We often get asked about regular service requirements for your gear. Most brands recommend and/or require a yearly service by a certified technician.
Air tanks (aluminum and steel) need to be visually inspected every year. An internal inspection is completed as well as the exterior and valve. Upon completion the tanks will receive a visual inspection sticker which will be reviewed every time you get an air fill. Some older aluminum tanks also require an Eddy Current test because the alloy can be susceptible to cracking and this can be spotted with the test. All tanks also need a hydro static test every 5 years. This is a process that uses pressurized water to test the elasticity that the tank can hold when put under higher pressure than we would use with compressed air. Steel tanks often need a tumble for 24 hours after the hydro which will remove any of the flash rust on the interior of the tank.
BCDs are recommended to have serviced every year. Whether it is right before your dive season, or right after when you are ready to pack everything up! Annual check-outs ensure that your BCD is holding air, all dump valves are tight and secure and any debris has been removed from the interior. Fresh water lakes can allow some gunk to get inside but more importantly if you are diving in salt water and it is not well cleaned there can be chunks of salt left inside the bladder than can cause damage. And if you don’t believe us, ask to see the chunks of salt that we have removed from BCDs and have kept as evidence!
Regulators should be brought in for servicing every year. If you have purchased a new regulator; it is recommended to get an inspection at the 12 month mark, a full service at 24 months, inspection again at 36 months and full service at 48 months, etc. This will keep your regulator working at the highest level and with most brands keep you in the parts for life program. This means that if you stay up-to-date with these inspections and services that you will only need to pay for labour and not for parts for the life of your regulator (which saves big $$$).
When it comes to purchasing these larger items there is a great benefit to purchasing new equipment locally because we will send out email reminders about your upcoming services. That being said, technology has been known to have hiccups and it is ultimately your responsibility to ensure that your equipment servicing stays up-to-date!
There are many other components to dive gear including mask, fins, snorkel, wetsuits, dive computers, etc. that may not require an annual service. However, it is always good to check the condition of your gear prior to your dive season and post dive season before packing it away. Most of these can be rinsed in fresh water and dried (not in direct sun) to lengthen the life of the equipment. That being said there are certain soaps and rinses that can help keep moisture in the items and not allow them to dry out (crack, loose shape, etc.). Clips and straps can often be replaced if lost or broken and neoprene can be patched. Dive computer batteries should be checked prior to your dive season and always travel with a spare battery just in case!