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  1. Once you invest in dive gear, you want it to last as long as possible. To do this, a vigilant maintenance ritual is essential! Here are some recommended steps: 1. Rinse it immediately after use This is the first very important step. After a dive, salt or chlorine could leave some harmful residues on your gear. Rinse it in FRESH water as soon as you dismantle your kit to clear the dirt and reduce the risk of corrosion. 2. Dry it properly away from the sun Thoroughly dry out your gear after a day's diving. You can use a towel for the small parts (like first stage) and then hang it in an open air area. Enclosed places will make your gear smelly, humid and can also promote the growth of mould. It is very important to keep it away from the sun while drying because sun can damage some materials. 3. Store it for the next time Try to find a shaded dry and fresh room to protect your gear from humidity, sun and overheating. If you have no choice but to store it in a closed bin or other space with restricted air flow, consider using silica gel packets or even an open box of baking soda to absorb extra moisture. How to clean every piece of your Equipment? MASK It is really important to prepare well your mask before the dive so that it won't get foggy. First you need it to be very clean. Fresh from the manufacturing line, a new mask often has a residual layer or silicone covering the tempered glass which will create lots of fog during a dive. There are many methods to treat a mask including soaking it overnight in cola, using toothpaste on the inside and burning it with a lighter. In my opinion the best way to remove that pesky extra silicone is to first burn it so that the lenses turn black. Be careful to stay away from the edges of the lenses with the flame as you can damage the seal between the glass and the frame. Rinse off the soot and then thoroughly massage toothpaste onto the inside of the lens and let it dry all night. The day after wash it with dish soap and rinse. You might need to repeat the process few times before it is efficient. Patience ! Also when you soap up your mask before your dive, be sure not to rinse all the soap out. You don't want it to burn your eyes but that little soapy film will prevent fogging quite efficiently. REGULATOR Before doing anything, read the manual for specific procedure. When you take your regulator of from the tank, clean and dry the first stage tank connection to make sure there is no dust or water on it. Blow dry the dust cap and screw it firmly back in place. Rinse the entire regulator in fresh water as soon as possible after use. Be careful not to press the purge button of the 2nd stage, which might open the valve and make some water seep into the 1st stage. The best is to dunk the second stages into fresh water, paying special attention the the mothpice and any connections. Remove the hose protectors from their place to rinse the length of hose hidden by this rubber sleeve. Dry it away from the sun without twisting hoses. Have your regulator professionally serviced in an authorized dive center every 2 years, or according to the manufacturer's directions. Be sure to always have this technical maintenance carried out by a trained licensed professional. This piece of equipment keeps you alive underwater, so please be responsible with making sure it is up the the precious task. BCD Be sure to check your BCD before every dive. Are the releases well clipped? Is your cylinder band secure and safety strap in place? Does you LPI function correctly with both power and manual inflators? Does the LPI's direct system deflator button work well? Do the emergency dump valves quickly and effortlessly deflate the BCD? After the dive give your BCD a bath on the inside and out as prolonged exposure to salt water can degrade the inner bladder as well as the seems and stitches. Rinse the outside with fresh water then partially inflate and dump out any extra seawater that may have gotten trapped inside. Be sure to use your emergency dump valves to drain the water as salt water can damage the direct system on the LPI very quickly. Now pour some fresh water into the BCD through the manual inflate mouthpiece to rinse the inside. have a little dance with your BCD as you turn is upside down and in all directions to move the fresh water to every corner of the bladder. Now hold it as high as you can with your emergency dump valve at the lowest point of the jacket and purge the water through the dump valve. Partially inflate and let it dry away from direct sunlight in an open air place. Store it in a dry room. EXPOSURE SUIT After every use, rinse your exposure suit inside and out in freshwater. If you have access to warm water, this will help dilute salt and chlorine more readily and flush residues out of the fabric. Lubricate the zippers with Vaseline or silicone lubricant. Make sure to coat the length of the zipper by doing up and undoing the zipper several times after greasing it up. This can also help remove any small particles that can jam it up and damage it. Dry and store it on proper hangers, large enough to prevent lasting folds in your suit. I always prefer to fold my wetsuit in half over the hanger instead of placing the hanger's arm's in the shoulders like you would with a coat. When the suit is wet it is quite heavy so hanging it the way you would hang up a shirt can actually stretch out the shoulders over time, deforming the upper half of the garment. You can even get hangers specific for diving equipment with