Spring is coming, and for many, this signals the beginning of the scuba diving season. Follow our guide to see how to prep your gear for the season.
For most divers, the ones who haven’t taken to cold water diving, winter equals off-season. When spring rolls around, the official dive season starts again, and the dive gear is taken out of hibernation.
But having been stored for perhaps months can mean that you gear needs a bit of TLC before it’s ready to be taken to the water’s edge.
Storage of your dive gear
The first step is something you should have done already, to ensure that you’re storing your gear properly.
Always follow the instructions in your equipment’s manual or care guide.
General rules of thumb would be:
- All gear should be rinsed and dried thoroughly
- BCDs and wetsuits or drysuits be stored on appropriate hangers
- Regulator sets be stored loosely rolled up
- And along with all other gear be stored in a dry, well-ventilated place out of direct sunlight.
Also ensure you keep your gear away from any chemicals that may damage it, in particular if you’re storing it in your garage or basement.
Getting your dive gear ready
Once you’re ready to break out the scuba gear after the winter break, start with a visual inspection of all items. Are there any obvious frays, dents, or other signs of wear and tear that you didn’t pick up on during the dive season. Have these mended. If it’s just a bit of fraying, a pair of scissors and a heat source to seal them off may do it.
If it’s a sign of more serious damage, have it tended to by a qualified shop.
Check your BCD and suits
Check all zippers on BCD’s and drysuits or wetsuits. Check that they’re intact, and that they run smoothly. If they’re hard to zip, add either a professional grade lubricant, natural beeswax, or simply a bit of candle wax (rub the stub of a candle on the entire zipper) to make it run smoothly again.
And check for any holes or punctures in the material, for drysuits, in particular in the membranes around neck and wrist.
Check your regulator
Check your regulator set visually by pulling back on any hose protectors you may have, and ensure that all hoses are intact and haven’t started cracking at the points where they bend.
Check the rubber on the hoses for decay, they will feel very soft, and may even crumble a bit it you scrape a nail on them.
Look at your mouthpieces and the strips that connect them. Both should be intact, if not, change them for new ones.
If you have access to a full tank of air, attach the regulator set to this and take a few breaths and check that the breathing is easy, and that there are no unexpected sounds when you breathe in it.
A rasping sound can indicate a problem with membrane, which should be addressed by a trained technician.
Check all your “loose” parts
Check gloves and hoods for holes, frays, and general wear and tear. Check fin straps to ensure that they’re still robust and won’t suddenly tear. Check dive knives for rust and re-lubricate it with vaseline to protect it from further corrosion.
Check mask straps for wear, and consider rubbing the lens with toothpaste inside and out to remove any buildup. And finally, check dive lights for batteries and to ensure the bulb is still working.
Finally, consult your gear service log and see if any of your gear is ripe for a full-on service. You do have a service log for your gear, right?
If you find any problems with your gear that cannot be readily fixed, such as replacing a mask strap, turn it in at an authorized shop.
Do a check-out dive
Finally, take your dive gear for an easy dive at a well-known site, to ensure that everything works in real life.
This is also a good chance to test the most important element in your equipment configuration: You. Most dive accidents can be traced back to the human elements, with bad decisions, panic, and error in judgment being the main reasons dives turn bad.
So check that your dive skills are still up to spec, and if you feel a bit rustier than you like, ally yourself with a good, qualified instructor or divemaster and do a tune-up dive or two before taking your dive adventures to the deep water.
Going through your gear like this at the beginning of each dive season, or any time you’ve been away from diving for an extended period will greatly enhance your dive safety and enjoyment.
Have you done your dive gear check?
Did you already get ready for the coming dive season? If you have any additional tips for getting dive gear ready, then drop a comment below. Your fellow diver always needs an extra tip!
If you have any questions getting your gear ready, you are more than welcome to ask us, and we’ll do our best to answer. Leave your question below.