Posts Tagged ‘Gear’

5 Tips for Pros: How to Maintain Your Scuba Gear Properly

Thursday, April 14th, 2016


As a PADI Professional, your scuba gear is exposed to heavy use – much more than the average recreational diver. Three or five dives a day teaching students or guiding certified divers will quickly leave their mark, and you’ll notice your diving equipment ageing much quicker than usual.

Of course, you can help to counteract this wear and tear with proper maintenance of your dive equipment, allowing you to get the best results from your gear despite the high strain.

Above all you shouldn’t forget that you always have a role model function as a PADI Pro, and your scuba gear in particular should always be exemplary: clean, well maintained and fully functional. This way you show your students and other divers that you’re a conscientious diving professional, and demonstrate the importance of well-maintained diving gear.

Here are 5 tips on properly caring for your scuba equipment:

#1 – Rinse your diving equipment thoroughly after every dive

It doesn’t matter if you’re diving in fresh or salt water; clean your scuba gear with clean water after every dive. This will help to remove dirt and other contaminants like micro-organisms or stinging particles from coral or jellyfish. It also helps to prevent the unwanted formation of salt crystal build-up after open water dives in the ocean.

#2 – Dry your diving equipment after every dive

neoprene-careSure, it can difficult as a PADI Pro to do this if you use your diving equipment multiple times during the day. But in between your dives, try to dry out your gear as well as you can. When dive gear is kept damp (especially when stored), bacteria or fungi can quickly develop and spread, which not only damages your diving equipment but can also trigger infections and irritations to your skin.

To dry your scuba gear hang it up outside, ideally in a dry and breezy place but not directly in blazing sunshine. Sunlight can cause faster ageing of materials and can make neoprene and rubber parts brittle.

scuba-equipment#3 – Check any moving parts regularly for dirt and defects

At least once a day, you should make sure that all moving parts on your diving equipment (such as buckles on your BCD, inflator buttons, regulator purge buttons etc.) are clean and working properly. That way you’ll be reassured that there are no dirt, sand or salt crystals stuck in your diving gear that might cause a malfunction during a dive.

#4 – Deep-clean and maintain your diving equipment on a regular basis

In addition to rinsing your kit with clean fresh water after each dive, you should also wash your gear thoroughly at least once a week with a special cleaner designed for dive equipment. This applies not only for neoprene suits, but also for your BCD.

scuba-gear#5 – Store your diving equipment properly

Between dives – and especially if you’re taking some time away from teaching – you should ensure that your gear is stored properly to avoid damage and deformation of the material. Make sure it’s completely dry before packing it away (see #2), don’t stand your fins on the blade-end (as they’ll bend out of shape), and ensure the glass in your diving mask is protected from being scratched.

In addition to these 5 tips, you should always be very careful when carrying and using your diving equipment. Strong impact can easily damage your gear, especially the small components in your BCD and regulator.

PADI’s Equipment Specialist Touch is a great tool to help refresh your memory on maintenance techniques, even as a PADI Professional. It’s also a valuable teaching aid to use with your students to help them learn the importance of caring for their scuba equipment.

christian_huboThis article was written by guest blogger, Christian Hubo. A PADI diving instructor, Christian has enjoyed over 4,000 dives whilst travelling around the world. Above the surface, he’s hiked thousands of kilometers across the natural world. Christian is a freelance web and media designer, underwater photographer, social media and marketing consultant and freelance author. His magazine articles and blog, Feel4Nature, inspires people to follow an independent, individual and eco-conscious lifestyle.

The post 5 Tips for Pros: How to Maintain Your Scuba Gear Properly appeared first on PADIProsEurope.

Quick Looks: The Latest Specialty Dive Masks

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
Scuba Diving Mask Body Glove GoPro Mount

Jon Whittle

Contact: Body Glove MSRP: $29.99

Body Glove

Passage With GoPro Mount

The bottom third of each lens has a +1.75 diopter magnification and is angled downward to help “experienced” divers see their gauges. The mask has a line at the lens seam like old-fashioned bifocals, but they’re a help for divers who wish they could bring their readers underwater.

