Equipment Maintenance

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Equipment Maintenance

Post  Bear on Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:57 pm

Lots of divers tend to take their wetsuit for granted. They put it on, it gets wet, they take it off and it dries. It would almost seem that the wetsuit cleans itself but there is more to wetsuit maintenance than just doing this. If you did nothing to take care of your wetsuit, it would not last very long but with just a few simple care procedures, it will last for many years.

First of all, make sure you dry your wetsuit on a heavy-duty hanger so that you don't leave marks and ridges in your wetsuit. As the wetsuit dries out it will tend to take the shape of the hanger so you want the hanger to be fairly beefy probably made out of wood, heavy-duty plastic or a padded hanger. Several companies make special padded hangers just for use with wetsuits. Don't use a metal hanger. The ridges left by a wire frame hanger could easily cause stretch marks and cracks in the neoprene. Also the water from the suit will rust the hanger and leave rust marks on your suit and the hanger won't be good for much afterwards either. Generally when you first take the suit off turn it inside out and put it on the hanger so it dries more completely but for storage turn it right side out again. Don't dry it out in the sun. The UV rays from the sun will damage the neoprene if left out for too long. Some people will hang their wetsuit on a large horizontal pole like what you would find in your closet to let it dry. There are lots of good options for drying. The idea is to keep the stress on the neoprene to a minimum as it dries. For long-term storage, after the suit is dry, you can lay it out flat in a dry and cool place away from the sun. Don't store it in your garage. Car exhaust gases can also damage neoprene.

It may sound strange but saltwater is not very good for your wetsuit. If you don't rinse the saltwater off it will start to corrode the neoprene. The chlorine in swimming pools is also very hard on the neoprene especially when combined with sunlight. So when you are done with your dive make it a habit to rinse the suit off with fresh water as soon as possible. This should be done regardless of where you were swimming.

Wetsuits should also be cleaned regularly. Never ever put your wetsuit in a conventional washer and drier. It should be hand cleaned using either a special shampoo designed for use on wetsuits or a very mild shampoo such as baby shampoo. Use warm water, not hot, keep the temperature below 120 degrees Fahrenheit and rinse and dry thoroughly afterwards. If you use your wetsuit regularly, you should clean it in this fashion about once every 2 weeks. Also, to keep the suit from smelling bad, every 3 months rinse the suit in fresh water with a small amount of disinfectant mixed into the fresh water. Companies that make wetsuit shampoo generally also make wetsuit deodorizer for disinfecting.

So always remember that saltwater, heat, sunlight, chlorine, stretch marks and sharp folds are your wetsuits enemies and clean it regularly and you should get many years of good service out of it.
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Re: Equipment Maintenance

Post  Bear on Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:03 pm

Maintaing your guns:

With most guns, you will sooner or later have to come to terms with rust sneaky its way onto your spear. For those that don't know, rust is the oxidation process that occurs on an untreated metal when it comes into contact with oxygen. All spears have an anti- rust coating, but sooner or later this wears off through contact with gloves, fish and the continuous exposure to salt.

By simply sanding the rust off your spear with fine grit sandpaper, you can remove the rust. However, you will need to coat the spear with a silicon or water-repellant spray to ensure no rust returns for a while. I personally find engine grease to work the longest. By greasing and sanding your spear after every dive, you will have a spear that lasts a lot longer
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Re: Equipment Maintenance

Post  Bear on Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:07 pm

Maintaining the trigger mechanism:

The trigger mechanism is very vulnerbale to sand. Ensure that all sand is washed off your gun. When exiting the water, dislodge your loaded spear, and ensure the trigger moves freely without any feeling of sand in it. If there is, move it around underwater until the sand dislosges from the mechanism. I made the mistake spraying Q20 into my mechanism after each dive, without ensuring the sand had been removed first. what I ended up with, was sand sticking inside my mechanism and the trigger freezing on use
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Re: Equipment Maintenance

Post  Bear on Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:09 pm

Fin care and maintenance:

Care Before and During the Dive

Avoid standing your fins on the tips of the blades for any extended period of time.

Avoid hot temperatures and hot surfaces as these can damage the fin.

Avoid placing the fins in a car trunk on hot days as the temperatures inside car trunks can exceed the temperature tolerances of the fin and the blades may distort.

Care After the Dive:

Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and towel dry before final storage.

Storage:

Store in a cool, dry and protected place out of direct sunlight.
Chemicals/Solvents:

Avoid any contact with alcohol, oil, gasoline, aerosols, or chemical solvents.
Do not expose any part to aerosol spray, as some aerosol propellants attack or degrade rubber and plastic materials.
Do not use any type of alcohol, solvent or petroleum based substances to clean or lubricate any part.
Do not store your equipment near any oil, gasoline, chemicals, or solvents.
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Re: Equipment Maintenance

Post  Bear on Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:10 pm

Mask Care and Maintenance:

Care Before the Dive:

During the manufacturing process, a thin film of silicone will develop on the glass lens. This film of silicone will cause rapid fogging that is resistant to conventional anti-fog measures. It is important to remove this film of silicone from the lens prior to your first dive. To remove the film you will need to scrub the lens inside and out with a mild abrasive. A paste toothpaste is ideal but a liquid scrub will also work. Rub the cleanser into the lens with your fingers several times and then rinse clean thoroughly.

