Manta Divers March 2008-- Gear Maintenance
It’s that time again. Grass is starting to poke through the snow, spring break is upon us, and the dive shop is deluged with regulators and BC’s to be serviced. It is amazing that some regulators come in with 100+ dives on them and the inside is pristine, while regulators from some infrequent divers are in terrible shape. The difference between these regulators is how they were cared for day to day.
As divers, we all love water, but it is your enemy when it comes to your first stage. Everyone who owns a regulator should know never to rinse the first stage without the dust cap secured in place. This picture shows what can happen when this simple rule is not followed. Salt water and contaminants have corroded the filter and yoke retainer. Notice the pretty green color on the filter. Although your regulator will function, if this deterioration of the filter continues, eventually some contaminants will make it through and reach your second stage, and then your lungs. Your lungs will heal, but the damage to your second stage could be permanent. You can see in the next picture how, as a result of water being blown through the first stage, corrosion is building up inside the hose and second stage inlet tube, not to mention crud building up on exterior parts.
Your regulator second stage should be rinsed with a gentle stream of fresh water after every use, but I have to wonder if the regulator pictured here was ever rinsed. It is unbelievable how many regulators have this much sand inside of them. Sand holds moisture and will hasten the breakdown of your regulator’s interior parts. Sand also is abrasive and will cause unnecessary wear. This regulator had so much corrosion that it took several days of soaking to get it disassembled. There was so much damage, that it was dangerously close to a total loss. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am more than happy to sell you a brand new regulator, but as with most quality products, with tender loving care, they will serve you for a long, long time.
So, how do you manage to keep your gear in tip top shape? It’s really quite simple! Take the time to care for your gear after every day of diving. If you took open water class here at Manta Divers, you know that even after pool dives, we thoroughly rinse the gear. (Chlorine can be devastating to gear.) After diving, especially if you know you were a little off on your buoyancy and may have bounced off the bottom a few times, give your regulator second stage a lengthy bath with fresh water to get all the sand out. As mentioned above, the dust cover should be in place before rinsing the first stage. One hint is to make sure there is now moisture on the dust cover before placing it on the first stage. Give it a quick wipe with a dry, sand free towel, or blow a little air from your tank across the cover to dry it.
BC’s, wet suits, booties and other gear should also be rinsed. Wetsuits should be periodically shampooed with a product formulated for neoprene. After a long vacation, we usually soak everything in water over night to get the salt out of it. We shampoo it, if needed, rinse and then finish with Mirazyme or Sink the Stink to make sure that all “funk” producing stuff is neutralized. BC’s should be rinsed on the inside as well. There are many fine products to help increase the life of your BC’s bladder and get rid of salt or critters that you don’t want to transport from one lake to another. Just add the cleaner to the inside of the BC through the inflator mouthpiece (Do not do this if you have an Air Source or other alternate air source regulator incorporated into your inflator.) then run fresh water into the BC, inflate and mix. Once the cleaner has been thoroughly sloshed around the inside, drain it out and rinse with fresh water. Drain all water out of the BC, inflate slightly and store on a BC hanger. Remember that dive gear should never be dried in the sun.
Last but certainly not least, have your gear serviced regularly. Aqualung feels so strongly about the importance of regular gear maintenance that they will provide parts free of charge as long as you keep up with the recommended maintenance schedule. Regular gear maintenance will not only save you money in the long run, but it will also give you the piece of mind that your gear will not fail you when you’re at 90ft!
In Other News……..
Don’t forget that Rescue Diver class is scheduled to start April 21. This is a demanding but fun class for the avid diver that is ready to go to the next level.
The next open water class starts April1. Students joining this class would finish classroom and pool in time to join us in Mexico and complete their open water dives in warm water. In case you missed it, a small group is bouncing down to Cancun April 17 – 20 to do open water certification (and for fun) dives.
Stop in and check out the Clearance BC’s, computers and wet suits.
This just in: Rash Guards. Rated an amazing SPF 50, these long sleeved tops are perfect for snorkelers to protect against sun and for divers who want to make it a bit easier to slip on their wetsuits.
AFX 8mm Wetsuit This brand new wetsuit is perfect for the local dive enthusiast who doesn't want to pop the cash for a drysuit. This suit has gaskets to restrict water flow, an attached vented hood and pre-bent legs for added comfort. Come in and try one on!
Just a reminder: We will be closed from March 22 to March 29 for our trip to Grand Turk. Please plan ahead if you need gear or gear maintenance.