diving is an equipment intensive sport and when we dive
our health, or even our life depends on it's good working
order. However, on any dive trip, you will see divers
that that seem to totally disregard care and maintenance
of their gear. Not only can this lead to unsafe circumstances,
it is very expensive as well. We have received articles
from divers that we believe will help you receive the
most benefit from your dive equipment and tips to help
you choose new equipment. If you are like us, you cannot
afford to buy new stuff every year, but you want to
count on your gear.
all the equipment we use when we dive , tanks seem to
be the most abused and uncared for. Watch divers getting
on or off the boat. They must think they are indestructible.
An by the looks of the tanks, they are not maintained
well either. Tanks and valves should be handled and
cared for just as any other piece of equipment. Take
care of them and you will be less likely to have a problem
during a dive or have cause to abort a dive. A quick
look back over the last couple of years also points
to the fact that a poorly maintained tank and valve
can be fatal. Several tanks have exploded while being
filled due to mistreatment and poor maintenance.The
following tips will help you with tank and valve care:
1. Handle with care just as you do your BCD or regulator.
2. Inspect the tank, valve and o-ring before every dive.
3. Rinse well with fresh water after every dive.
4. When you turn on your air, turn on gently and completely,
then turn back 1/4 turn.
5. Have your tanks inspected at least annually, more
often under extreme conditions.
6. Never bang the tank or valve.
7. Do not allow your tanks to be overfilled.
8. Never leave your tanks in direct heat or sunlight.
9. Never use oil based lubricants on valve o-rings.
10. Never attempt to service your own tank or valve
unless you are a qualified technician.
Contributed By Jason Lesley
Salt Water and Dive Equipment
cleaning and care can extend the life of your equipment
for many years. It is important in any environment that
you may be diving in, but salt water is especially damaging
if not attended to immediately after diving.
The following tips are provided for divers who are not
familiar with the corrosive effect of salt water, and
to the divers that dive the ocean regularly and wonder
why they must continue replacing equipment.
#1 Rule - Do not use a water hose to rinse your gear
and think it's clean. Somebody along the way had the
brilliant idea of a rinse tank, so put it to good use.
Most dive operators and resorts have a rinse tank for
cleaning your gear after the dives. Just be sure the
water in the tank is fresh. If you are the 30th diver
to use the same tank of water, you are cleaning your
gear in salt water.
- Always place your regulator in the tank first so that
will have time to soak while you complete the remainder
of the cleaning task.
- Mask, fins and snorkel can be easily rinsed and placed
out of the sun to dry.
- Skins, wetsuits, booties and soft weightbelts should
be hosed off, soaked and rinsed again to avoid having
the salt eat the threads away.
- Your BCD should be rinsed, soaked and rinsed again.
Pay special attention to the area behind the tank strap
and cummerbund. Use a hose to partially fill with water
and blow air into it. Shake the water around until it
reaches every corner of the bladder. Do this at least
twice, then taste the water from the bladder to be sure
the salt is out. Any salt that remains inside dries,
crystallizes and will cut the bladder like glass.
- As for your regulator, try to avoid the water hose
altogether. Water pressure has a habit of forcing salt
and sand into places where the sun never shines and
can cause hidden problems. After soaking for an extended
period of time, use your hand to clean the first and
second stage as well as the hoses and gauges. Swish
the regulator around to further dissolve any salt residue.
Also remember to never depress the exhaust button on
the second stage while immersed in water, as this will
allow water into the hose and up into the first stage.
Allow your gear to dry completely before packing it
away. If you are on vacation, most resorts have a secure
drying area where you can hang it until time for the
next dive. If you are taking your gear back to your
hotel, you should lay out everything to let it dry.
Finally, have your gear serviced annually no matter
how well you clean it and regardless of how much you
dive. If you live near and dive the ocean regularly,
you should have an extra 33 gal. trash can, just for
the purpose of cleaning. An added benefit to BCD care
is using a bottle of listerine inside the bladder several
times a year. Use it just like rinsing the bladder and
shake it around. This will kill the germs and fungus
and make it more bearable when you use your LP hose.
