Essentials: Dry-Land Precautions

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, October 1994

Essentials: Dry-Land Precautions
By John L Stein

It's not the wear that usually ruins dive gear--it's the care, or rather the lack thereof. Some precautionary tips to keep things in good working order above the surface, so you'll encounter no surprises below:

Get Organized
Separate the heavy (regulators, instrument consoles, and weights) from the light (masks and snorkels). Pack your mask in its original plastic box to avoid mashing the skirt and damaging the lens, and make sure that your dive computer is wrapped in padding. On the boat, use a gear bag to keep your wearables from sliding around, and secure your instruments and regulator to your tank. Pay special attention to where you put your computer: It can overheat or get discolored in the sun.

Remember to Rinse
After a dive, rinse all your gear in fresh water. Salt water will eat away at any metal, including expensive aluminum, and sand can scratch and clog air mechanisms. Let your suit drip-dry between dive days to keep it from smelling like a salt marsh.

Bag It
Sun and ozone will eat away at soft plastics and rubber, so store everything in the shade and out of the air. Pack whatever you can into airtight bags, making sure everything is dry. You can make do by wrapping bigger items--BCs, fins, and wetsuits--in heavy-duty garbage bags. Don't hang regulators and consoles; it can permanently stretch or kink the hoses. Do hang wetsuits, but not by draping them in half over a line: Permanent creases are for dress pants.

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