Mask fogging is a normal occurrence, even after the film of silicone has been removed. Normal fogging can be easily prevented with after market anti-fog agents or saliva. Rub onto the lens and then rinse. Your dive will now be fog free!

Some after after-market anti-fog agents contain formaldehyde, alcohol, or other substances that may damage the plastic materials used in your mask. If unsure, avoid prolonged exposure of the anti-fog agent with the plastic parts of your mask.

Care During the Dive:

When entering the water either from a boat or a beach, place a hand over the lens of your dive mask and hold it securely in place. This will help ensure your mask stays in place during entry and will help deflect any direct impact of water on the lens caused by the jump into the water or any approaching waves.

A typical dive staging area is a dangerous place for dive masks. Care should be taken to not leave your mask in a location where it might be exposed to dropping weight belts or tanks.

It is best to avoid putting your mask on your forehead at any time during the dive. Several factors can cause the mask on your forehead to be dislodged and subsequently lost. If you want to temporarily remove the mask from your face, place the mask around your neck.

Care After the Dive:

Soak in warm fresh water to dissolve salt crystals.

Rinse thoroughly with fresh water and towel dry before final storage.

Storage:

Store in a cool, dry and protected place out of direct sunlight.
Store separated from other dive gear as the black pigmentation of other equipment may discolor the clear silicone skirt of your mask.
Chemicals/Solvents:

Avoid any contact with alcohol, oil, gasoline, aerosols, or chemical solvents.
Do not expose any part to aerosol spray, as some aerosol propellants attack or degrade rubber and plastic materials.
Do not use any type of alcohol, solvent or petroleum based substances to clean or lubricate any part.
Do not store your equipment near any oil, gasoline, chemicals, or solvents.
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Re: Equipment Maintenance

Post  Bear on Mon Oct 11, 2010 2:13 pm

Snorkel Care and Maintenance:

Caring for your snorkel is important because that is what keeps you from having to constantly lift your head out of the water to breathe. The fact that it goes in your mouth is also an important reason for care and maintenance. The three basic snorkel styles are J Snorkel, Semi-Dry Snorkel and the Dry Snorkel.

Care and Maintenance Out of the Package
It is always a good idea to pour some germ killing mouthwash into the barrel or the mouthpiece of the snorkel for good measure even if the snorkel that you purchased was sealed in a bag. Its going to go in your mouth for goodness sakes. If you have a semi-dry or dry snorkel with a purge valve you will need to pour the mouthwash into the mouthpiece while blocking the snorkel's purge valve. Failure to do this will have you running for a towel because the liquid will pour out of the purge valve. If you have a plain non purge "J" style snorkel, block the mouthpiece and pour the mouthwash into the barrel of the snorkel. Read more on Snorkels.

Inspection Prior to Travel
Check the snorkel mouthpice bite tabs as some people have a tendancy to gnaw on these while snorkeling (you know who you are). Many of the higher end snorkels have replaceable mouthpieces whereas the lower end snorkel do not. In the case of the latter, a new snorkel would be advised. If you have a flexible tube snorkel (the lower third of the snorkel is corrugated externally). Inspect the corrugation for any signs of wear. Check the snorkel keeper for any signs of wear. Inspect the snorkel purge valve to make sure it has not warped.

Packing Snorkel for Transit
It is a good idea to pack your snorkel in your carry on luggage because you know whose mouth has been on it and if your luggage got delayed or lost ....I think you get the idea. If your snorkel keeper is a 2 piece release (where one piece remains on the mask strap and the other is on the snorkel, make sure that you have both pieces before packing.

Prior to Water Entry
Connect your snorkel to your mask making sure that the snorkel is placed on the left side of the mask as if you were wearing it. If you have a "J" style snorkel with a purge valve, cup your hand over the top of the barrel and try inhaling from the snorkel. You shouold not have any air coming in. If you do, then check the purge valve for and cracks, warping or sediment that might be causing the valve not to seal. Read more on Snorkels.

Care of Snorkel During Multi Snorkel Outings
If you are planning to go out a few times a day snorkeling then you should take precautions while the snorkel is not in use. Keep the snorkel out of direct sunlight and if possible rinse the snorkel in fresh tap water if possible.

Snorkel Care and Maintenance Prior to Storage
Prior to storage of your snorkel, you want to make sure that it is clean both inside and out. Using warm soapy water let the snorkel soak a goodly amount of time to help loosen any dirt or salt water build up. Using a soft bristled toothbrush, clean as much of the snorkel as you can. If you have access to a small flexible bottle brush, clean as much of the inside of the snorkel as possible. Once cleaned, rinse thoroughly in fresh tap water. It is a good idea to store the snorkel in a cool dry place which is out of direct sunlight. Do not store it in contact with any rubber goods or ferrous metal objects as this can lead to premature discoloration. Storing it in an airtight container is also a good idea.
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hanger

Post  spearouys on Wed Oct 13, 2010 12:43 pm

how long must a wetsuit be on a hanger to start rusting lol. thanks for the 101 bear. if your trigger mechanism can be easily removed take it out and wash out the handle. especially on freedivers guns
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Re: Equipment Maintenance

Post  Bear on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:36 pm

haha I made that mistake once, but its plastic hangers from now on only.
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Re: Equipment Maintenance

Post  Bear on Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:37 pm

I have Rabitech guns, and the handles do come off easily thankfully. I havent manged to take a liking to freedivers guns, despite their wetsuits and gear which is awesome
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