It’s that time of year again. You’ve saved up your pennies, purchased your tickets, and booked your hotel room on beautiful Seven Mile Beach in the Cayman Islands. Just as your headed out the door you realize you’ve forgotten something, your annual dive gear check!
Don’t get me wrong, as a Cayman Islands dive operator, I’m more than happy to rent you gear. This is an easy option for those who aren't keen on traveling with bulky dive bags or don’t actually have their own gear. For those that do, there’s nothing more frustrating than lugging down 30 pounds of gear, only to find out that it’s malfunctioning and you cant dive it.
Follow these simple steps prior to your trip and save yourself a few of those hard earned dollars.
I know, you’ve had ole Betsy since your PADI open water class back in 1979. She’s never failed you and now you question even checking if she still holds air. Do yourself a favor, fill the old gal with air, take her to the bath and fully submerge her while checking for leaks. It’s also a good idea to hook the low pressure inflator up to an air source. While holding the inflate button next to your ear, press it a few times listening for leaks after your release the button. If you hear anything, it’s time for a service.
As your regulator sits quietly in the box labeled “SCUBA STUFF” high in the garage, it’s actually dying a slow death. Regulators are tools that are meant to be used. They don’t like to sit and will often malfunction due to the excess pressure on the seating mechanism. To prevent this, pressurize your regulator once a month. If it’s been a while since you've done this, pressurize the regulator, lightly depress the purge button on both second stages and release. Now, listen for leaks. If you hear anything, it’s time for a service.
Great news, masks come in plastic boxes! Keep you mask dry and in it’s original box and you should be good to go. Most mask issues typically arise from improper storage, misshaping the sealing surface.
Whether you dive full foot fins or open heal adjustable, it’s important to check a few things before giving them the all clear.
Open heel adjustable fins are notorious for their poorly designed fin straps. These seem to break at the most inopportune time. It is for this reason that I recommend full foot fins. If this isn't your thing, at the least you should carry TWO spare fin straps in your bag.
Full foot fins, for the most part are bullet proof. That is unless you fold them in half and store them in the hottest imaginable corner of your garage. Make sure the foot pocket hasn't dry rotted since the last use and you should be good to go.
Until the salt water powered dive computer is invented, you will need to have an annual service done on your unit. Some manufactures make changing your own battery easy and worry free while others insist on sending it away for a service and pressure test. Either way, make sure you have plenty of juice to complete your holiday.
Renting dive gear due to faulty equipment is a cost that is easily avoidable. Following these simple tips will ensure a safe and enjoyable diving holiday here in the sunny Cayman Islands.