With the recent government announcements and inland dive sites opening up at the end of March, the diving community will soon return to the sport we love! Perhaps it’s been a while since you have dived because of work commitments or kids and you want to be that cooler version of yourself again! See our top tips below for getting back in the water in the safest and most fulfilling ways possible!
- Dust down your gear and get it serviced
Perhaps you have you had a few too many lockdown pies and what is that smell coming from the spare room?? Is it possible that you may not have washed your dry suit socks after your last dive? In which case, take out your kit and check it is still dive-worthy and fits.
O-rings don’t last forever, some batteries need charging regularly, zips seize up and springs and small parts need lube. Have one less Netflix binge this weekend and stroke your dive kit back to health!
- If packed incorrectly, drysuit seals can stick together and tear. Check they are still in good nick and wax your zip. Try your suit on! You may find the cake fairies have shrunk it in your absence….
- BCD inflators and dump valves can become sticky if they retain salt crystals or silt, which can lead to runaway ascents and descents. Fully inflate your BCD or wing to check it retains air and that the inflator button is functional.
- Send your regulator for service. This should be done at least once a year and more frequently if in heavy use. At Mike’s we have an in-house servicing team and equipment can be dropped off to our London store or our warehouse in Basingstoke. We can also arrange for a courier collection or drop off.
- Check the battery life on your computer. We can also change these in store, same day service if required.
- Check that your cylinder is in date. Periodic visual inspections are required every 2.5 years and hydrostatic tests every 5 years. Mike’s Dive Store also offers air and Nitrox fills up to 300bar with parking right out the front of the store.
- ReActivate or refresh your skills
The PADI ReActivate Scuba Refresher Program is for divers who have been out of the water for several months to get refreshed. This program is the perfect way to update your dive knowledge and review basic scuba skills. If you don’t feel you need such an in-depth program or you are a BSAC member, contact your local dive club. They can help you refamiliarize yourself with your dive gear and practice your buoyancy in a pool. Alternatively have a skill dive with your buddy in a non-challenging shallow environment.
- Book a UK dive trip
All UK diving is exciting, whether you want to dive with grey seals, pike or basking sharks. There are hundreds of dive sites right on your doorstep both inland and by the coast. Contact your local dive club to be part of the UK diving adventure all year round! Even if you don’t have any dive gear or previous experience in UK waters, these guys will help you to stay warm and dry, find your way around and discover underwater wonders like wrecks, marine life and interesting topography. There is so much on offer in our quarries, the sea and many lakes. No buddy? No problem! Joining a dive club is the perfect way to meet one. If you've never dived in the UK before then stay tuned for a series of blogs and articles all about how to get started!
- Sign up for a Continuing Education course
Being in lockdown has given many of us the opportunity to discover new hobbies or learn new skills, be it a language, bird watching or jigsaw puzzles! There are divers who have hundreds of dives and have never gone past an entry level qualification. Perhaps now is the time to expand your diving repertoire and take the next step in the diving adventure - that might be an Advanced course or a specialty like Nitrox or Fish ID. Continuing education courses open up so many more options underwater such as going deeper, improving air consumption or appreciating the historical relevance of local wrecks. See our list of e-learning options to get you prepared for them.
- Book a holiday
The travel industry has been on its knees during the pandemic. Support it and give yourself something to look forward to when lockdown is over. A change of environment also develops you as a diver, introducing you to new sites, marine life and experiences. If you are a single traveller contact a diving tour operator who can recommend resorts with reasonably priced single supplements or book a liveaboard (where you can keep costs down by sharing a cabin). Liveaboards are also a great way to meet new people and ensure you won’t be Billy No Mates at meal times! Many tour operators have group trips that you can join as well.
- Buy some new dive gear!
This has been a tough 12 months and you have done well to get through it relatively unscathed! You deserve a treat. In fact even if you didn’t get through it unscathed, you deserve a consolation prize! Why are you still allowing yourself to dive with that broken BCD pocket, a faded SMB or with a cable tie doubling up as a zipper? If EVER there was a time to upgrade that dive computer, buy your Joe Wicks lockdown bod a smaller wetsuit or throw out those stinky dry suit socks, NOW is that time. The staff at Mike’s Dive Store would love to hear from you. Contact us by email, online chat, call us or set up a video consultation for advice. Our staff are all keen divers and super knowledgeable about the equipment we sell. That is why Mike’s is the UK’s Number 1 dive store. We can’t wait to hear from you!