Scuba Diving Mask XS Scuba Magnifying

Jon Whittle

Contact: MSRP: $85

XS Scuba

Gauge Reader

The bottom third of each lens has a +1.75 diopter magnification and is angled downward to help “experienced” divers see their gauges. The mask has a line at the lens seam like old-fashioned bifocals, but they’re a help for divers who wish they could bring their readers underwater.

Scuba Diving Magazine IST Sports Mask Color Correcting Lenses

Jon Whittle

Contact: MSRP: $65 mask, $15 lenses

IST Sports

MP-206 Chameleon with OL206 Lenses

Amber lenses can enhance contrast on cloudy days, but there are times when clear lenses are best. The Chameleon’s lens covers let you easily swap for changing conditions. They clip on, come off without tools and stay on securely.


Thursday, January 14th, 2016

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Austrian manufacturer of wetsuits, masks, fins, snorkels, BCs, boots, gloves, bags and accessories.


Camaro GesmbH
Wagnermühle 30 A-5310 Mondsee
Tel.: +43 / 6232 / 4201-0

ScubaLab Tests the Best Dive Masks on the Market

Thursday, December 17th, 2015


Mask Test Protocol:

To evaluate the in-water performance of each mask, a team of ScubaLab test divers dived with them at Alexander Springs in central Florida. Using underwater slates and waterproof test sheets, divers scored each mask in five performance categories. Our team of divers also recorded comments about their experience with each mask and ranked in order their top three favorites in each of two mask categories — dual-lens and single- lens models.

Ergo Test Categories:

  1. Ease and security of adjustments, including buckles, swivels and quick releases
  2. Comfort of the strap, skirt, frame, nose pocket and all contact points
  3. Dryness overall, and effectiveness of seals and purge valves
  4. Field of view, both vertical and horizontal
  5. Mask volume and ease of clearing and equalizing

Because of the importance of proper fit, individual test divers did not proceed with in-water testing if a mask failed to fit him or her properly.


Shown on the graph accompanying each mask are that mask’s scores for comfort (including the strap, skirt, frame and contact points) and field of view (both horizontal and vertical, as perceived by the diver). The scoring is as follows: 5 = excellent; 4 = very good; 3 = good; 2 = fair; 1 = poor. Test divers also selected their top three favorite masks in each of the two test categories — dual lens and single lens.


The choice between mask types is partly a matter of personal preference and partly a function of special requirements a diver might have. Multi-lens masks, especially dual-lens models, generally have a smaller internal volume than single-lens models because their smaller size can allow them to be shaped closer to the diver’s face. A smaller volume is beneficial because it makes a mask easier to clear and equalize. They also can be equipped with corrective lenses, which many manufacturers offer for their most popular masks. Single-lens masks offer the widest uninterrupted field of view because they don’t have the obstruction of the nose bridge needed on a dual- or multi-lens mask. Single-lens masks can’t be fitted with corrective lenses and generally have somewhat larger volume, although many newer designs have significantly reduced volumes.

Q: What factors did test divers find most important?

A: Test divers’ favorite masks took top scores for comfort, with supple skirts, soft nose pockets and no hard parts contacting the face. That’s no surprise because an uncomfortable mask can quickly take the fun out of any dive.

Q: What are the pros and cons of frameless masks?

A: Molding the skirt directly to the lens gives the frameless mask a lower profile and eliminates any visual obstruction the frame might cause. Because the frameless masks’ lenses aren’t removable, they can’t be fitted with corrective lenses or replaced. — Roger Roy, ScubaLab Director

Dive Gear Maintenance Made Easy

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015


Gear Maintenance Made Easy

If you are a serious diver, odds are you’ve invested significant money in your dive gear. So it goes without saying you want to take care of that gear, right? Not only will proper maintenance greatly prolong the life of your gear, but it’s also one of the best insurance policies for staying safe while diving. Regular user maintenance requires that you visually inspect, clean and properly handle all the pieces of your setup using specific steps for both pre- and postdive care. So, before your next dive trip, follow the pre-dive steps in this guide to make sure your gear is safe and ready-to-dive. And at the end of your trip, or once you get home, follow the postdive steps to keep everything in top-notch condition until next time.

