The dive is over, the boat is heading to shore, it was a terrific day on the water, and now there is one last thing to do before calling it quits… the dreaded dive gear cleanup. Sound familiar?!
Everybody loves the idea of scuba diving, but the aspect of post dive cleanup is a much different story. It’s long, it’s tedious and it almost impossible to do it without getting wet – yet again.
As annoying as scuba gear cleanup may be, it is something that cannot be forgotten, especially if you want to prolong the lifespan of your equipment or avoid gear related issues on your next dive. Here are a couple of reasons why you should rinse your gear:
Seawater contains salt.
This may be an obvious statement, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget that saltwater is corrosive to most metals. Ever see an old metal wreck underwater? You’ll notice over time the metal has deteriorated and gone from gray/silver to a coppery/orange? That is corrosion happening to the metal after being exposed to saltwater.
Corrosion or rusting, are two chemical processes that can occur in diving equipment that is inadequately rinsed and maintained. Divers need to be aware of this because corrosion and rust can lead to weakening and/or disintegration of dive gear.
If corrosion isn’t enough to convince you to rinse your gear then perhaps salt crystals are.
When saltwater dries, it leaves behind salt crystals. When these crystals form as salt water evaporates, they can expand and can break the seal between o-rings and other watertight surfaces. Not rinsing the salt from your gear and letting it dry can leave you at risk for unsuspected equipment malfunctions. Can you say leaks and free flows?!
Not only that but saltwater leaves unrinsed equipment brittle and more susceptible to cracks, rips, and tears.
So if I dive in freshwater, I can skip the gear rinse right?? WRONG
While rinsing dive gear immediately after diving in freshwater is not as critical after diving in saltwater, it’s still important to do in order to remove any dirt or debris that may have gotten into those hard to reach areas. A post-dive rinse will also help to eliminate and prevent other contaminants like microorganisms and algae from settling on your equipment.
Let’s be honest, we all paid way too much on our dive equipment to let rust and premature wear and tear happen.
Whether its a quick dunk in the rinse tank or a heavy spray down with the garden hose, rinsing dive gear may not be everyone’s cup of tea but it is something that is should be done, especially when diving in salt water, to maintain proper functioning equipment.
Exposure suits come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. They include the suit itself, hood, gloves, and booties. For the most part an excellent inner and outer rinse in freshwater does the trick (yes it even needs to be done with drysuits once and awhile).
A few times a year it is also essential to clean your exposure suit with a disinfectant and soap to get rid of odors. The majority of dive centers and dive shops should have soap specific for cleaning dive suits. Make sure the cleaning products you use are designed for the material you are cleaning and after applying the soap, rinse the gear off thoroughly with more water.
A quick rinse of your mask and fins after diving will do the trick. Generally, avoid placing your mask in a “mask bucket.” Mask buckets are “communal mucous banks” and are a common way for Conjunctivitis (pink-eye) and other nasty things to be transmitted. Instead, give your mask a rinse with a hose or in a sink.
Your dive computer, with all its buttons, should be soaked a little longer to ensure all the nooks and crannies are free and clear of salt and dirt.
Rinsing your BCD can be a little tricky because you need to make sure you take care of both the inside and the outside.
Start with the outside and rinse as thoroughly as possible making sure to clean the valves and buttons.
Invert and drain your BCD bladder, which may have accumulated water via the low-pressure inflator or dump valves and then fill the BCD with fresh water about ¼ of the way. Fill the rest of the vest with air and shake the jacket well to circulate the water. Using the dump valves drain the bladder and repeat the whole process once or twice more.
Your regulator is probably the most critical piece of scuba equipment to rinse and rinse properly after all when we are breathing underwater our regulators are our life support system.
We all know about dust caps and how they should be placed onto the first stage before rinsing? But what is not as well known and forgotten, is that a dust cap is not always a water-tight seal. Most regulator manufacturer even recommends that the first stages not be submerged underwater without being pressurized (i.e., connected to a tank). Even the more recent regulators equipped with Automatic Closure Devices (ACD) are not necessarily 100% watertight.
Never rinse the first sage without the dust cap in place and try to keep the unpressurized first stage out of the water (wipe and wash down with a cloth instead).
If you do by mistake dunk your regulator in a tank without the dust cap, take the regulator to a qualified service tech as soon as possible, for full disassembly, cleaning, and servicing. Not getting the proper cleaning and lubrication after moisture intrusion, could lead to internal corrosion and regulator malfunction.
When cleaning all your dive gear it’s easy to forget about cleaning your scuba tanks, but it too needs to be rinsed using freshwater.
Generally speaking, cleaning a scuba tank is easiest with your regulator attached and pressurized so you can rinse it exceedingly well without needing to worry about getting moisture in the valve. But tank cleaning can also be done once the regulator is removed, it just needs to be done a little more carefully.
Rinse the outside making sure to clean the tank knob extensively to get rid of sand and grit that eventually can make it hard to turn the air on and off.
After two years of owning my own underwater camera, I will admit, the art of rinsing and cleaning an underwater camera should be an entire blog post on its own.
As a general rule for camera equipment without getting into too much detail, DO NOT put camera gear in the general rinse bins!
Mask defogger, strange lubricants and lots of other nasty stuff get put into those general use rinse bins and can damage the o-rings and seals on your expensive equipment. Even when the container is said to be exclusively for watches and camera’s, there is always that one diver that has/will rinse, drop or clean their mask in it. Play it safe and rinse your camera via a hose or better yet bring a small Tupperware container exclusively for your own use.
