Scuba diving is a thrilling activity that allows you to explore underwater and witness breathtaking marine life. However, this exciting adventure requires proper equipment for safety and enjoyment. Scuba diving gear is an investment that can last for years, but only if it’s maintained properly – so it’s vital to familiarize yourself with the basics of scuba gear maintenance.
In this guide, we’ll cover the essential steps to take when it comes to maintaining your scuba diving equipment. From storage and cleaning to repairs and replacement, you’ll find all the information you need here.
Diving gear is exposed to salt water, sand, and other contaminants every time you dive, which can cause damage and affect the gear’s performance. In order to make sure your gear is working optimally, you need to take good care of it.
Regular maintenance helps ensure all gear parts are in top condition and performing as expected. This can help you avoid unnecessary accidents, injuries, and costly repairs or replacements down the line.
Here are a few key reasons why you should prioritize scuba diving gear maintenance:
Diving gear is designed to keep you safe and functioning properly underwater. If any parts are worn or damaged, it can put you at risk when diving. Regularly inspecting and maintaining your gear will ensure everything is in good condition and working as it should.
Well-maintained dive gear performs better, which means you’ll have a more enjoyable and comfortable diving experience. You can explore the underwater world confidently when your equipment offers optimal performance!
Any avid diver knows how expensive dive gear can get. It all adds up quickly, from needing a good quality mask that fits correctly to comfortable fins. Taking good care of your gear will help you get the most out of it and prolong its life. Regular servicing can also catch problems early and prevent them from becoming more severe and expensive to repair.
Many manufacturers require regular maintenance and servicing to maintain the warranty on dive gear. If you don’t service your gear as outlined in the warranty, you may void it and be unable to get a replacement if needed.
Your scuba gear is exposed to bacteria and other contaminants every time you dive. Regular cleaning and maintenance help to prevent the build-up of dirt and grime, keeping your gear hygienic and safe to use.
Not every diver plans on selling their gear. But if you ever decide to sell yours, keeping your scuba equipment clean and maintained will help the overall resale value. This means you’ll be able to get the most money for your gear if you ever want to upgrade or stop diving.
Now that we’ve gone through why you should maintain your scuba gear, it’s time to dive into the specifics. Here are some tips you can follow when it comes to regular maintenance of your scuba diving gear:
After every dive, it’s important to rinse your gear with warm water – even if you dive in freshwater. There are several reasons why you must always rinse your gear after use, including:
- Corrosion: Whether diving in salt water, fresh water, or a pool – corrosive elements found in water can cause damage to your equipment over time. Saltwater can cause salt crystals to build up on your gear, which can cause corrosion and rust. Chlorine can also react with metal causing discoloration and potential damage.
- Additional damage: Salt and debris can damage your gear if not removed. Sand might seem like a tiny element, but it can easily get into crevices, potentially damaging regulators and tank valves. You can use a soft brush to reach tight spaces and remove any debris or sand.
- Hygiene: Diving gear can harbor bacteria, fungi, and other contaminants that can cause infections or skin irritations. You must rinse your gear to help remove any harmful bacteria. This will reduce the risk of infections and also keep your gear fresh and odor free.
Even if you think you did a great job rinsing your gear, it is always a good idea to re-rinse it a further time. This will ensure that all the salt, chlorine, and other corrosive elements are removed properly.
Once you have rinsed your gear, always completely dry it before packing away. Any moisture left behind can cause mildew and potentially damage the gear. While it may be difficult to dry your scuba gear between dives if you’re a dive instructor or vacationing on a liveaboard, you should always try to dry it to the best of your abilities.
You want to hang your gear in a dry and well-ventilated area – somewhere with a nice breeze would do perfectly! Never dry your scuba equipment in direct sunlight, which could fade the colors and damage some materials.
Scuba gear is designed for prolonged use, but that doesn’t mean you should be rough with it. Treat your gear with care and handle it gently when putting it on and taking it off. Avoid throwing your scuba equipment onto the sand – including your cylinder. Bumps, scratches, and dents can appear if you don’t handle your gear properly.
You should always check your equipment before every dive to ensure it is in good working condition. Check for any cracks or damages, and inspect the O-rings on your tank, regulator, and hoses. You also want to check any moving parts for dirt build-up. Never dive with gear that is damaged or worn out!
It’s always best to be prepared. A save-a-Dive kit is an essential item for any diver and can include spare parts, O-rings, lubricants, and tools that can help you fix any minor problems. You can either make your own or purchase a pre-made kit. This will ensure you have everything you need at the ready if something does break or malfunction.
When you’re not using your gear, it’s important to store it properly. All scuba diving gear should be stored in a cool, dry area away from sunlight and extreme temperatures. Always ensure your equipment is thoroughly clean before storing it, but never put away gear that is still wet.
Let’s look at how you can store each type of equipment properly:
To maintain the shape, hang wetsuits on a wide hanger or specialized wetsuit hanger. Avoid folding or rolling your exposure protection for long periods, if possible. This can cause creases and damage the material or zippers.
You want to store your regulators in a position that won’t cause strain on the hoses. Keeping your regulator as straight as possible, like on a shelf, will help prevent premature wear and tear.
Hang your BCD on a wide hanger with a little air left inside of it. This will stop the bladder walls from sticking together while in storage.
Keep your cylinders upright and secured to prevent them from falling or being knocked. If stored short term, they can be kept full of air. For long-term storage, which is more than 90 days, cylinders must be stored containing the amount of air as specified by the manufacturer. This amount can range but is often around 13 bar (200 psi).
Always keep your gas cylinders away from moisture and heat sources.
Never store your fins on the tips, as this can cause the material to warp. Fins are best stored flat, in a dark and dry area.
