Monday, 6 July 2015

Equipment Checkup!

The first trip out in late spring, early summer to Marmora usually signals to divers that the season is indeed open.  All of the excitement and anticipation of being able to dive comes with but a few challenges. 

  • Have you had a yearly checkup and are in good health to dive? 
  •  Did you remember to have the tanks inspected? 
  •  Did you check your wetsuit to ensure it fits…still?   

Whatever the reason is to get out and dive that first weekend, don’t wait to get your gear, inspected, repaired and in working order; by the time that weekend arrives, Dive shops will be overrun with requests, orders and repairs.
This makes the situation most stressful when waiting for equipment to be repaired the week before the dive trip.  Hoping and praying that your equipment will be ready and that you won’t have to rent unfamiliar gear.

First Checks
All equipment is different and requires annual/semi-annual safety inspections, replacement parts and preventive maintenance. If unsure check with the manufacturer.  Some certifying agencies also put out a ‘suggested’ preventative maintenance schedule. My Regs are in the shop once a year at the end of September for their annual checkup. I only trust the professionals with my regs.  They can test, adjust and replace.  I can always rest easy knowing I'm diving with full functional equipment.

‘Personally’ speaking, I like to start with my lights, and work my way around the things that I can check myself.
Lights: At the end of every season, I take out my rechargeable batteries and put them into an air-tight bag for the next dive. As we take them out in the spring, I fully charge and test the batteries; I like to leave my light on for 1h to ensure that the batteries are still fully functional.
Exposure Suit:  If you’ve already washed and pretreated your wetsuit from last season, then the only thing to do is to re-lube and test the zippers, do an inspection of the zippers and Velcro, check all the seams for small tears – use chalk to mark area’s that need repair prior to taking it into the shop.

               *Small tip?  Most tailors can repair/replace zippers – which might be a less costly option.
Knives and Dive Tools:  Clean and sharpen – If you don’t know how, seek out professional help.  A sporting goods store was able to sharpen a serrated blade for me, and also provided a silicone spray to help protect my dive knives/tools from rusting.

Fins:  Pull on the strap, adjust it, and inspect it for cracks.  Clean and treat the silicone, and moving parts.  If you’ve had to use your ‘spare’ strap during previous dives, then perhaps it’s time to order new straps.  Spring straps will also benefit from silicon lube spray.
If you have camera gear – clean, or replace o-rings and re-silicone in a clean environment.  A new o-ring for your camera might cost $5.00, but could save that $1000 camera from a leak.(the same goes for the o-rings on dive lights/torches)
Dive computers – Check and replace battery if needed.  Ensure the date and time is correct.
Patricia Sideris, ASC Communications

Some expert Tips From our Equipment Manager Joe;

We are well into the New Dive Season! Have you checked your dive gear YET?????
The following is a good start:
Mask, fins and snorkel:
·        Examine all straps for cracking or faulty latches.
·        How is the fit of your mask? Does it seal properly? Look for any cracking around the skirt.
·        Inspect your snorkel for cracked or ripped mouth piece. Look for tears or cracking on the webbing that holds the snorkel to the mask.
Regulator set:
Have they been maintained based on the manufacturer’s requirements? If so, the following additional checks should be made:
·        Check the mouth piece for cracking or tears. Replace if necessary.
·        Inspect hoses for defects on the exterior. Pull back hose protectors and look for cracking, bubbling or tears.
·        Verify that your compass and gauges are in good working order. (Make sure that the compass is properly seated in boot or gauge set! More than one has popped out at the wrong time!!!!)
·        If your gauge set is equipped with a computer, now would be a great time to replace the battery if it’s getting questionable! Many a dive has been lost due to a failed computer….
·        Verify the exterior is in good condition with no tears etc.
·        Manually inflate your BC. Will it hold the pressure for 20 minutes?
·        Check the waist straps and latches for proper operation.
·        Up to date Hydro and Visual inspection (Remember, Hydro is good for 5 years and the visual inspection is required every year.)
·        If equipped, check under the plastic tank boot for debris and / or corrosion.
·        Check for damage to the tank o ring. Replace if necessary.

Last but not least, check your exposure protection for proper fit! MANY have been known to shrink over the winter for unknown reasons. (Suit manufactures are still trying to fix this problem!!)
Have a safe and enjoyable dive season all!
Joe Pascoe, Equipment Manager

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