With the days getting longer and weather getting warmer it's time to start thinking about getting all your diving kit out and giving it a once over, getting regulators serviced and dive computer batteries changed so that you are ready to go diving.
We have put together a checklist to help you get your kit ready. No one wants to get to the dive site and find their fin strap has perished and remembering they used your spare last year but forgot to replace it. We will start with the three biggest bits of kit and follow up with a list for the smaller items and accessories.
Please contact us if you have any questions about getting your dive equipment serviced or need any further assistance.
Regulators should be serviced annually (or according to the manufacturers recommendations) and that's not just a money making scheme. Parts within the first and second stages wear even when you aren't using them and they will eventually start to allow air to flow through causing that trickle of bubbles to escape.
We provide regulator servicing for the vast majority of brands in our store service department. If you aren't able to drop them off at the shop we also accept them via courier so if you don't live or work near the store you can send your regulators to us and we'll take care of the rest.
A service technician will carry out a thorough check of your regulators during the service but you should still do a quick visual check yourself to cover the normal problems areas.
- Hoses - Rubber hoses perish over time either from UV or contamination damage. If you have hose protectors fitted pull them back so you can inspect the entire hose. Look for de-lamination and cracks. Braided hoses like the Miflex Hoses offer far better UV protection and are a worthy upgrade.
- Mouthpieces - Check your mouthpieces to make sure they aren't perished or badly damaged.
- Cracks - Check your second stage and octopus for any cracks in the housing. They may be tough bits of kit but they are still prone to damage from a knock from another heavy piece of dive kit.
Your BCD is another piece of equipment that should be serviced annually. The inflator and pull dumps all have wear and tear parts that do vital jobs during a dive so they should be treated to the loving touch of a technician. Check out BCD Servicing.
There are also some simple checks your can do with your BCD:
- Visual Check - Check over the entire BCD to look for abrasion damage, little punctures or damage at any of the seams.
- Leak test - Following on from the first check, inflated the BCD to full capacity and leave it for an hour or so. Check that it has stayed fully inflated. If it hasn't you can use soapy water to try and find the air leak.
- Corrugated hose - The corrugated hose needs a good check to make sure it bends without cracks appearing that would indicate it has started to perish.
- Dump valves - Check all the pull dumps work correctly, move freely and that are pull cords are in good condition.
- Integrated weight systems - Give the weight pouches a good visual check then make sure they properly locking into place and release as they should do without getting stuck.
No one likes a wet drysuit so make sure you check yours out. We offer seal replacement, suit repairs, zip replacement and many other Drysuit Servicing options should you need them:
- Visual Check - Give the suit a good look over to check for any abrasion damage or potential problems.
- Seals - Check your seals are in good condition and aren't perished.
- Zip - Check the zip is in good condition and runs freely. Lubricate sparingly with either a synthetic lubricant like Zip Tech or a natural lubricant like Beeswax and distribute evenly by running the zip a few times if needed.
- Valves - Check the valves operate smoothly. Drysuit valves can be neglected which can lead to sticking valves and some easily avoidable injuries.
So they are the three most complicated pieces of equipment but we still carry a lot of other items so here is a helpful list of other items to check:
- Dive Computer - Most dive computers have a battery status indicator on them but it may not give a true reading until you jump into cold water so if in doubt get it replaced. We have both Battery Replacement services and battery kits available. Don't forget to check the condition of the strap as well, you don't want it falling off during the dive
- Mask - Check the condition of the skirt and strap. Modern silicone is very durable but can be cut easily so check for tears that could affect the seal integrity.
- Snorkel - A little used piece of equipment for divers but handy for long surface swims. Check any silicone elements like the flexible elbow and the mouthpiece for damage. If it has a purge valve check that it is in good condition and is clear of any foreign material (sand, grit, etc)
- Gloves, Boots, Hood - Check the condition of seams, zips and stitching as well as look for punctures and damage in the neoprene.
- Fins - Obviously check the condition of the straps and buckles for wear but give the fins a good visual check as well. Give them a good flex to check the blade.
- Knives - Check the condition of the blade, sheath, lock and straps. Most straps are made of rubber and will eventually perish regardless of how well you look after them.
- Torches - Clean and lightly grease any compartment o-rings to ensure they seal properly, check the physical condition of the batteries for damage or leakage and replace if damaged. If the torch has a rechargeable battery give it a full charge and check to make ensure it holds a charge properly.
- Cylinders - Check your test stamp / sticker and get them tested if required.
- Belts and weights - Check the condition of your weight belt, the clamping mechanism and the weights to ensure they are all secure. We wouldn't want them going anywhere unexpectedly.
- Reels - Pay out all the line, check the mechanical condition of the reel and then slowly reel the line back in under a little resistance being sure to check the line for any damage as you go.
- Surface Marker Buoys - Unroll your SMB or delayed SMB and give it a check over at the seams and any securing loops or fastenings. If you can inflate it do so to ensure it stays inflated correctly.
- Wetsuits - Look for any abrasion damage to the neoprene that will need to be repaired and check that any zips move smoothly.
Time to check your spares box. If you don't have a spares box yet look at your equipment and think what are the most likely components to fail just at the wrong time. Ready made generic Spares Kits like the Beaver Save A Dive Kit are also available for convenience. Typical things to include are:
- Mask Strap
- Fin Strap with buckles (or spring strap)
- Silicone grease
- O-rings of various sizes
- A handy Multi-tool
- If you have silicone seals fitted to your drysuit then a neck and wrist seal
- Zip lubricant
This is by no means an exhaustive list so make sure you inspect every piece of equipment before you jump in for your first dive of the year.