Masks and snorkels should be stored in a gear bag, preferably away from the sun. This will ensure that they keep their shape.
When storing your dive electronics, always ensure they are off and kept somewhere safe. Removing any batteries if stored for a prolonged period is a good idea to prevent corrosion.
Rechargeable batteries should also be charged to around 40% before storage.
It’s important to get your diving gear serviced regularly. A qualified technician should do this, and how often can vary depending on your gear type.
As your scuba equipment is critical to your safety, servicing it is vitally important. Unlike the above gear maintenance tips, you cannot professionally service your gear yourself. The next section will cover everything you need to know about scuba diving gear servicing!
Servicing involves a qualified technician carefully inspecting each aspect of your equipment, replacing worn or damaged parts, and correcting any faults. Depending on what is being serviced, the technician will:
- Check and regrease O-rings
- Look over your regulator for any problems
- Inspect hoses for any signs of wear or damage
- Check that your BCD is functioning correctly
- Ensure that your dive computer is calibrated
It’s essential to get your gear serviced regularly. Doing so will identify any potential issues with your equipment and prevent them from becoming a problem during a dive.
Whether you’re a regular diver or only scuba dive a few times a year, you must get your equipment serviced. How often you need your gear serviced can depend on the type of diving you do and your equipment.
You must check the manufacturer’s guidelines for servicing intervals – this is the best way to estimate when your gear should be serviced. Different manufacturers will have different advice, but as a rule of thumb:
- Regulators and BCDs should be serviced every 12 months or after 80-100 dives, whichever occurs first.
- Cylinders must be inspected every 2.5 years and hydrostatically tested every 5 years.
- Dive computers should be serviced every 2 years or after 200 dives, whichever occurs first.
Certain dive conditions can also affect when your equipment needs servicing. If you dive in cold water or overly salty water, then you should get your gear serviced more frequently.
You should also have equipment that has been stored for a long period serviced before you use it. If it hasn’t been stored correctly or hasn’t been serviced recently, there’s a chance it may not perform as expected.
If you notice any problems with your gear, you should get it serviced immediately. This includes any visible signs of corrosion or if your equipment is not functioning properly.
Getting your scuba gear serviced by a qualified technician is essential for maintaining your safety underwater. Finding a good, reputable dive shop you can rely on is essential. Look for one that is authorized by the manufacturer and has experience servicing the type of gear you have.
If you don’t have a local dive shop, you can send your scuba diving gear to a recommended maintenance and servicing center, such as the one from Scuba.com. Be sure to check the turnaround times and any associated costs before sending away your gear.
Now you know what you should do with your scuba equipment, including getting it serviced regularly, here are some things you should never do:
Exposure to direct sunlight can damage your gear. Sunlight can not only fade colors but also dry out and weaken rubber and plastic parts. Always store your equipment in a cool, dry place that is not exposed to direct sunlight.
Unless you are a trained technician, leave any dismantling of your scuba gear to a qualified professional. It’s easy to make mistakes and cause more damage to your gear if you do not have the right tools or training for the job.
It can be easy to forget this basic rule, especially when you’re in a rush, but it’s essential to rinse your gear after each dive. Failure to do so can result in corrosion or damage to your equipment.
Never use any harsh chemicals to clean your scuba gear. Not only can this damage your equipment, but you could also cause harm to aquatic life if any chemicals remain on your gear. You should use a specialized scuba gear detergent or gentle soap to clean your equipment.
When cleaning your regulator, don’t accidentally press the purge button! This can cause water to enter the inner workings of your regulator, which could lead to costly repairs.
Do not, under any circumstances, put your wet suit in the washing machine! Doing so can cause damage to the interior lining and ruin your wetsuit.
If your wetsuit needs a little more than a rinse, you can use a scuba gear cleaner specifically designed to be gentle on delicate materials. You should also never put your wetsuit in the dryer – the heat can cause some serious damage.
While regular servicing and maintenance of your scuba gear are essential, they won’t last forever. Knowing when to replace your equipment is vital to ensuring your safety in the water.
If any of your equipment is damaged or worn out, it’s important to replace it immediately. You should also replace any of your gear if you notice changes in performance or functionality, as this can be a sign of wear and tear.
Let’s take a look at when you should consider replacing certain items of scuba gear:
- Wetsuit: You can repair small tears with a wetsuit patch and glue, and a professional can fix larger rips. However, if you have a suit that’s more than five years old, doesn’t fit properly, or isn’t insulating the same – it’s probably time to replace it.
- Dry suit: If it is no longer waterproof or has any tears or rips, it’s time to fix or replace it.
- BCD: Obvious signs of wear or repeat air leaks indicate that your BCD should be replaced.
- Regulator: Any signs of leakage, usage difficulty, or malfunction should be checked by a qualified technician, as it may be necessary to replace the regulator.
- Mask: If your dive mask lens is damaged, fogging up more frequently, or the seal isn’t as secure, you should replace it or the damaged part.
Sometimes, you may just want to replace a piece of equipment because it no longer meets your needs. If this is the case, take some time to research the latest technology and find a product that fits your requirements. Investing in quality scuba gear is one of the best ways to ensure a safe and enjoyable dive experience.
Maintenance of your scuba diving gear is a critical part of staying safe and having fun while underwater. Whether you’re an experienced diver or a beginner, regular cleaning and servicing of your equipment are essential. You should also be aware of when to have an item serviced or when you need to replace it if necessary.
If you take the time to look after your gear, it will last for many years and enable you to enjoy your diving time with peace of mind. So take some time to look after your scuba diving gear – and you’ll be rewarded with many happy dives!