A few tips to help keep your dive kit in a safe and serviceable condition. It seems obvious, but when you clean your dive gear this is the perfect opportunity to visually inspect it for damage and or faults.
Ensure the dust cap is secured on the first stage. Apply pressure to it whilst rinsing in fresh water. Water entering the first stage is bad, the pressure change from 232bar to 9bar could cause any water inside the first stage to freeze. It could jam the regulator open and cause a free flow, or it could jam closed to stop the supply of air. Either way it could spoil you day. So don’t leave your first stage soaking to clean it. The second stages, these you can leave to soak. But don’t push the purge button whilst cleaning, this would allow water into the hose and back into the first stage. Which we have now established is bad. Allow your regulators to dry before you store them in their protective bag or box.
Hoses, carefully pull back the hose protectors and check that there isn’t a build up of salt or debris. Inspect the hoses for any wear (normally where the rubber connects with the metal fittings) and for cuts, bumps and blisters in the hoses.
Zips: close the zip and wash it down with a watering can or shower head, paying particular attention to the zip and the inflation and dump valves. It is always best to hang your suit up to store it, neoprene has a ‘memory’ and over time folds may become permanent. Store your suit with the zip lightly lubricated. If the suit is dry use zip wax, if the suit is damp use a lubricant, like McNetts zip lube. Store your suit with the dryzip open, this will avoid crushing and distorting the seal between the zips, teeth to prolong its life. Valves: the suits inflation and dump valves can come loose as neoprene compresses over a period of time, so check they are tight after you have cleaned your suit. The inflation valve: put a hand on either side of the valve (inside and outside the suit) and screw the two parts of the valve into each other (right=tight / left=loose) you will feel the two parts lock against each other. The exhaust valve is just the same, but as it doesn’t have a lock on valve you need to remember to depress the outside bit valve down fully prior to turning it and tightening. Some suit inflation valves can be dismantled for servicing, worth considering if it feels a bit ‘sticky’.
Give the BCD a good soak making sure you operate the pull dump valves to get rid of any sand and silt. Then slowly fill the bladder (the inflatable bag in the BCD) with fresh water by depressing the dump button on the top of the corrugated hose. Give the BCD a good shake around and dump out the water, repeat a couple of times. Once clean, inflate the BCD and allow it to dry. If you have (and you really should have) a couple of reels, a DSMB, a set of slates, a knife, spare torch, etc. pull these out, rinse and inspect. Having all this soggy and drying dive gear around the flat will probably test the patience of your partner. This I can’t help with. Breakfast in bed and the promise of having a days peace and quiet whilst you’re out diving is all I can suggest.