After rinsing and cleaning your scuba equipment, next comes the drying stage and with that in mind remember sunshine and UV rays are your dive gears worst enemy!
Believe it or not, sunlight will cause materials like rubber and neoprene to crack, fade and degrade over time. Dry your stuff in a shaded area. It may take longer, but your gear will also last longer.
Your gear is expensive, and you want it to last you for many dive season to come. That’s why rinsing your scuba diving gear after each use in clean, fresh water is a simple yet essential maintenance routine that all divers should get in the habit of doing.
By taking good care of your scuba equipment and rinsing it after every dive, you are giving it the best chance to look after you.
How do you maintain your own scuba gear after a dive? What is your favorite dive cleaning regime?
Nothing compares to the thrill of diving to a helicopter, airplane, army car, and double-decker bus all in one dive. Don't miss this epic diving jungle in Wales.
Who says cold water diving can’t be filled with color? Plunge into Carnac, France and explore the bountiful anemone gardens, intricate macro life, and delicate fragility below the surface.
Backroll into to the cold water world of Portugal's Berlengas Island Natural Reserve. Located off the coast of Peniche, this underwater paradise will have you have you gurgling with excitement into your regulator.
With thrilling shore dives, an amazingly sunny climate and marine animals coming from the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean sea, it's no wonder scuba divers are seduced by the underwater world of Costa del Sol.
The tropical oasis of Key Largo is a scuba diver's delight. Night dive, reef dives, and wreck dives are all right at your fingertips ready to be explored.
For land loving travelers, Portugal has got it all, but if you are a scuba diver, this beautiful European country can easily fly’s under the radar. Pending the cooperation of the tides, wind, and weather, there are neat things to see and plenty of good macro life these cold and productive waters.
It’s a tale as old as time - women fighting against the assumption that they are weaker than men, women trying to rise in the ranks in a primarily male-dominated industry. And the battle is making progress, but it isn’t over yet...
As one of the sunshine states top shore diving destinations, Blue Heron Bridge offers some of the best diving in Florida. Mud, beaches, wrecks and small critters, no matter where you dive under the bridge, there is so much to see, explore and photograph.
As a diver, sometimes you get hit with seasickness. While not avoidable, here are our solutions to dealing with seasickness before and during your dive.
When in the Florida Keys, make sure to take the time to learn all about man’s quest to explore under the sea at the History of Diving Museum.
Bare 7mm thick elastek dry suit hood
Compact underwater scuba diving hand reel with a 150ft of white line on the spool
13-inch inflatable dive buoy with a 12 by 11-inch scuba diving flag surface marker
Black Mares Dragon Scuba Diving BCD
Suunto SK-8 wrist compass with bungee straps, faster stabilization, and enhanced readability
AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod and Bag with adjustable-height legs and rubber feet
Compact scuba diving finger spool with 150ft of white line and a 4-inch brass double-ended clip
Flexible Lightweight Portable Tripod for Projector DSLR Cameras and Go Pro
If you’re not quite ready for the expense of big lights, this little video light goes perfectly with any GoPro setup
Ikelite aluminum digital camera tray with dual handles
Bare drysuit drawstring scuba gear bag the perfect alternative for transporting a dry suit to-and-from the dive site
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
Dry glove lock system that accommodates all hand sizes
Diving lens filter kit for GoPro HERO 5/6 which enhances colors for underwater video and photography conditions
Ikelite TTL dual flash sync cord attaches two strobe’s to the underwater camera housing.
Mini blue scuba diving tank key ring with brass pick tool and o-rings
GoPro dual battery charger conveniently charges two HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, or HERO camera batteries simultaneously
Bare drysuit trek boots designed for rocky shore entries, boat decks, and boat ladders
Scuba diving 4ft neon yellow surface marker signal tube with “Diver Below” print
Suunto Vyper Novo wrist scuba diving computer with USB
GoPro HERO6 Black Camera
Black scuba diving turtle fins
Ikelite compact ball arm for quick release handle
Canon Macro Lens EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM – non Image Stabilised
Capture amazingly smooth GoPro footage in the air with the GoPro Karma Drone
Bare SB System Mens Full Under-layer
SHOOT 6″ Underwater Dome Port for GoPro Hero 6/Hero 5/Hero(2018) Black Camera Diving Lens Hood Housing Photography with Waterproof Case Accessories
Ikelite photography strobe DS161 with NiMH rechargeable battery pack
Capture amazingly smooth shake-free video with the GoPro Karma Grip
Ikelite underwater macro lens casing is comprised of an acetyl body with glass front and can hold lenses of 4.37 diameter x 3 inches (111 x 76 mm)
DUI heavy duty dry suit gloves with yellow liners available in sizes: S, M, L, XL
Black Mares Cruise Roller Tauchen bag, perfect for scuba diving and traveling
Rechargeable Ikelite NiMH battery pack compatible with Ikelite’s DS125, DS160, and DS161 strobes.
Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD Large Aperture Standard Zoom Lens for Canon Digital DSLR Camera + 32GB Memory Card + Photo4Less Cleaning Cloth.
Ikelite Canon EOS 100D Rebel SL1 underwater camera housing in white
The Hydra 5000 WSRU is an all in one photo and dive light with wide, spot, red, and UV modes