Your scuba diving equipment is your lifeline underwater. It keeps you alive, keeps you warm, and ensures that you can get everything you’re hoping for out of your diving experience. While it can be tempting to hang onto old favourites and resist the urge to splurge on expensive gear on a regular basis, there’s no escaping the fact that your gear will need replacing at some point. Failure to do so will not only keep you lagging behind the latest technological advancements, but it’s also a massive risk to your safety.
However, knowing when to replace your scuba diving equipment can be tricky. A lot of the key components of essential gear are hidden beneath their exterior and each item brings its own set of rules or guidelines. For this reason, we’ve compiled a handy guide that covers everything you need to know as you weigh up your latest dive upgrade.
When it comes to replacing your scuba diving equipment, there are a number of reasons why you might be pushed to do so. Typically, if something is so old that you can’t even remember when you got it, it should probably be replaced. Equally, if your equipment is uncomfortable or inconvenient to use, get rid and invest in something that actually enhances your dive experience.
Beyond these obvious reasons to upgrade your gear, there are a number of other reasons why you might be better off replacing your old favourites. These include:
Aside from your training and awareness of scuba diving safety rules, your equipment is the main thing that is keeping you safe. You wouldn’t dream of setting foot in your car if the seatbelt wasn’t working, so you shouldn’t consider using your scuba diving equipment if it isn’t able to perform as it should.
Noticeable wear and tear is a telltale sign that your gear is past its best and no longer safe to use. Over time, saltwater, the sun, and general use will all cause your equipment to lose its effectiveness. As a result, you might notice that your hose has become cracked and corroded or that your wetsuit is getting marked or thinning and subject to tears. At this point, make sure that you replace your equipment and ensure that you stay safe in the water.
Over time, you will naturally find that your equipment needs and requirements change. It can be tempting to cling onto your first pieces of equipment for sentimental reasons, but beginner gear will simply not cut it as a more advanced diver.
As your ability improves and you start to visit different environments and try out different types of diving, you’ll need different gear. For example, if you become confident enough to give night diving a go, your existing torch might no longer be suitable and a more advanced replacement like the Orca D530 and Orca D710 will be the way to go.
Even if it’s well-maintained, scuba gear has a finite lifespan. Though you should always check that you are abiding by manufacturer guidelines in terms of servicing and maintenance, there are instances where it may be suitable to replace your scuba diving equipment earlier than anticipated. Newer gear will offer improved features, materials and safety standards - all of which improve your diving experience - so stay aware of the different developments and technologies available and don’t be afraid to try something new if you’ve held onto the same old items for some time.
Once you’re aware that your scuba diving equipment needs to be replaced, the next challenge will be to find the right replacement. There are cases where it might make sense to buy a piece of equipment second-hand (for example, if a friend and fellow diver is selling something new they bought but haven’t used), but we typically recommend that you avoid replacing your gear with pre-loved items.
If another diver is selling something, it’s likely that they have gone through the same process that you are and have decided that their equipment is no longer safe or suitable. The money you might save does not outweigh the price you should put on your safety and enjoyment.
There is no definitive hierarchy when it comes to which piece of dive equipment should be replaced first. However, it’s best to pay extra attention to the items that are essential for your safety. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some key pieces of advice for some of the most important bits of scuba gear.
Both the strap and the skirt of your mask play an important role in ensuring that it fits appropriately, but both can wear away pretty quickly. However, it’s relatively easy to identify when your mask needs to be replaced. A mask should always fit closely to your face, so if you find that it is slipping during use or constantly leaking then it’s time to get a new one. You can explore Aquanauts’ full range of masks here.
Your wetsuit is another item that will inevitably need to be replaced at some point. Most will last for around 3 years depending on use and you should always look after your wetsuit by rinsing it down with cold water after a dive. However, keeping yours much longer than this will likely result in it not insulating your body as it should. If you notice any rips or tears in the fabric, you should also replace your wetsuit immediately. If you fancy going neoprene-free, why not invest in the fantastic Scubapro Everflex Yulex wetsuit?
Knowing when to replace your BCD is a crucial aspect of your safety in the water. There are a number of things you should monitor if you’re not sure whether it’s time to get a new one, namely the age, appearance and performance of your BCD. Keep an eye out for any tears and corrosion in both the outer shell and the zips of your BCD, as well as staying on top of servicing guidelines. Steer clear of patching your BCD frequently. If you are constantly having to arrange for repairs to be made, then it’s time to upgrade to something new.
The same logic applies to your dive computer; if it cannot be serviced by a professional, it’s time to get rid. Even the best dive computers can develop issues over time so don’t hesitate to part ways with yours. Waning battery life is a common sign that a dive computer has reached the end of its useful life but you might also find that the screen and buttons begin to be hard to use or see over time. Replace yours with something new and versatile like the Scubapro Luna 2.0 which is a feature-rich highly visible nitrox-compatible dive computer with advanced dive safety features.
Your regulator is probably the most important piece of equipment that you’ll need to know how to replace. After all, a regulator allows you to breathe underwater so you should never even consider setting off on a dive if you’re not sure that yours is in tip-top condition. Get yours serviced annually and pay attention to its visual appearance. Cracks and bulges indicate that the moving parts of your regulator are not performing properly and you should prioritise investing in a new one if this is the case. Here at Aquanauts, we stock a huge range of 1st and 2nd stage regulators as well as complete regulator sets. Our team can also assist with your annual regulator service, so don’t hesitate to get in touch should you need to make sure yours is properly maintained.
Are you reading this before the 31.12.23? Why not take advantage of our Apeks Ocea Trade-In Deal and get a fantastic new environmentally friendly set of regulators at a 30% discount?
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