May you and your equipment have a long and lasting relationship.
Contributed By Ellie Mozul
Prescription Dive Masks
What's In The Sea
Where's that barracuda? Where did the stingray go? Is
that a shark or my dive buddy? You obviously need glasses,
Whether novice or expert, divers who wear eyeglasses
may be perplexed by visual needs underwater. Perhaps
you've asked your local dive shop about your vision.
However, they may not have been able to give you professional
Statistics show that water magnifies objects by approximately
22 percent. For those of you who are slightly far- or
near-sighted, the water becomes a natural eyeglass.
However, for those of us with more of a vision deficiency
who need glasses underwater, there are a few alternatives.
The most logical way to satisfy the problem would be
to try and wear your glasses under your divemask. This
wouldn't work for several reasons:
- The templates (sidepieces) that sit over your ears
would protrude on the side of your head and would not
be an appropriate seal because water would constantly
leak into the mask.
- The straps from the mask would cause the templates
of your glasses would press hard against the side of
your head producing pressure and possibly pain.
- Wearing glasses underwater has never been done successfully.
Another option to consider would be contact lenses.
People who wear contact lenses have great success with
them underwater. However, one concern for wearing contacts
underwater is the possibility of having them dislodge
by regular blinking, or when you are clearing your mask.
According to Dr. Paul Gilwit, a Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Opthamologist, " When a lens is dislodged, bad
corneal abrasion accompanied by possible pain and blurred
vision could occur. Thus, it is much safer and preferable
to have the prescription put into your divemask."
Imagine this scenario. You have been planning a week
long dive vacation for several months. On the first
day, you are 90 feet down and water gets into your mask.
You try to clear the water out of your mask only to
find that your contact dislodges. At first it floats
around in your mask and then escapes out to sea. This
would not be very much fun, for there goes your vacation.
Wouldn't it be a lot smarter to carry an extra pair
of contacts, or back-up prescription mask in your gearbag
that couldn't get lost in the ocean?
In addition, some studies have shown that when contact
lenses are exposed to water they become full of bacteria.
These reports further suggest that contacts need to
be disinfected after each dive. What a hassle....
Fortunately, there are now alternatives to see better
under the sea, thanks to some of the divemask companies
who are addressing underwater visual problems.
For example, you can purchase perspiration lens insert
for several brand name masks. These will work for some
prescriptions, but not for most. The inserts are available
in standard minus sphere powers, but do not allow for
astigmatism corrections or farsightedness. Unlike your
prescription eyeglasses, which put your prescription
right in front of each pupil, the over-the-counter inserts
are not designed to do do the same.
The final and probably best alternative is to have prescription
lenses ground and bonded to your dive mask. This method
allows for astigmatism corrections as well as proper
placement of lenses in front of the pupils in the mask.
Custom prescription lenses are shaped for the individual's
mask faceplate, thus providing greater peripheral vision
as well as good aesthetics.
A wide range of lens choices are now available due to
modern technology. One is no longer limited to one or
two styles, and may select the mask of choice, thereby
giving you the freedom to find the mask that fits you
best. For aesthetic reasons only, a dual lens mask is
more desirable for for custom lenses than those with
a single lens faceplate. All major gear manufacturers
have dual lens masks available.
Advanced technology has also made lens discoloration
avoidable. In the past, when lenses were inserted and
adhered to the faceplate, the lens would turn yellow
after a period of time due to the type of glues that
were used. Today's modern method of bonding eliminate
the future discoloration of your lenses.These new methods
do away with lens fogging as well.
The care and maintenance of a prescription divemask
would be the same as a regular mask. A good freshwater
rinse followed by air drying is the proper way to take
care of your mask. Like all silicone products, your
mask should not sit in direct sunlight for long periods
of time as this tends to dry out the silicone.
This article contributed by Mitchell Small, a licensed
optician and owner of Sherwood Optical Studio in Pompano
Beach, Florida. He specializes in making prescription
dive masks and has been a certified diver since 1988.