As Professional Divers, we can all be guilty of letting the equipment care and regular maintenance slip. Truth is though, take care of your gear and it will take care of you. Even with the daily grind most of us give our kit, be diligent with the maintenance and it should last for years. Failing to take the relatively simple steps in caring for your gear can lead to early breakdown and deterioration of equipment. Equipment failure can potentially cost you hundreds of dollars in lost revenue if you’re a diving contractor, and the failure of ‘life support’ equipment at depth, such as your breathing apparatus can be potentially catastrophic.
There are plenty of steps you can take to make the most of the life of your gear and help ensure it will serve you for many dives to come. From rinsing equipment thoroughly after diving to storing your gear in a way that both protects and does not subject it to unnecessary damage. While these steps are relatively straightforward and common sense, they’re often overlooked especially by us Commercial Divers who after a long day on the jobsite, the last thing we want to do is spend a late night at home rinsing gear.
While most dive gear is designed to be built for the conditions we subject it to, it’s still a good idea to treat your equipment carefully. Especially for pieces of gear such as regulators, computers, masks, etc. Storing these items in protective cases, especially when going to or from the dive site, will help alleviate the chances of damage. When diving, make sure everything is secure and streamlined. Avoid loose hanging SPGs, consoles, and alternate air sources. When transporting gear to and from the dive site, solid ‘totes’ as opposed to gear bags help avoid unnecessary damage and make sure to first load heavy items, like cylinders, with lighter and more fragile pieces of equipment on top.
Dry-suit care is often overlooked but very important and seems to be one of those items that failures occur first. Holes happen, stay on top of them, don’t ignore small leaks, treat them right away or make the most of warranties on new suits to stop the problem getting worse, rinse your suit and hang it or roll it appropriately so as to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on those all-important (and expensive) zips. As well as daily rinsing, consider washing your suit with a light detergent weekly if working on Aquaculture sites and daily if working in contaminated environments.
Annual servicing, should certainly be performed on at least those ‘Life support’ components of your dive gear, such as regulators, hats, cylinders and tank valves. If those components are getting lots of use over the year, consider a service even every 6 months.
In regard to Surface Supply equipment, it’s likely that the majority of gear apart from your dry-suit will be supplied by the employer. Attention to detail with the care and cleanliness of your contractor’s equipment will not only ensure it stays in proper working order for many jobs to come, but will most likely ensure your job security for future projects.
Our gear is an investment, one that should pay us back with interest, provided we take the steps to look after it.
Commercial Diving Supervisor / Head PADI Instructor