So obviously the focus of scuba diving is the time spent underwater and from there, peoples focus usually drifts to scuba locations.
This is totally understandable since scuba destinations are often idyllic but caring for and maintaining your gear is an important piece to the overall scuba lifestyle, if you own gear that is.
On some dives you won’t need to even think about maintenance and cleaning, since you can’t always bring your gear with you on dives on the other side of the planet.
For the times you dive locally or choose to bring your gear with, here are some tips and tricks we’ve gathered over the years.
The First Step
Rinse, rinse rinse. If you only do one thing... this should be the one. A soak, dunk or spray (whatever method is easiest for you) in freshwater after a dive is essential. Salt water ages gear fast and will seize up zippers and clasps as well as fade exposed fabrics. If you dive in freshwater, rinsing isn’t a bad idea since it removes sand, algae, muck or anything else you picked up during the dive.
Now there are multiple ways in which to go about the rinsing process and a lot depends on your available space and what you have at hand. My favorite, and one most professional dive companies follow, is a 3 tank / bucket rinse system and a drying rack. The 3 tanks consist of bleach, soap and water, and after the equipment is either hung up or laid out on drying racks in the sun. First tank consists of bleach and water, I’ve seen a tablespoon of bleach every gallon of water used for the ratio and letting it sit and soak for a minute is ideal for complete sterilization. The second tank holds soap and water, a little squirt of soap is all you need for a gallon of water and adjust accordingly. The third is just water and is for washing off any left over bleach / soap left over from the previous containers. For the three holding containers I like 5 gallon buckets or plastic bins (if your find an alternative, awesome).
Another easy way is put your gear on clothes hangers, hang them on a fence or post and spray them down with your garden house. A method that I’ve done before when I’ve had little space is install one of those easy twist shower curtain poles, make sure it’s real secure, and rinse / hang my gear in the shower. After rinsing off your gear, it’s quite important to make sure everything is dry before storing...this helps prevent mold and rank smell. Pro tip : Those containers mentioned above are also excellent storage.
Another golden rule, which applies to most things, is to keep it in the shade...out of the sun and other elements. So that’s easy enough, don’t leave it at the beach baking in the sun for days or in your backyard to get rained on.
Now for a break down of care for each individual piece of your scuba equipment. Let’s begin with the largest piece, the BCD. Just in case you’re new to scuba, a BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) is the “scuba jacket” you wear that has (LIST what item a BCD has) and is the backbone of a divers setup. In addition to cleaning with fresh water, wiping down the mouth pieces of your secondary demand regulator (octopus) and regulator with vinegar or light rubbing alcohol (lemon water works great too) is suggested to keep the mouthpieces sterile. Also, occasionally loosening all of the straps on the jacket keep them supple and responsive.
The difference between a mask that is thrown around carelessly and one that the owner focused on upkeep and protection is massive. Masks scratch easily, both inside and out, so having a case or sleeve is a game changer. I like using a water tight case since it floats and there is nothing worse than losing your mask to the depths of the sea minutes before a dive. In terms of the order of putting on gear before a dive, the mask is one of the last pieces of gear one usually grabs since it just gets in way if it’s dangling around the neck or resting on the head. So keeping it stored away and safe until the last minute only makes sense in both ease of donning the rest of the scuba ensemble and protecting them from harm. A tip totally unrelated too : To help keep your mask from fogging up spit in the interior lenses and wipe the entire glass surface. Make sure to wash out the spit before putting them back on your head though.
Next, your fins, snorkel, dive computer, submersible pressure gauge, compass and depth gauge. Simple...rinse with water, store dry and out of sunlight.
The whole experience from selecting your gear, diving with it and occasional maintenance / cleaning truly enriches scuba diving. It takes the experience, which if you’re renting gear is one akin to donning clothes before going outside and discarding them an hour later, and gives it a personal touch. Caring for your gear will not only increase its life but it also provides a deeper understanding of the equipment and how it functions. It also ensures you aren’t putting a regulator that has been slobbered on by hundreds of other humans too which is not a bad thing. In actuality though, every dive outfit I’ve seen takes great care in disinfecting their rental gear after each use so it’s not to worry if you don’t have a regulator yet!
Beyond Scuba Maintenance
Storing your scuba gear is only one small part of the scuba experience and while it is important that is so much more to look into. Scuba diving can be a lens into a larger world, it opens up the oceans to our eyes and allows us not only to see beauty and fantastic sights underwater but also can open our perspective to what a wonderful world we live in.
Make sure to also check out our main page for all of our top scuba gear reviews!