Drew Beattie

How to Maintain Your Dive Gear

So You've Just Bought Your Brand New Dive Setup....

Whenever someone starts accumulating more dive gear they (hopefully) ask about how to properly take care of it. You’ve spent a lot of money on your equipment, and the way you take care of it will decide how long it lasts for!

The rules are pretty straight forward but there are some nuances for each piece of equipment that you will want to be aware of.

Let's Get Personal!

Let’s start with the basics…. Personal Gear: Mask, Snorkel, Fins, Wetsuit…

The things that you definitely want to be the only one using. They are relatively simple to take care of but don’t neglect them!

Mask and Snorkel

If you forget to rinse your mask and snorkel and then put in a box or bag for a couple weeks (or months) between dives, you are in for a surprise. That thing is going to mold like nobody’s business.

As trivial as it seems just give them some love and a good fresh water bath whenever you’re done using them for the day. Be sure to dry them out thoroughly before storing them! You’ll also want to avoid leaving them sitting out in the direct sunlight, the sun tends to cause fading and yellowing of the silicone skirt.

How To Maintain Your Dive Gear

Product Recommendation

Mcnett makes a product called Sea Buff, which works really well to help condition new masks, and restore old ones. If you notice your mask is looking a bit grungy, give this product a try!

Wetsuits and Neoprene Accessories

Wetsuits and neoprene accessories can be a pain because they take so long to dry, but it’s worth it. There’s only one thing worse than putting on a wet wetsuit and that’s putting on a smelly wetsuit because you didn’t take 30 seconds to rinse it off. After a trip, we recommend giving it a thorough wash using a Wetsuit Shampoo. This goes for all neoprene, whether it is a wetsuit, boots, gloves, or hood.  If you notice your gear has a bit of a smell, you can use an odor eliminator such as “Sink the Stink” to help get rid of it

Once you’ve rinsed everything, it’s best to hang it to dry. When storing it long term, you can hang them on a Heavy Duty Hanger (for wetsuits, if the hanger is too thin, it may start digging into the shoulders of the material, and damage your suit). You may also choose to store it folded (just be sure to fold it loosely, it it’s folded tightly for long periods of times you may have some creases that form).

Products We Recommend...

How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Wetsuit Hanger
How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Sink The Stink
How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Mcnett Wetsuit Shampoo

Lights, Camera... Action!

Take really good care of all your underwater electronics. Anyone can tell you, electricity and salt water don’t mix! This Means:

How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Dive Lights
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Dive Computers
How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Underwater Cameras

For how much space they usually take up, these items are the most expensive out of the lot, so why put yourself in a position of having to replace them sooner than needed? Anything with electronics are going to need a good seal to keep working, so if you don’t rinse them really well, and lubricate those o-rings often, you are going to be spending a lot of money.

Salt crystals will eat away at seals and will jam up buttons and moving parts. A quick rinse doesn’t usually do the trick for these ones; you will want a tub or bucket of water to set them in so it can soak and really dissolve all the salt that’s in there. With the buttons and switches you will find yourself thinking that you rinsed it reasonably well under a hose so it should be fine! It’s not. Let them dry and then try pushing some buttons. You are going to have little crystals of salt flaking off as things start to move around. If you’ve given it all a good rinse, next is to make sure all the sealing o-rings are in good shape and not dried out. A good Silicone Lubricant is always a good bet to put on the o-rings after you’ve given them a wipe to make sure they are going to keep your expensive electronics dry and working dive after dive. (Be sure to follow your camera manufacturer’s recommendations on silicone lubricant, the wrong kind can damage your o-ring and cause catastrophic failure underwater).

Products We Recommend...

How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Mcnett Silicone Grease

Regulators

Regulators require a little more responsibility, not only in properly cleaning your gear, but also making sure your regulators are properly serviced by your local dive shop according to manufacturers recommendations.
 
If you have your own regs or if you’re thinking of buying your own you should already know that most manufacturers recommend that you get your regs serviced once every two years or 100 dives(whichever comes first). Brands and models do vary, so ask about your exact one, but that is a good standard timeline. This means that every now and then you will need to bring it to your local dive shop to get completely taken apart, cleaned, and put back together with all new o-rings, seals, and lubricant.
How To Maintain Your Dive Gear

Think of it as a more technical oil change; you are doing it to prevent an issue happening out at the dive site or worse, on the dive. Just because you have scheduled servicing doesn’t mean you can forget all about taking care of your regs! An annual servicing cannot reverse months or years of poor care and cleaning! Remember salt and metal aren’t a good combination if you’re looking to keep things clean, new, and working.

