Vacation is finally here! And you’ve bought all that expensive gear to max out your underwater adventures, the Cressi scuba mask, the O’ Neil wet suit, the Aqua Lung BCD. Oh yeah you’ve spent a tonne on getting the best stuff out there and I definitely know the pain of damaging equipment, and while most people will tell you how to care for your scuba gear, I’m here to tell you what you absolutely positively MUST NOT DO with your scuba gear.
DO NOT leave your equipment baking in the sun.
Here’s the thing about the sun; it’s bad! If your gear sits in the sun between dives on the boat that’s ok but leaving your gear in the sun for hours at a time will dry out every bit of it and shorten the life of them. The silicone on your mask will eventually dry out and become brittle, the air in the tank expands and increases the pressure on the walls of the cylinder, the material on your BCD will also become brittle and the color fades, your wetsuit will dry out and lose some of its elasticity.
DO NOT leave your gear in the sand.
The beach is wonderful but the sand in your equipment is NOT. Sand can clog your regulators, and get in the bladder of your BCD and on the inside of your wetsuit. Regulators are already an expensive piece of equipment and it’s just as costly to have them repaired if they are filled with sand, providing they can be repaired. BCD’s seem rugged and some are but sand will destroy your BCD, it can also add additional weight while on a dive and nobody wants to lug around extra weight, right? Needless to say, sand getting in your wetsuit is super uncomfortable. Sand is fun for sand castles but it is absolutely detrimental to Dive Gear. Avoid it like the plague.
DO NOT leave your gear in your dive bag.
SCUBA Gear is expensive. There is no denying that, so make sure you take the time to secure it and store it properly. Your regulator should be hung away from things it could get snagged on or it should be coiled to avoid kinking in the hoses. If you have a regulator bag, it’s also a good place to store it. Ensure it is not beneath anything heavy that can squeeze the hoses. You should only store your gear after it has been properly cleaned and thoroughly dried.
DO NOT store your gear without first cleaning it.
Seawater and chlorine will absolutely kill your gear. The salt and sand from the seawater calcify and eventually seize all the moving parts of your equipment rendering it useless, eventually, the metal parts will rust and seize. If you’ve been pool diving, the chlorine bleaches your equipment and the combination of chemicals in the pool water speeds up the breakdown of your equipment. It is imperative that you thoroughly wash ALL your gear in fresh water and let them dry completely before storing them.
Leaving them damp with only encourage the growth of mold in and on your gear. Yuck!
DO NOT be a flailing flounder.
I cannot stress enough how important this is! Buoyancy Control: This will inevitably save your gear and the environment. Too many times I’ve seen divers bump into the reef and get snagged on a piece of coral, tearing their equipment and simultaneously destroying the reef. Getting better buoyancy control helps everyone. It ensures you don’t destroy the reef, injure yourself, destroy your equipment or ruin the dive for everyone by stirring up silt and sand. Trust me, people will be angry. Don’t be that guy (or girl)!
DO NOT let it all hang out.
Secure your gear. A depth gauge hanging here, an SMB swinging there, random bits of equipment you probably won’t ever need or don’t even know how to use, just strewn about your BCD in a chaotic mess. Ok, so it’s cool to have some neat little devices on your BCD but in most cases, less is more. Minimize what you carry with you to prevent loss of items and having to carry all that extra weight and especially to ensure you don’t have things dangling everywhere. The more you have hung on you, the more likely you’ll be to damage the equipment or the dive site. Recreational divers need basic equipment: mask, fins, weights, BCD, a compass, a couple of emergency signaling devices (a whistle and SMB or even a mirror) and maybe a shaker or rattle to get the attention of your dive buddies underwater. Anything else is extra and should not be dangling about your equipment, EVER!
DO NOT leave your gear on the ground.
This is the easiest way for an accident to happen. Whether or not you are on the dive boat or in the dive center, always be certain to secure the most fragile parts of your equipment; your mask, regulator, compass, dive computer. These can easily be stepped on and broken and as I’ve mentioned before, dive gear can be quite expensive. Lie tanks down with your gear folded in the center of it as far away from pedestrian traffic as possible or keep the fragile parts in your backpack or gear bag next to your equipment until you are ready to use them, If you’re on a dive boat, secure your equipment to the dive racks provided. No need to ruin a perfectly good dive trip with broken or damaged gear.
I believe if you follow these tips your scuba gear should live long happy lives 🙂