Masks, Fins, Snorkels

Predive Stretch out all the straps to look for fine cracks in the rubber; these are especially common in the heavy rubber straps on open-heel fins, and they’re clear signs of impending failure. If you do find any, immediately replace the straps. If you use a “strap wrapper” to cover your rubber mask strap, either slide the cover to the side or remove it so that the strap underneath can be fully inspected. Next, examine the silicone of your mask skirt, the flexible hose of your snorkel and the snorkel’s mouthpiece for any tears. The most common failure area on a mask is the feather-edged seal on the skirt. This can become imperfect or irregular in shape with time and heavy use, and that irregularity can create leaks. Finally, check all the buckles, which can crack, split or become clogged with debris that can interfere with how they function, and check the frame of your mask for cracking, chips or other obvious signs of wear, especially in the areas immediately adjacent to the glass lens.

Postdive To avoid mildew growth, rinse your mask, fins and snorkel in warm, fresh water and allow them to drip dry completely before packing them away. And pack these items loosely so nothing bends the fin blades, crushes the foot pockets or distorts the mask skirt. Leaving these items squashed into a weird position for a long period of time will cause them to take on an unnatural shape.


Predive It’s a good idea to connect your regulator to a tank when preparing your gear for a dive trip. Take a few breaths from the regulator, a few breaths from the octopus and check the SPG for an accurate reading. Visually inspect all regulator hoses to ensure there are no cracks, make sure there are no holes or tears in the mouthpieces and check the metal fittings for corrosion. If you use hose protectors, slide them away from the first stage to check beneath them. At the same time, look for corrosion on the metal first stage. Cracks in the hoses or obvious corrosion on any of the regulator’s components require professional service from a qualified technician. Next, disconnect the regulator from the tank, replace the dust cover, inhale on each regulator forcefully and hold a vacuum. Each regulator should let in either a very tiny trickle of air or no air at all. Also check each second-stage housing for cracks, and if you have analog, oil-filled gauges, make sure they aren’t leaking any fluid. Most divers now use computers, and although these devices rarely fail, a dead battery can cut a dive day short. So check the battery indicator on your computer and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for when and how to replace these batteries. If you have an analog compass, rotate the housing to ensure that the compass card moves freely.

Postdive When rinsing your regulator, make sure the purge valves on the second stages don’t get depressed and the first stage dust cover is firmly in place. After dunking the entire octopus, rinse your second stages by running warm water through the regulator mouthpiece and out the exhaust diaphragm. Rinse the fitting that connects to your low-pressure inflator by working the slip coupling back and forth while holding it under warm running water.


Predive Check your BC inflator by connecting it to a regulator that’s hooked to a tank. Shoot a few bursts of air into the BC, then release the inflate button and listen for air leaking into the BC that would indicate a stuck inflator. A technician must repair any leaks before you get in the water. Next, inflate your BC until the pressure-relief valve pops off and let the BC stand for about 20 minutes to see if it holds air pressure. While the BC is inflated, check the cummerbund, waist strap, shoulder straps, tank band and all the buckles for excessive wear. If your BC has metal buckles, check them for corrosion, which will weaken the metal structure and eventually cause the buckle to fail. A buildup of a white chalky substance or green powder in addition to rust are all indications of corrosion. Minor corrosion can generally be cleaned with a stiff brush and a little white vinegar–be sure to rinse the item afterward so the vinegar is thoroughly removed–and a quick spray of food-grade silicone will help prevent future corrosion if routinely applied after your equipment is clean and completely dry.

Postdive Rinse your BC in fresh, warm water. Even better, add a small amount of unscented shampoo or a dive-gear wash solution to the rinse water. Take all the air out of your BC, place it in the bottom of the rinse tank, hold it down with your weights and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Then, drain the tank, rinse the equipment to remove most of the soap, refill the tank with fresh water and allow the equipment to soak a few more minutes to remove any soap residue. To rinse the inside, depress the manual-inflate button and hold the mouthpiece under running water until the BC is 60 to 70 percent full of water. Shake the BC to agitate the water and then drain it through each of the dump valves and the inflator hose. You should use each of the dumps, including the pull dump on the BC inflator hose, to remove salt crystals and sand from each of these important valves. Once you drain the water, fully inflate the BC, allow the remaining water in the BC to settle for a minute or two, and then drain it again. Finally, inflate the BC to about 50 percent of its volume and let it air-dry away from direct sunlight.


