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Save your Dive Trip with this Checklist!

Save your Dive Trip with this Checklist!

Written by Juli Cole, 23 March 2024.


You are so excited! Finally your big dive trip is coming up. How long has it been – six months, a year – don’t make me cry and tell me more than a year?  Whether you just own a set of fins and a mask, or have invested in multiple wetsuits, customized reg and BCD, it’s important to check out your gear beforehand. Taking a few minutes now will save a ruined dive trip later. What should you check for and can you repair it yourself?  If ever in doubt, contact your local dive shops and they will be more than willing and helpful to check your equipment for you and recommend any servicing (if needed) before your trip.

So, let’s get your gears out and let’s get checking. Do this at least two weeks before your scheduled dive trip if not earlier. Should anything need servicing or repairs, this gives you enough time to do so.

Regulators: It is generally recommended to have your regulator serviced annually or about every 100 dives whichever comes first. However, it only takes a few minutes to do an inspection on your own, especially if your equipment has been sitting for a while in our hot and humid climate. Take out your reg – look at the hoses, mouthpieces, anything made of plastic or rubber. Check for cracks, stretching, tears – anything that would compromise your air delivery. Look at the exposed O rings (do not disassemble your reg!) – do they look dirty or worn?  Check where the hoses screw into the first stage – are any of the connections loose or is there any corrosion? Check the action on the second stages of your reg and your octopus – do they feel too stiff or overly loose? You can tighten connections yourself with the proper tool – usually an Allen wrench, but if anything is cracked or frayed – do not use duct tape! Get it properly replaced. Remember, your life depends upon your reg performing correctly. Don’t take shortcuts. 

SPG: Look for corrosion, cracks in the hose, cracks in the face covering. If in doubt, take it to your dive shop and have them check it out for you.

BCD: Check for worn and frayed straps. Look for any tears or worn seams – loose threads. Check your inflator & auto dump valve – look for cracks or excessive wear. Trying inflating the bladder by mouth. Check your setup – how are you going to attach your octopus? Where are you going to store the loose end of your SPG? Storage for any other equipment you might have acquired from your last trip? Check your clips – metal ones can corrode or become stiff and difficult to open. I have some sewing skills and have modified straps on my BCD but would not make any repairs to the actual body or bladder. Sharp object vs bag meant to hold air?

Fins: Check the straps for cracks or tears. A tip- if you have replaced your dive shoes, check the sizing with your fins. You may need to readjust the straps.Mask and snorkel: Fill up the eye pieces with water in the sink and see if there are any leaks. Check the rubber around the nose piece and on the straps – look for tears or cracks. Same for the snorkel.

Wet suit, Dive shoes, Swimsuits: look for tears or weak seams that are about to come undone. Of all the equipment, these are of least concern as if they come apart, it is inconvenient and/or embarrassing but not potentially life threatening like if your reg fails. Check zippers for corrosion and performance. Tip on replacing dive shoes: take your fins with you for proper fitting (advice from a “learning experience”) If you have some sewing skills (or a friend who does) can easily and safely modify or repair these items

FORGOTTEN ITEMS: Some funny stories: my dive buddy and I flew to the Philippines, all excited to explore something different. Day three we were to meet a group at the pier for an all-day boat dive, going to some sites further out from the shore dives we had been doing. It was a 20-minute drive to the pier. My buddy and I disembarked from the truck, looked around the pier sizing up our group, then at each other. We were both still wearing our prescription eyeglasses and had forgotten our contact lens! A few hours later it was not so funny for me as I got seasick from diving without them.

Another trip, my dive buddy is scheduled to leave 5 am the next morning to catch a flight to reach the dive site. It is 7 pm the evening before and he is packing his gear – no swimsuits. Thankfully we had enough time to make a run to Decathlon and pick up something to make do. I was related a story of one diver who did not discover his missing swim trunks until he was on the island – oops!

What is typically forgotten? Almost anything: chargers, dive comp, batteries, SD camera cards, shoes, mask – and many of these items get forgotten in the hotel rooms at the end of the dive trips. One divemaster we met had attired himself in gear he acquired from stuff left behind by guests (not recommended).

My dive buddy and I have a checklist I keep in the back of my logbook that we faithfully go through as we prepare and pack going to the dive site, and as we gather our stuff out of the room at the end (granted I don’t lose or forget the logbook!) And it covers even the most basic things, like swimsuits and contact lens, because these are things we have forgotten about on a trip. So the top of my list starts with BCD, fins, mask, regulator – yes that obvious, but you never know what will be forgotten until it happens!

As you sort out gear for your trip, make a list and check it twice – hopefully it will save you trouble on your well-deserved holiday! Here’s a simple one you can download and use for all of your future trips!

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