From time to time, either seasonally or due to other circumstances, a diver may have to think about putting their gear away for some period of time. Here we’ll give you a few recommendations on how to store scuba gear, while still keeping it in tip-top shape. There are a few main threats to our gear, and unfortunately, these are also some of the things they are most often subjected to — sun, water and salt.
Sun bleaches colors, makes rubber stiff and brittle, and fabrics stiff and fragile. Salt breaks down fabrics and rubber and oxidizes metals, causing rust. Water also causes rust, and makes fabrics rot. Various chemicals, such as engine lubricants and fuel, can also do damage, but it’s less common, though not impossible, for scuba gear to be subjected to these.
When cleansing your gear, you should seek to remove salt and any chemicals and allow the gear to dry completely. Store your gear in a dry location, and out of the sun. Keeping these general considerations in mind when storing scuba gear, it will generally do well.
Wetsuits and Drysuits
The main threat to wetsuits and drysuits is their exposure to water and salt, both from the water we dive in and from the sweat on our skin. The main purpose of cleansing these items is to remove this salt. Rinse the suit in fresh water, possibly adding a bit of an appropriate cleanser. Rinse both inside and out if storing for a long time, and hang these items to allow them to dry. Once they’re completely dry, store them either hanging or loosely rolled up in a cool, dry location out of the sun.
The same thing goes for BCDs, more or less. Rinse them on the outside and make sure to get into any pockets and under straps and other places where salt may accumulate. Detach the low-pressure inflator hose and fill the inside of the BCD about one-third full of water, and then re-attach the inflator hose. Shake the BCD up and down, turn it on its head, and swish the water from side to side to make sure that all of the inside has been rinsed. Then remove the inflator again and pour the water out. Repeat if necessary. Hang the BCD on a hanger and leave to dry thoroughly in a well-ventilated room. Store in a dry place out of the sun.
Regulator are best rinsed while still attached to a scuba tank with pressure in the hoses. This will prevent water from entering the first stage, where it can cause all kinds of problems. The second-best option is to make sure you’ve attached the first-stage valve protector, and only rinse, don’t submerge, the first stage in fresh water. Hoses and second stages can be submerged in water without a problem. Once dry, store loosely coiled up in a dry place out of the sun.
Fins, Mask and Snorkel
All of these get the same treatment as the gear we’ve mentioned so far: Rinse in fresh water, dry and store in dry location. Store your fins flat or with support; do not stand them on end, as this can warp them.
Computers must also be rinsed, and ideally removed from the console or wrist strap that they’re mounted on to ensure they are rinsed in those hard-to-get-to places. Store in dry location out of the sun, and if storing for a long time, consider removing the battery to avoid acid leaks from expired batteries.
Both knives and their sheaths must be rinsed and dried. If they’re made from titanium, this is all you need to do, but knives made from steel (even the stainless kind) should be rubbed with petroleum jelly to protect them and ready them for your next dive.
Cameras and Dive Torches
Rinse torches, camera (in housing) and any flashes and strobes, thoroughly in fresh water. Ideally, leave to soak for 30 minutes. If possible, remove the camera from its housing once dry. Remove any batteries from all units, and if they’re rechargeable, recharge them all the way before storing.