Your diving kit cost quite a lot and you rely on it to keep you alive, breathing and bring you to the surface. When the dive season is about to start you need to check all is well with you equipment. You need to avoid the disappointment and embarrassment of turning up for your first trip and finding something broken or not working. Or worse finding it fails to work properly when you get in the water.
Get everything out now and look it over carefully. All kit should have been rinsed well in fresh water to remove salt before storing in the dark and dry for the winter. Clean off salt and clean up any metal that is gone green. The best idea is to take your gear to the pool and check it and yourself out before going near the sea.
Check drysuit seals for perishing. Get failing ones replaced now.
Check you cylinder test and cleaning dates. Get them serviced and if you use nitrox and they need it get them cleaned as well.
Regulator manufacturers recommend that they are serviced by a professional every year. In any case check they work smoothly, no undue resistance, leaks or sticking of any kind. Check the mouthpiece and hoses for splits of perishing.
The air bladder in a BCD is damp and can grow bacteria. Unscrew a valve or take off the hose and rinse with mild disinfectant – Milton from the chemist for instance. Rinse that our and let it drain. Do not breath in from your BCD unless an emergency.
BCD inflater valves also build up salt over time. Connect a regulator and cylinder and check the air flow in is good. Then empty the BC and listen. Can you hear air seeping into the BC when the valve should be shut? Leave this connected for an hour and see if it has inflated when it should not. If so you need to clean the inflater valve. Either a dive shop or some mechanically minded members can help.
You might find black mould growing in your mask if it was not dry before you put it away. Most can be taken apart to clean them, but this has to be done very very carefully. If not sure, just clean with a toothbrush as best you can.
If you have a rechargeable torch, the battery will go flat over a couple of months. Get it out, put in a bucket and turn on until flat. Recharge it fully. If you have any doubts repeat the full discharge and recharge cycle to minimise “memory” effect in the battery.
Bag zips have a nasty tendency to gather salt and stick. If yours will not move or is stiff you need to soak it – squeeze a sponge onto the zip repeatedly or just dump it in the bath and leave for a while. Silicone lubricant will help stop build up. If you force the zip you are likely to break it and need a new bag.
Check your dive computer battery. Turn it on and look at the battery gauge. If in doubt replace it. Maplins have most sizes of battery, but if you want or need to replace the seal as well you will need the manufacturer’s battery replacement kit. Consider buying a battery replacement kit or just a spare battery anyway if you have any doubts. They you’ll have it when away for a trip and it dies unexpectedly.
Prizes available if anyone can identify which of these has been learned by personal experience 😉