Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

rinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

After a cruise, once you get home, it’s time to thoroughly rinse your gear, dry your gear, and take time for some review, maintenance, and planning.

Currently, I am living in a rental house while my home is being repaired from Hurricane Irma. The rental home I’m in does not have a patio, porch, deck, balcony – nothing. The entire wash/dry operation has to happen indoors these days. So, I would say, my current situation would be the same as anyone living in an apartment.

First, all the gear gets chucked into the tub. If you don’t have a tub, I’m at a loss – go to a friend’s house, go to a car wash, crash a hotel pool… So, once in the tub, it’s time to make sure the stink is out. Some dive friends of mine, suggested using a product I found at one of the local home improvement stores. It’s name is OdoBan(r), and I got a gallon of the concentrate in the lemon scent. I simply could not imagine my dive gear smelling like eucalyptus or cotton breeze! I put about a cup in a full tub, and fill the tub with warm water. I’ve read that unscented shampoo or dive-gear wash solution works as well.

rinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

Then I put the gear – including dive bag, weight bag, regulator bag – anything that could have gotten salty – even my hat – in the tub. For hours. Or a whole day. I pile everything in there to keep the BC’s underwater. I imagine there are all sorts of drawbacks to using a chemical, including rubber hose degradation, and you will have to weigh your desire for your gear to not stink with your desire for your gear to last longer. I make sure all pockets are open, my gloves out of the pockets, and all mesh bags are unwadded. I fill and empty my BC several times, draining it through the dump valves, inflator hose, and the pull dumps.

A thorough, thorough rinse is needed. A friend of mine suggested rinsing my BCD bladder until I can’t taste any salt coming out of it. Great advice.

rinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

I have developed a method for drying my gear. First, I use my mop and my broom to create bars from the corners of the tub enclosure to the actual shower curtain rod. It looks ridiculous, but beats hanging your wetsuit on the shower curtain bar and coming back to a puddle on the bathroom floor. For several hours, I allow my wetsuit and BCD to drip in the shower. Most other items are fine draining on the end of the tub further from the drain, taking advantage of the slope of the tub. Perfect time to put more notes in my dive log! Small items get “staged” and drip a bit in the sink before moving to the next stage.

rinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

My next stage is to move everything to the workout room. Yeah, if you like to dive, getting in your workouts makes all that gear-carrying a lot easier, increases your lung capacity – you know all the reasons why exercise is good for you. Anyway! In the workout room, that exercise machine is great for hanging wetsuits and sausages. The BCD’s go on the rubberized floor, with a fan set to “low” to keep air circulating. It takes a couple days to thoroughly dry out BCD’s, turning them every 12 hours. Make sure to inflate the BCD so all the crevices can dry, and watch that it holds air pressure.

My final move is transferring everything to hang from a tension rod temporarily installed over my dryer. The gear is out of the way, and the heat from the next few days’ laundry help thoroughly dry out all my items.

rinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

During this whole process, as I’m handling every piece of my gear, touching every inch of it, and I take this time to think over my gear. I ask myself it there is anything I took on the trip that was unnecessary. I think over if there is anything I should have taken that would have made the trip easier.

I keep checklists on my phone in the notes section. At this point, I can add or delete items from my list. Yes, my list for a spring dive is different from my list for a Caribbean dive, or a wreck dive. Different gear is necessary. My original list came from the DAN website. Their basic packing checklist is available here. See below for more of my favorites. It’s worth looking at several checklists, and then developing your own based on your particular interests and needs.

rinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

When I return from a trip, I uncheck each item on my list as I locate it in my dive bag and clean it. That way, I know if there is anything I took with me that did not make it back – gasp – yes, sometimes items go missing when you make several transfers from home to car to hotel to ship to boat to … you get the idea. Anything missing needs to be replaced now, well in advance of my next dive trip. My list even reminds me to remove batteries from my dive lights.

Also, keeping a list of your inventory is a good idea in case your entire dive bag goes missing and you need to file an insurance claim. Another idea here – while you have all your gear out drying, it’s a great time to take a photo of the collection so, again, if you need to file an insurance claim, you have a record since you have a lot more gear than you realize since you probably purchased it piece by piece. If you ever have to replace it all at once; it’s mind-boggling how many items are lashed to your BC alone!

rinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruiserinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

Next; wear and tear. I inspect each bit, each piece, each strap, each zipper for chafe, cuts, anything missing, bent, broken. Now is the perfect time to set aside anything that needs mending, replacing, or modifying. While the dives are fresh on your mind, and you’re looking at your gear; take note that you needed just one more D ring, or a new clip for something, or your snorkel keeper escaped.

Use a flashlight to inspect your bladder, put some ZIPCARE zipper lubricant on your dive bag. Check for cracks in rubber on fins and masks straps. Look at the “skirt” on your mask for tears. Look under hose protectors, look at anything that can corrode, I hear vinegar and a stiff brush can do a lot of good, followed by a good rinsing and a shot of silicon.

Check your computer battery, check your wetsuit. Yes, you can patch it rather than purchase an entire new one. There are several brands of wetsuit patch kits available online. Once you start using ZIPCARE, you’ll be applying it to every zipper in your life.

What We Learned: It does not take a huge amount of space to clean your gear. Lists are wonderful. Zipper lubricant can revive your gear.

Have you ever patched a wetsuit? What did you use? How did the patch perform?

Now, from the experts on all things diving, here’s a great article that is more about the science of the wash. While I gave you some useful tips and techniques, Scuba Equipment Care – Rinsing and Cleaning Diving Equipment published by Diver’s Alert Network is a thorough explanation of the intricacies of rinsing cleaning gear.

rinsing drying dive gear, Rinsing and Drying Dive Gear After a Cruise

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Thank you Bill for being the Best Dive Partner EVER!

Read Next: Rinsing and Drying Your Gear on a Dive Cruise 

Updated October 6, 2020


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