consult the owner’s manual before attempting replacement of the batteries.
Store your dive computer in a dry place when you are not using it.

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