With travel restrictions persisting for what may be a while longer, many UK divers are struggling without a way to indulge in the wondrous hobby and, unless you are brave enough to dive in the waters in and around the UK during colder seasons, chances are your diving equipment is going unused.
Properly storing your diving equipment not only protects an expensive investment, as most diving gear can cost multiple hundreds of pounds (and that’s just for one person) but it can also prolong the life of your gear, allowing you to use it for longer without cause to replace any components.
In order to help you get the most out of your gear, and to keep it safe while it’s out of use, we’ll be going through our top tips for cleaning and storing your gear safely.
How to store a wetsuit
An essential piece of diving equipment, most divers will own some form of wetsuit, whether that be full length or a shorty wetsuit, and it can suffer damages you might not expect if it’s not properly cared for and stored after the dive season is over.
- Step 1: Thoroughly wash and scrub your diving wetsuit down after your last dive to remove any small contaminants that may have made their way into your suit. This applies to both salt and freshwater dives.
- Step 2: Once cleaned, all of your equipment must be allowed to dry completely before being stored to avoid damp damage. While doing this, however, be sure not to leave your diving gear to dry in the sun as this risks discoloration.
- Step 3: Once dry, hang your wetsuit up using special hangers or, if you don’t have access to these, we recommend using four or five standard clothes hangers per wetsuit to ensure the material is suitably supported and not bent out of shape around the shoulders by creases. Whatever you do, ensure the wetsuit is kept off the ground and it’s not folded as this will risk permanent creases and, if you choose to store in a shed or garage, even shredding damage from mice.
- Why self-store? In a self storage unit, there is no danger of mice and other unfriendly creatures getting into your unit and there’s plenty of room to hang the wetsuit straight instead of having to fold it up and store it in a bag.
How to store a drysuit
Very similar to a standard wetsuit, a drysuit performs largely the same function of protecting you during your dive but, instead of allowing you to get wet, a drysuit protects you from cooler waters by keeping you completely dry during your dive.
- Step 1: Similar to a wetsuit, you should be careful to rinse your drysuit after your dive to ensure nothing that can corrode your suit is present on the material whilst it’s in storage. Pay careful attention to the valves and zips on a drysuit in order to make sure the waterproofing components are not damaged.
- Step 2: Again, drysuits should be stored on a thick clothes hanger, or a group of them to make up for the lack of support, to avoid creasing but pay special attention to the zipper as this should be stored completely straight. This is important because, if the zipper is bent for a long period of time, this can cause permanent bends or even breakages which will negate the usefulness of the dry suit entirely.
How to store a BCD
An expensive piece of equipment that needs to be stored in a specific way to make sure it remains functional when you come to remove it from storage for any diving trips, a buoyancy control device, or BCD, should receive special attention during cleaning and storage.
- Step 1: Due to the conditions inside of a BCD being perfect for the breeding of germs, it’s particularly important that you clear out any contaminants with a specialised mild detergent.
- Step 2: As with the wet and dry suits, store the BCD on a wide hanger so that you can avoid any creases.
- Step 3: No matter whether you have a fusion bladder or a plastic style bladder, it’s recommended that you hang your BCD with a little bit of air in it to ensure the bladder walls are not sticking together whilst in storage.
- Why self-store? BCDs should always be stored out of direct sunlight as this can cause discolouration of the fabric and, if the sun heats it up enough, can cause lasting damage to it too.
How to store diving regulators
A vital piece of diving equipment, in the most literal sense of the word, your diving regulators need special care and attention both before you store them, and while you’re packing them away.
- Step 1: Regulators needs to be serviced once or twice a year depending on your model and the best time to store it is just after your service, not after your last dive of the season as no matter how carefully you wash it out there are likely to be traces from your last few dives, such as tiny grains of sand.
- Step 2: Before you store your regulator, make sure it is completely dry, that the dust cap is in good condition and is screwed on correctly.
- Step 3: For short term storage, it is recommended that you store your diving regulator hanging up with the tubes straight but for long term storage a thick, airtight plastic bag may be preferred as this will protect the tubes from any corrosion caused by the air.
- Step 4: If you’re storing your regulator for a long period of time, it may also be worth purchasing a second stage spring release system which slightly presses in the purge button and consequently takes the pressure off the spring. This will depend on the make and model of your regulator as some have an inbuilt spring release system for this exact purpose.
- Why self-store? Regulators should be stored in a cool, dark place that is blocked from any direct sunlight. This type of space is not available in many homes, especially if you’re also storing the rest of your dive gear alongside it, but these conditions are more readily available in a self storage unit.
How to store diving masks, fins and snorkels
If you are a frequent diver, chances are you have a favourite set of diving accessories that you use for every dive. To keep your masks, fins and snorkeling gear in perfect condition during the diving off season, follow these steps.
- Step 1: As with all of your gear, properly wash and rinse all of your diving accessories prior to storage to ensure no corrosive elements or bacteria are left on them.
- Step 2: Avoid leaving your flippers and masks against any surface, instead hang them up so that their own weight can’t create any creases or bends that will stop them from fitting properly when you next come to use them.
- Why self-store? Temperature is particularly important for these smaller pieces of equipment as the silicone lining in diving gear such as around the lip of the snorkel and the mask are subject to being dried out and cracking if left in a warm space and can suffer discolouration if left in direct sunlight. These conditions are easily provided by a self storage unit whereas some homes cannot be kept consistently cool for this purpose.
How to store scuba tanks
The easiest piece of equipment to store as it won’t require the same level of cleaning as the rest of your diving gear, the basic rules for scuba tank storage are as follows:
- Rule 1: Never store your tank completely empty of air for any length of time, instead ensure that you maintain a minimum of 200 psi.
- Rule 2: For short term storage (no longer than 3 months) you can store your scuba tank full of air.
- Rule 3: Store and secure your scuba tank in an upright position so that it can’t roll around or be damaged by tipping.
Due to the danger scuba tanks represent if they’ve suffered any damage, it’s important to have them checked and serviced by a professional and to always treat them with care when transporting and storing. Unfortunately, an additional consequence to them being potentially dangerous is that most, if not all, self storage companies won’t allow scuba tanks to be stored on site. However, unlike the rest of the diving gear, they don’t require the same careful conditions and, provided you store them with the care they require, they should be safe to keep in a garage, shed or other secure place at home on a short term basis.
Using self-storage for your diving equipment
The general rules for storing your diving equipment are to keep it in a dry, cool and dark location that cannot be broken into as, let’s not forget, special equipment such as BCDs and regulators can cost a lot of money, especially higher end models.
Protect your investment and prolong the life of your gear by making the most of our secure self storage units. With three prime Manchester locations to choose from, and a wide variety of sizes to suit your needs, keep your diving gear safe during the off season with Storage World.