It makes sense to check that all of your gear is in good order before you depart on any dive holiday. This will help to ensure that gear failures do not lead to aborted or missed divers, or worse.
Some of these checks can be done by you. Others may require the services of a qualified technician if you do not have the skills and knowledge to do it yourself.
Perform these checks several weeks before any trip, so if maintenance or replacement is needed, you have plenty of time to attend to it.
Mask: Is the strap OK? Look for signs that it is perishing, or likely to break. Replace if in doubt. Check that it seals onto your face by using the standard “fit” test of putting it on without straps, and inhaling.
Fins: Are the buckles intact? Are the straps damaged? Replace if in doubt.
Thermal Suit: Check for fit, especially if it has been a while since you dived, and the suit has shrunk (!!!) Check and lubricate zippers.
Buoyancy Compensator: Inspect the bladder for leaks by inflating it and immersing it into a bath. Check the dump valve for function. It should be airtight unless opened manually. Check the hose for perishing. The inflator mechanism should be checked for function, and freedom from leaks. If there seems to be a problem, unless you are sure of what you are doing, it might be time to find a qualified technician.
Computer: Check the strap for damage. Ensure the battery life is sufficient for your intended dive schedule.
Torch: Inspect O rings for damage, then clean and lubricate them. Clean seal faces thoroughly. Buy fresh batteries for the trip.
Regulators: If any of these tests give you cause for concern, and you do not possess the skills to sort it out, it is time to visit the experts again. Inspect all hoses for damage, looking especially at where hoses join fittings. Replace if you are in any doubt. Check all demand valves for ease of breathing. Next, check for leaks by immersing the entire regulator and valve while attached to a cylinder and turned on, and look for bubbles.
These basic steps are of special importance if you and your gear have been idle for an extended period.
Article by DAN AP Director and Instructor, Stan Bugg
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