As soon as salt crystals form they are going to start corroding and eating away at the nice new chrome-plated brass regs you were just bought. Let that happen too long or too often and you’re looking at a much higher bill when you bring them in for a service because more parts or going to have to be replaced and ordered because there was simply too much corrosion to be usable.

Just like all of your other dive equipment, you want to give them a nice long rinse in freshwater after diving to get as much of that salt off as possible. The tricky part about your regs though, is that unless you have them pressurized on a tank you are risking getting water inside which is going to start corroding metal and dissolving lubricant which can be really bad.

So how do you solve that? Rinse the first and second stage separately, always keep the first stage dust cap on and sealed, and never press the purge button when the second stage is underwater without air.

BCD's

BCD’s are relatively easy to care for and maintain, but there are a few things to remember. Aside from the rinse and dry on the outside, you don’t want to neglect the inside either

How To Maintain Your Dive Gear

BCD’s are going to get water inside the bladder when you’re using it for buoyancy, we all saw this during the very first course we took.

To drain the water out, you’ll want to press the deflate button and hold the bcd up, with the inflator facing down (so the water will drain out). You’ll also want to be sure to rinse the inside thoroughly so you don’t have any salt crystals building up inside.

The easiest way to rinse the inside of the BCD, is to hold the deflate button and use a hose or tap to put water in through the opening. You can then orally inflate your bcd, and give it a good shake to make sure you rinse the entire bcd. Then when you’re done, just make sure to drain all of the water out.

Another trick if you are going to be storing your BCD away for a bit is to unscrew one or both of the dump valves and stick the hose right in there and give it a good flush before putting it away, as well as rinsing the inflator really well. You want to make sure you press the buttons down a few times while rinsing to get the salt out. I have had salt build up under a deflate button so the bcd stopped holding air!

Products We Recommend...

How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Wetsuit Hanger
How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Mcnett BC Cleaner

Drysuits

It is usually not necessary to rinse the inside of your drysuit, but it is possible you might have some moisture build up (from sweat or maybe you had a leak). If this does happen, you’ll want to be sure to turn it inside out so you can air it out! If you have a suit with built in boots, sometimes this can be difficult, but there are also special hangers that have a built in fan to circulate air in your suit.

 

How To Maintain Your Dive Gear

If you have a drysuit with latex seals, proper care is crucial! There is nothing worse than having a seal blow out right before a dive. Though it can be unpreventable at times, there are things you can do to minimize the likelihood of that happening. It’s a really good idea to clean the seals with soapy water whenever you can, as well as apply talcum powder before and after every dive. Not only will this make them more comfortable but it makes the latex last longer. Our natural skin oils or any products (sunscreen) that is on your skin will quickly degrade your seals and you’ll be doing more replacements than necessary.

The most expensive part (and critical component) of your drysuit is the zipper. A well maintained zipper is what makes the difference between a dry dive and a not so dry dive! It’s important to keep your zipper well lubricated, this makes the zipper slide a lot easier and will make it less likely to get stuck and damage the zipper tooth or slider. The use of zipper wax overtime can cause build up in the teeth, and cause leaks. It’s a good idea to use a soft bristled toothbrush and give your zipper a good cleaning every now and then.

The original drysuit zippers were made of metal, and though many manufacturers are still using metal, most have switched to a plastic zipper. We’ll save the pros and cons for another article, but it’s important to follow your drysuit manufacturers recommendation for lubricating your drysuit zipper. Using the wrong kind can damage your zipper and cause your suit to leak.

Products We Recommend...

How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Mcnett Zip Tech
How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
Mcnett UV Tech (For Latex Seals)
How To Maintain Your Dive Gear
UK Hangair (Built in Fan)

Your Gear Will Thank You!

Most people don’t find rinsing and storing their gear meticulously the most enjoyable task, but it is essential to keeping your equipment lasting longer and making the dives you do more enjoyable and stress free. It won’t take too much out of your day and it will save you a world of headaches and a lot of money if you just do a few simple things to keep your stuff working properly.

 

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