As you prepare for the summer season by servicing, restocking and refreshing the yacht, don’t overlook the toy chest in the lazarette or tender garage. The dive equipment that provided the owner, guests and charter clients with undersea thrills all winter long is now in need of maintenance, service and possibly replacement.
Dean Marshall of Brownie’s YachtDiver says he frequently sees equipment dropped off by crew for service that’s in rough shape due to lack of maintenance or outright neglect. “A lot of the time, the gear is left without a crew member who is responsible for it, unlike the tender or the PWCs,” he says. “The biggest reason for failure across the board is that it’s stuck in a bag and forgotten about. You can image what happens if you take gear that’s wet – full of salt water – and put it in a bag for six months.”
Marshall offers the following tips for keeping the yacht’s dive gear in good working order:
1. For each piece of dive equipment, he recommends, “Always read the user’s manual – it will prevent ninety-nine percent of non-warranty issues.”
2. After every use, rinse all scuba equipment, including regulators, BCs, masks, fins, snorkels and wetsuits with warm, fresh water. When you rinse a regulator, make sure that first stage dust cover is in place and the purge valve on the second stage isn’t depressed.
3. Simple Green helps to reduce the damage from dried salt – and it’s environmentally friendly.
4. Let all the gear dry thoroughly before storing it in a cool, dry place.
5. Hang wetsuits in order to reduce the potential for mold to develop, especially over a long yard period.
6. Use dive bags that will allow air to circulate through them when stored.
7. Never store a dive tank empty. Without some air pressure inside, tanks can attract moisture that can lead to corrosion.
8. Between seasons, examine all BCs and wetsuits for fine cracks and other signs of wear and tear. Check that masks provide a good seal; the outer edges can become misshapen over time. Blow up all BCs and listen for air leaks and replace all worn-out gear.
9. All dive equipment should be serviced annually by an authorized dealer only. Call ahead to let the dealer know you will be dropping off the gear. Some, like Brownie’s, even provide dockside pickup service.
10. If you have an onboard compressor, it should receive an air test every six months. “The end user can take the sample, but it has to be sent to a lab for testing,” says Marshall. “This takes a couple of weeks.” Compressors should be run monthly, even when not being used to recharge dive tanks.
11. Seabobs should always receive a maintenance charge.
12. Gas should never be left in a Brownie’s Third Lung unit. Always store it dry.
Marshall concludes, “Dive gear needs to be treated as life support.”
Located in South Florida, Brownie’s YachtDiver stores specialize in outfitting yachts with a full range of dive equipment including air breathing compressors, Brownie’s Third Lung units and Nitrox systems. The company is one of the largest Scubapro dealers in the U.S. and also is the sole distributor for Seabobs in the U.S. and Caribbean.