Got a bit of extra time on your hands because of social distancing? Been putting off your post-dive Kit Care or simply never done it before. Then why not take advantage of that time and get all your kit out for a little MOT.
Here are a few hints and tips to help guide you through the process.
Dive Kit Care. Those Neoprene items
You know, those items that tend to get a bit honky when left lying around (we won’t get into why), wetsuits, boots, gloves and hoods.
We appreciate that they take a little longer to clean but you will certainly appreciate it after. Especially if you store them in the house…
- Wash them with fresh water making sure the outer fabric of the suit soaks in the water and use one of the dedicated cleaners available to break down those bacteria’s and give a better fragrance to them. Best to steer clear of household cleaners as they may not be safe on some of the materials used on your kit.
- Rinse again after shampooing with fresh water.
- Hang to dry, making sure it’s completely dry before putting away will prevent mould.
- Before storing, this is a great opportunity to do a visual once over to see if any cracks, or holes etc. have formed.
- Make sure the hanger for storage has wide shoulders or a dedicated wetsuit hanger to reduce weakening the neoprene on the shoulders, and always reduce folding your suit and other items for long periods of time.
Dive Kit Care. Those Silicone, Rubber and Plastic items
Always prone to damage from the elements, salt and sunlight can be a nasty mix for your fins, masks computers etc.
- Rinse with warm fresh water if you can, warm water is much better at dissolving salts. An old toothbrush for some of those hard to reach areas or between gaps to make sure you dislodge everything.
- Make sure you dry them well and out of direct sunlight.
- Storing items like this is best done somewhere where they can keep their shape, otherwise, you may end up with something that doesn’t fit too well anymore.
- Have a quick check of silicone and rubber items too for cracks or splitting.
- Make sure with your computer that you press the buttons a few times to dislodge any built-up salts etc. under the buttons and remove any removable screen protectors when washing so not to have anything left behind.
- Don’t forget to keep an eye on the battery life on your computer before storing, that may also need a change.
Dive Kit Care. Those Breathing Items
Regulators, those all-important bits of kit that hate not being clean, and when they are not they will definitely tell you.
- Make sure that dust cap is on, nice and tight and during washing don’t press the purges. Both of these could let some unwanted water in.
- Preferably soaking them in warm fresh water is best and keep the first stage above the waterline.
- Pull back the hose protectors too, these are naughty culprits for keeping grit and salt in place.
- Rinse them thoroughly in fresh water after a soak, flushing inside the mouthpieces makes sure any nasties are forced out.
- Check the hoses over for any cracks, bulges or cuts etc. and of course any visible O-rings
- Hang to drip dry giving them a good shake a few times through the drying process to make sure you get as much water out as you can.
- Also, don’t forget to check over your mouthpiece to see if it’s in good shape and nice and secure.
- If in doubt they are clean enough, do it again, it won’t hurt.
Dive Kit Care. Those Floaty Items.
For a lot of us, BCD’s and Wings are our only form of buoyancy but another crucial tool in our diving arsenal. This is something else you don’t want to fail and looking after it is key to making sure it delivers its tip-top performance time and time again.
- Rinse with fresh water making sure the water soaks into the materials. Once it has done so give it another rinse. This makes sure all that saltiness is dissolved as much as possible.
- Flush your inflator and valves properly, doing this a couple of times helps.
- It’s hugely important to make sure you rinse the inside of the bladder; this takes on water throughout your dive when you use them and then that water inside gets a little nasty.
- Use the hose, the same way you inflate it manually or remove the pull dumps and fill it that way.
- Don’t fill it all the way through as it gets super heavy, quarter to half is cool and slosh it around a lot. There are also cleaners to help with this process which is always beneficial.
- Once you have drained it, inflate it to leave to dry.
- Make sure that when you go to store it, you have checked it all over for any failing stitching, tears rips or sudden deflating of the bladder.
Of course, these are just guidelines, you may like to do things differently, that’s cool, this maybe more helpful for someone not used to cleaning their kit. But do remember this doesn’t replace your servicing or your manufacturers’ recommendations and we strongly recommend getting your kit serviced by trained professionals within the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure that your kit keeps on trucking, some of it is Life Supporting after all.