Predive If you have your own scuba tanks, check the numbers stamped into the metal on the top of each tank, near the valve, for the hydrostatic test date–it expires on the last day of the month five years after the last date of inspection–and check the VIP sticker for the visual inspection date–it expires on the last day of the month one year from the date of inspection. If a tank is out of inspection, it must be inspected again before any dive shop will fill it. Next, check the tank valve for any impact damage or corrosion. Corrosion around the burst disc or the hand wheel can be an early indication that these items will fail. Burst disc failure will cause you to lose all of the air in your cylinder very rapidly, and if the thin brass stem that holds the hand wheel gets too weak, it can break off. Also look at the front of the valve and check the O-rings. If they appear fuzzy or you see obvious nicks or cuts in them, replace them.

Postdive Never store your tanks completely full or completely empty. Without some pressure, empty tanks can take on contaminants and moisture that can lead to corrosion. Full tanks, especially aluminum cylinders, can crack if stored for long periods of time. So, it’s best to store these cylinders with between 300 and 500 psi, and of course, store them where they won’t be knocked over or subjected to any other impacts.

Exposure Suits

Predive Examine wetsuits for tears, cuts or significant fraying around the cuffs, neck and the seams of the suit. Significant areas of missing or “pulled” stitching can lead to split seams, especially in high-stretch suits in which the seams recieve a lot of stress. Make sure the zippers pull smoothly and lubricate them with a thin application of paraffin-based wax where necessary. Drysuits require a more detailed inspection of the cuff and neck seals as well as the dry zipper. Any imperfections, cracks or cuts can cause the seals to leak. Inspect the dry zipper for missing or bent teeth or advanced wear in the fabric that holds the zipper in place. Unlike wetsuits, it is generally cost effective to repair drysuit seals and zippers. Only a qualified service technician should perform these repairs. You must also check the operation of the valves on the suit. Like the low-pressure inflator on a BC, check the drysuit’s inflate valve by attaching it to a tank and operating the valve a few times; it should allow air into the suit easily without sticking or inflating after releasing the button. Checking the suit’s vent valves can be more difficult. Do this by putting the suit on and inflating it completely, wait to see if the suit holds air, then activate each deflate valve several times to make sure they vent properly and reseal as they’re supposed to. If you notice leaks in the suit’s material, patch them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations or return the suit to your dealer for service. Patched leaks may need to cure for 24 hours or more, so it’s best to check your drysuit at least a few days before you plan to use it.

Postdive Exposure suits can be hand washed in a tub of warm water. It is best to use a wetsuit shampoo available from any retail dive facility to help prevent the suit from fading or breaking down the integrity of the rubber. Wetsuits can also be washed in a machine with a hand wash cycle. Take it out before the spin cycle and allow it to drip dry.

Surface Interval For Gear

Always let your equipment dry thoroughly inside and out before packing it away. If you have the room, it is best to hang BCs, exposure suits and regulators in a cool, dry closet. The garage may not be the best place to store your gear, especially if you live in a hot, humid climate. However, many divers lack the space to do this. With the exception of your exposure suit, equipment can be stored in a good-quality piece of dive luggage without damage, but make sure the bag is large enough that the gear doesn’t fold or crimp in unnatural ways. Store your BC about 20 percent full of air to keep the internal sides of the bladder from sticking together. To further protect against age-related damage, apply a light coat of food-grade silicone to all rubber and metal components. Don’t spray the silicone directly on the components. Instead, spray a light coating on a soft cloth and rub it onto your regulator hoses, rubber fin straps and metal buckles. You can also preserve the life of the zippers on your gear bags and exposure suits by applying a dry-suit zipper wax. Simply pull the wax stick along the exterior of the zipper on each side, and then work the zipper back and forth a few times to distribute the wax. Store your mask in a rigid box to protect it from impact. You can add your computer and compass to the box as well. As a final note, before storing your equipment, look for items that need to be replaced or otherwise repaired. It is best to repair these items immediately so that your stored equipment is ready to dive when you are.

Gear Check

Certain components of your equipment require annual inspection and service by a qualified technician. It’s a mistake to assume that if you haven’t used your equipment it doesn’t require service. In fact, most technicians agree that rarely used equipment needs regular service more than equipment that sees more frequent use. Both your regulator and your BC should be checked in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, usually once a year.