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Time to have Visuals, Hydros, and Inspections done.

Properly maintained gear can last for many years.

Hints to care for your gear:

Regulators: After diving, snug down the dust cap and let the regulator soak in fresh water. Then rinse it under running, fresh water. Loosen dust cap for storage. If you do not loosen it, you will be stressing the diaphragm, eventually increasing the cost of your overhauls. If you accidentally drop the regulator into the water, and water enters the 1st stage; attach it to a tank of air, turn the air on and purge the regulator. This will force out the water. Most regulators require Annual Service. A few brands require a Biennial Service. Regulators are basically simple machines, BUT they are life support equipment, and we do not want any problems there. Have them serviced. Hoses can be wiped with UV-Tech or similar rubber protectant. Use hose protectors - they are a lot cheaper than new hoses! Your service technician is a good source of information about your regulator.

Buoyancy Compensators: Salt and sand particles are bad for BC's. So is chlorine from pools. Rinse them in fresh, clean water after each use. Hold the oral inflator hose under the faucet, with the BC held lower and add fresh water. Slosh it around, turn upside down and drain. Add some air and let it dry. If you have a "Safe Second," "Air Link," "Air 2," or equivalent as your octopus - it needs annual service also. It is a 2nd stage, even though it is almost never used. UV-Tech can be used on the OUTSIDE of the oral inflator hose. Silicone spray can be used on the outside metal parts of the power inflator connector. DO NOT spray silicone inside the oral inflator. After a while, it will gum everything up.

Exposure Suits: Rinse off with fresh water and hang to dry on a wide hanger. Periodically, you may want to wash them (especially wet suit boots) in warm water with a mild detergent. IF you turn the suit inside-out to dry, do not leave it that way, since creases will develop in the fabric. Store in a cool, dry place, away from ozone. Cellars are fine, but oil burners have electric motors and electric motors make ozone. At the end of the season and after the suit is dry, many divers hang the suit up and seal a giant trash bag around it to keep ozone away. Zippers can be wiped with silicone wax or other lubricant. Stay away from oil products, since they can damage the rubber. Dry suit seals need periodic treatment with a silicone seal saver. Do not get it on the suit, itself. If you do, it may be impossible to replace the seal later. Neoprene wet or dry suits can be repaired with wet suit cement. Coat each side of the tear with cement; let it dry; second coat; let it get tacky and press together. A tear in a stressed location may need a reinforcement. If it is that bad take it to a dive shop. For membrane and crushed neoprene dry suits, visit your dive shop.

Masks, Snorkels and Fins: Masks come to you with a silicone coating on the glass. This keeps everything looking great in the store. When you first get the mask, bring it home and polish the inside of the glass with toothpaste. Rinse and repeat. If you do not, the mask will fog terribly. Use your defog material every time you dive and the mask should work well for you. Rinse in fresh water when you are done. Some divers use UV-Tech or other silicone material once a year on the "rubber" part of the mask to keep it "new."

Snorkels are pretty simple and need nothing more than a good rinse when you are done. If there is a purge valve, you might use a little UV-Tech on its rubber flapper.

Fins will look brighter if you wipe on UV-Tech or other silicone protectant on them annually. Be cautious on the heelstrap, so they do not open by themselves.

Weightbelts: If the end becomes frayed, cut off the frayed part and sear the end with a flame (carefully) or with a hot piece of metal (again, carefully). Many people are now using Integrated Weights with their BC. It is a good idea to put 1/3 to 1/2 of the weight on a belt. That way, if you are ever are in a situation where you should drop your weights, its much easier to remember to drop the weight belt than the integrated weights. You will still come up, though with better control of your rate of ascent.

Tanks: SCUBA tanks are both simple and rugged, however dents and dings can damage them. Do not leave them roll around in the trunk of your car. Install a boot to help make them more stable when standing up and prevent dings on the bottom. Use of a valve cover can help protect the "O"ring and (to us) shows if a tank is full or empty. Some people add plastic mesh around it to help avoid dents, if it should fall over on the ground. If you dive in murky water (ponds), try to rinse in fresh water to get mud out of the boot. After diving in sea water, rinse in fresh water to get the salt off and prevent corrosion. When draining the tank for your Visual or Hydrostatic tests, do not just open the valve wide. That will cause the temperature of the tank to drop and any water vapor in the tank will condense into liquid water. This is something you do not want to happen. I have seen steel tanks still in use (safely) that were made in 1970!

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