Bristol Channel Divers
Here are a few notes about getting your dive kit serviced. At all times, you are responsible for ensuring your kit is functioning correctly and there is no substitute for checking over your kit, regularly examining for defects or looming failures and correcting them as early as possible.
Diver magazine has been run a couple of articles on kit servicing. Links below:
Jackets, suits and accessories (June 2006)
Regulators etc. (May 2006)
It is generally advised that you have your regs serviced annually. Maybe you should get it done more often than that if you dive a lot. You need to take your regs to an approved service centre. It is not advisable to service them yourself and it is unlikely that you'll be able to get the service kits anyway.
If you dive using Nitrox, some say you should have your regulators cleaned and in Oxygen service although the general opinion is that, if your mixes are less than 40% this is probably not necessary. Again, seek the advice of your local service technician.
Additionally, you need to get your tanks inspected regularly. If you don't, dive shops will refuse to fill them.
For full details of the new tests required, click here. In brief, your air cylinders must be tested every 30 months, alternating between a visual test and a hydraulic test. The cylinders must be clearly marked with the last test date and carry an approved sticker showing the contents. Nitrox (referred to as "enriched oxygen" in the link provided) cylinders need to be tested every 12 months.
This probably won't apply to many club members, but there have been problems with some old aluminium tanks. Specifically, there was a bad Alloy going around in the '80s known as 6351-T6 which has been known to explode under pressure. Such cylinders need a Visual Plus Eddy Current test - your local dive shop will be able to advise. If you're not sure whether you have such a cylinder, check the original manufacture date stamped on the cylinder neck. If it's pre-1990, have it checked just to make sure. Note: this only applies to Alloy tanks (BS5045/3) and not to those stamped BS5045/3/C which are of a newer grade of alloy. More info.
Don't forget that there are other valves and intricate parts on your kit which will need servicing. These include;
There's a lot you can do with your kit to ensure it functions safely and efficiently. For example, knives and scissors should be washed in fresh water, cleaned of rust and lubricated. Your Webmaster uses a spray on silicon lubricant which seems to keep water off the metal quite well. A five year old dive knife is not showing signs of rusting on the blade yet.
DSMB reels can become tangled or badly wound on to the reels. You can wash these items and then spool out all the line into a pile on the floor. With the help of another person you can then wind all the line back so that it lies well on the reel. Don't forget to check the line for nicks or fraying!
Torches benefit from regular cleaning and battery replacement. Don't wait for the batteries to let you down on a dive. You might consider a note in the battery compartment with your name and phone number on it - if you lose it, some kind soul might just return it.
Check the battery and strap on your computer - if you lose the use of your computer on a dive you will have to resort to some kind of bailout procedure...and that's the dive over.
You'll think of other things too - zips need lubricating, fin-straps need checking etc, etc. It's never ending but don't forget we're dealing with life support equipment here.
Respect Our Wrecks!