You probably think that diving is expensive because of the scuba kit maintenance and the purchase of the scuba gear itself. When you are new to diving, you will probably rent your dive kit first, perhaps you purchase just your mask, fins and booties. Your wetsuit may be the next purchase.
These items are the most personal of a diver’s purchase and can also be used for snorkeling (a good way to stay in shape between dives.)
The initial upfront cost of owning your scuba kit are expensive, and you just might continue renting the gear you need. But, as you dive more frequently, you will reach a point where it is more expensive to rent dive gear than if you had purchased your scuba kit early on. Also, most divers are more comfortable diving in a set up that is the same. A rental facility may not have the same gear.
While your scuba kit is a big purchase, with proper maintenance it will last a long time
I have been diving for eighteen years and bought my first dive kit after diving about three months. I bought my dive computer about three months later. I am still using the dive computer and the majority of my kit still.
I am replacing the dive computer soon, but only because it does not have a computer interface. Before we get into the maintenance tips, I do have a few suggestions on buying your kit.
Online purchases can save you on your total cost.
Before you buy online, ensure that you can get the equipment serviced locally. This is especially true for regulators, as they need periodical maintenance that you should not perform. While looking at the price difference between online and your local dive shop, consider the value of developing a relationship with your local dive center.
When buying locally, try to negotiate a maintenance class for all of your kit. I know some divers who sat in on a PADI equipment class without cost. They did not get the C-card, but they got the knowledge. If you cannot get a formal class, maybe just a few hours of hands-on experience.
This article is written for divers who own their dive kit or for those divers who want to learn how they should take care and maintenance their scuba gear like a pro in mind.
So many divers so many opinions and habits. When you have any suggestions or way of doing things, please feel free to share and post your tips at the bottom of this article in the comment section.
Let’s explore some general concepts on scuba kit maintenance
Your regulators require maintenance by a certified technician. Until the last few years that service interval would be yearly, however, more recently some manufacturers are recommending service every two years on their new models. The care you give them between dives can greatly extent their life as well as keeping the maintenance cost down.
After dive cleaning and maintenance is simple and only takes a few minutes of effort. The manufacture recommendations generally suggest that you soak your regulator in fresh water for 15 minutes while still pressurized.
This is not very practical in most cases, as it means soaking the regulator while still attached to the cylinder.
Be sure you know what the manufacturer of your regulator suggests, some suggest not to soak the first stage.
When you remove the first stage from the cylinder, make sure the dust cap is clean and wiped dry with a cloth. Us old timers were taught to blow air around the dust cover and first stage opening to dry them. This will cause water to be blown into the first stage, so it is better not to do.
Return the dust cap on the first stage and soak it in clean, fresh water for 15 minutes. If you have hose protectors, slide them back so the area under them can be soaked. While waiting, you can clean your other gear and grab a drink. After the soak, rinse with running water.
Examine the connectors for signs of corrosion or damage.
If you see any corrosion, try to remove it. Carefully examine each hose looking for cuts and nicks. Also, run your fingers along them feeling for weak spots. Check your gauges for cracks and that the connector is tight.
Examine your second stage and your octopus to insure there is no damage and they are clean. Wiping the mouth piece with a non-alcohol anti-bacterial wipe can help keep you healthy for your next dive. Hang the regulator assembly up to dry away from direct sunlight.
How to clean BCD after a dive?
Your Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) also deserves a good soak, to break up any salt deposits. Many divers forget that the interior of the BCD needs to be cleaned as well. As you inflate and deflate your BCD underwater small amounts of water enter it. When this water evaporates, it leaves behind salt crystals that over time can damaged the air bladder by creating pin prick holes.
To prevent this, Add a little water to the BCD using the oral inflator. You only need a little. Then shake the water around and drain. Repeat the process. Some recommend you taste the water for salt.
If your over pressure valve (OPV) allows easy removal, remove the valve and clean the parts then reassemble. While you are cleaning the inside, allow water to flow through each of your release valves. The last time add a little more water, add some air to it and place the inflator hose at the lowest point.
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