If you’re anything like me you’re probably looking at the snow banks outside, wondering if your pipes will freeze and your car will start in the morning. One heck of a time to be dreaming about dive season isn’t it? Well, there is no better time of the year to pull that dive equipment out of storage and take a close look at it. I mean, it gives you an excuse to do something dive related while the snowplows race up and down your street right? In my experience most divers usually wait until flowers start blooming to even think about getting their equipment ready for dive season, and that’s exactly my point! Do you really want to be in the middle of the rush at your local dive shop to get last minute items and service to breathe life back into your life support equipment? I know I surely don’t, which is why I have been working on getting my equipment ready since the new year was rung in. So, what should you do to ready your gear for a season of epic underwater adventures? Well, my bubble blowing friends don’t fret because we here at DRIS are here to answer your question!
First, it goes without saying that your regulators and BCD need to make it to the friendly technician at your local dive shop for a good once over. They will check the operation and wear on your equipment and make recommendations for service. One thing that you need to bear in mind is that not using your equipment for a couple of years is not an acceptable reason to forgo this process. Parts like rubber hoses, seals and seats can and often do degrade over time even when sitting in your closet or garage. So, make that first step in your gear prep routine be tossing it gently in your car and take it for a little ride to your LDS.
Next, take a close look at the “consumable” components of your dive equipment. Like the hoses on your regulator and BCD, many of the parts and pieces of the rest of your equipment consist of materials that can degrade over time. Stuff you want to look at is fin and mask straps, are they drying and/or cracking? Replace them. Consider upgrading those rubber fin straps with some robust spring straps! Take a look at the skirt and other soft parts of your mask, while most masks nowadays are constructed of silicone which is more robust than rubber, it can still be damaged. Dive computer batteries? may as well go ahead and replace them. Own cylinders? They most likely are due for a visual and/or hydro inspection. How’s your exposure protection looking? Is your wetsuit worn out and falling apart? Boot zippers still functioning? If you dive dry how do your seals and zipper look? If anything here appears questionable, repair or replace them well before you take that first giant stride of the year!
Once you have done all this you should ask yourself if there are any pieces of equipment that simply need replacing or upgrading? Is your BCD circa 1994 and still has neon yellow trim? When you took your regulators into the technician at your LDS did he ask if you ever appeared in an episode of “Sea Hunt”? If this is the case, perhaps you would like to take a look at a new, shiny Backplate and Wing? Perhaps some new Apeks regulators that don’t feel like you’re trying to breathe through a cocktail straw? Well, if this is the case give the crew here at DRIS a shout! We have a full staff of active divers who just love to talk about diving and the best equipment for you. So, with that in mind…get your gear together and let’s go diving!