How to Winterize your Diving Gear
The weather is getting colder and unfortunately many of us have to store our wetsuit and diving gear for winter. But we don’t recommend just storing your gear without cleaning it and giving it the proper maintenance. You know you paid some serious money for your gear and the sun and sand can damage your property fast. The sun bleaches the colors of your gear, makes fabrics and rubber stiff and fragile while salt breaks them down and oxidizes metals.
Here are some tips for cleaning your gear and removing salt and any chemicals to wash off and dry completely.
Taking Care of Your Wetsuits or Drysuits
The big issue with your wetsuits and drysuits will be the constant exposure to the sun, water, and salt. The purpose is simply removing the salt with some fresh water, as well as your gloves and booties.
Rinse inside and out and even use soap as well to get rid of odors, just make sure the soap is designed for neoprene.
After rinsing you need to hang your items and allow them to dry and once completely dry store them in a cool and dry place, out of the sun’s reach.
If you don’t let your suits dry they will grow mildew and even bacteria harming your gear.
If you’re going to hang your suit, use a wetsuit hanger not a wire hanger since it can leave marks in the wetsuit.
If you’re going to store it for a long time, roll it up instead of folding it.
Taking Care of Your BCD
It’s almost the same with your wetsuits, you need to rinse outside well enough so it goes in any pockets or straps, all with fresh water as well, and once the outside is well washed you do the same to the interior. Flush as much freshwater into the BCD through the low-pressure inflator.
Detach the low-pressure inflator hose and fill it with fresh water and re-attach to shake it repeatedly to make sure the inside has been rinsed.
Remove the inflator again and pour the water out. You can repeat this and orally inflate it to let water circulate inside the gear.
Inflate the BCD partially before storing it and hang it in a dry, cool place.
Taking Care of Your Regulator
To best rinse, your regulator, leave it attached to the scuba tank with some pressure in the hoses so it prevents water from entering the first stage. The internal parts are vulnerable to damage when exposed to water.
Another option is to attach the first-stage valve protector and just rinse instead of submerging the first stage in freshwater. Hoses and second stages can be submerged.
Once you’re done rinsing let it dry and hang it in a safe place out of the sun like all your previous gear.
Taking Care of Your Scuba Tank
Like the items before, rinse it thoroughly with fresh water so you prevent the tank from building salt up in the cylinder.
Make sure your cylinder is not full or empty, because the lack of pressure in an empty can contaminate easily and if full it can lead to cracks.
Store it in an upright position or horizontally in a secure place.
Taking Care of Your Mask, Snorkel, and Fins
As you can imagine by now, the same treatment goes for this gear. Rinse with fresh water and store in a cool, dry location.
Try to leave your mask in a safe place where it can’t be damaged by scratches in the lenses.
For your fins, keep the plastic inserts so they can maintain the shape and don’t become warped. Just place them flat or hang them onto a wide peg using the strap.