Dive equipment is expensive, and can remain costly to repair. These simple, routine tips can help save money in the long run, as long as consistent maintenance is performed.
BY OCEAN EYE’S CHRIS GABEL
One of the issues with helmets is dirt and mold buildup on the inside. We’ve spoken with divers and found that many were getting sick and can directly contribute some of the illnesses to mold found in places like the oral nasal. Mold and mildew like to grow in warm wet areas and a helmet is the perfect environment for that. So what to do? A few things to help the situation would be to introduce a cleaning policy to include the following:
- Use solutions such as Sanizide or Steramine daily.
- Avoid using products like Listerine since they contain sugar that promotes mold and bacteria growth.
- Make sure to field strip the hat for cleaning. Components like the oral nasal and diaphragm should be addressed daily.
- The good news is that it should take no longer than 15 minutes per day.
Poor Air Flow Rate in Hoses
Another common area where we see issues is with the air flow in deck whips and umbilicals. Causes can range from hose degradation to critters deciding to move in. Spider egg sacks, for example, are a common sight.
We perform a flow rate test every year on hoses so that we can see if there is a significant difference in discharge. So, what can you do to prevent this?
- To prevent the critter issue, cap your hoses when not in use. Why invite things to take up residence in your hoses?
- Make sure someone performs a flow test from time to time noting pressure and flow rate and comparing it to the last test. This is the best way to see if there are internal issues with your hoses. Unless you have X-ray vision, it’s tough to know what’s going on in there.
- If there is a change in outflow, pump a soap (we’ve found that Dawn works well) and water solution through the hose. Rinse with fresh water to get the cleaning solution out, then re-test the discharge rate. Note any maintenance you perform.
Dry Suit Degradation
This is typically a favorite topic because it comes up often and dry suit repairs can become expensive rather quickly.
So let’s get right to it.
One of the most expensive repairs on any dry suit is the zipper. Since it’s a moving waterproof barrier, it takes a lot of abuse. Repair also tends to be pricey since the zipper has to be completely removed and a new one installed, which can be very challenging depending on factors such as placement (front zippers are always exciting due to their compound angles) and adhesives that need to be used.
So how do you get your dry suits to stay in production for the longest time? Here are a few suggestions.
- When cleaning, make sure that you completely rinse any cleaning solutions off of your suit and hang it (preferably inverted) so that it dries before you stow it. We’ve seen several that show up with “stripes” of delaminating material. That’s due to chemicals laying in the folds of the suit.
- Another challenge that we’re seeing here is the disintegration of Latex seals. Why? Well, the answer is more people using personal care products on their person. Some of those products actually appear to “melt” the Latex. How can you prevent this? By not using those products before diving and utilizing unscented talc inside your Latex neck and wrist seals. A little bag of talc goes a long way to prevent costly repairs.
- Lastly, making sure that those zippers stay in good shape. The best thing that you can do to avoid the expense of replacing a zipper is to make sure you lubricate it with ordinary bees wax. You can purchase beeswax in stick form and it takes, literally, 10 seconds to run it up and down the zipper. By applying some on your dry suit zipper on a regular basis, it will make sure that zipper serves you for years to come and your tender will thank you for not having to play a nasty game of tug of war with you.
I hope these tips serve you well in keeping your gear in tip top shape and saving you money in the process.
As always, dive safe.
Email your commercial diving equipment maintenance or repair questions to Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org