little hooks and clips designed for hoods, gloves and other accessories. KNIFE Even your blade is stainless steel, you need to rinse it properly after diving. Take it out of its protective sheath and if you can, open it completely. This will allow the blade to dry and prevent rusting and also can free small salt particles from the joints. Dry it properly with a towel and store it in it’s case again so you don't risk damaging your gear or yourself. FLASH LIGHTS Rinse it with fresh water as soon as you can, so salt water doesn’t have time to dry on it and leave marks. Press the ON/OFF button few times underwater to remove any dust or salt particles and make sure the button doesn't jam up in either position. Remove it from the water and dry it on the outside. Make sure your hands aren't wet and to open it gently so any lingering water doesn't get inside. Remove, dry and clean all the joints and lubricate the o-rings and threads. Put it back together and store the battery and the torch separately in a dry area away from heat. MORE ARTICLES ABOUT DIVING SECURITY ON OUR BLOG
  2. Most of the best dives are in a location where you are likely to meet strong currents. Take as example our beautiful Mergui Archipelago: currents bring nutrients and therefore lots of underwater life. But, it can be tricky to navigate, especially if you can't drift with it because the underwater topography doesn't allow it. Below you will find a few tips to make your immersion more comfortable and safe! 1) CHECK THE CURRENT FROM THE SURFACE If there are any marker buoys at the surface, have a look at them. Usually if there is some current you will see it splitting at the marker level. It will give an indication of the direction and the speed. Check the tide timetable, it could give you indications of whether the tide is going down (you have more chance to have a North to South current), or up (South to North current). Currents are weakest when its at its highest or lowest point so depending on the dive site you want to explore, this can be a great time to dive. Ask the diving professionals or the captain of the boat. They might know how to read the water movement from the surface and can even give you tips to be able to understand it yourself. 2) USE AN APPROPRIATE ENTRY / DESCENT Depending where you want to dive, you will have to chose the best and safest entry. if you can find shelter at the surface: (a rock or island rising out of the water) If you are diving from a big boat, it might be easier for the dive group to jump into a dinghy. This can allow you to get as close as possible to the entry point where you can be protected from a strong surface current which could make you drift away from the dive site before descending. Thereby, especially for beginners, you can still go into the water positively buoyant and take your time to go descend slowly. If you dive a pinnacle (underwater mountain) : From a big boat or a dinghy, the best way to enter will be with a negative entry (with no air in your BCD). You will not be affected by the surface current and will be able to go straight down and meet the group at the bottom. 3) BE STREAMLINED If you have to swim against the current, you have to maintain a horizontal position in order to reduce water resistance. Proper weighting is the key of being streamlined! Moreover, make sure all your equipment is streamlined. Any alternate air source hose, torch or pointer dangling off your gear can get stuck in the reef or make your movements more difficult. If you are photographer, diving into current with very big cameras can be tricky. If you have the option to take a smaller device for strong current dives, don't hesitate! If you find yourself out of breath or too tired to kick against the current, stay close to the bottom and find a piece of rock or dead coral to rest. You can also pull yourself with one or two fingers to help you reach the point of interest. Obviously do this while staying respectful to the environment; Don't touch anything alive, and limit contact as much as possible. 4) WATCH THE FISH! Watching how this fish move can give you an idea of how to deal with the current. For example, if you see a fish close to a rock staying still, you would want to seek shelter in the same place if you want to rest. If you see a fish swimming in a vertical head up position along a wall or a slope, you understand that you will have to face a down current; don't panic and adjust your buoyancy. Schools of barracuda or trevally hunt swimming against the current so seeing this behaviour can give you an indication of current direction. You can also observe how strong they are swimming to have an idea of the strength of the current. 5) ALWAYS THINK ABOUT SAFETY FIRST - You will use more gas fighting the current, so check your air gauge more often. - You might have to stay in deep areas to find shelter or to observe the underwater life revolving around you. Be careful to watch your No Decompression Limit closely! - If you get caught in an uncontrollable current and have to end the dive, deploy your Surface Marker Buoy as soon as possible so the captain can follow you from the surface during your safety stop. It will avoid surfacing far away from the boat and long swims. - Dive with a professional or experienced diver who can give you advice on your technique and guide you around the dive site safely. - If you don't feel comfortable, end the dive! Your well-being is the most important thing to consider. SEE ALL OUR MOST POPULAR BLOGPOST
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