View all articles by John Bloom
The majority of masks today are made from silicone, which allows the mask to mould to your face, sealing easily and comfortably. Previously, masks were frequently made from rubber which would often become hard, crack over time and leak easily.
Before you wear your new mask you should clean it by applying a mild abrasive to the lens surface. You can accomplish this by rubbing a small amount of toothpaste over the lens with your fingers and rinsing it out. Once the mask is clean, apply an anti-fog solution to the inside of the mask lenses before each use or you can spit in them and rub it around. If you spit in them be sure to do a quick rinse in the ocean water.
Your mask should be stored in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight when not in use. Storing your mask in the protective box or case that it came in will further serve to protect it from damage. If you will be storing your mask for long periods of time be sure to use a mask box as it will protect it better and prevent damage.
Hanging your mask by the strap, from a hook in a closet works well, while storing it in a net gear bag provides ventilation, and will discourage mildew if it is going to be for a short period of time..
Your masks should be rinsed with clear, cool or lukewarm water after use. Periodically washing with a mild soapy solution and thoroughly rinsing it will extend its life. Avoid using an abrasive cleaner and try to keep it out of the sun. Be sure you rinse all of the sand from the crevasses.
Check the buckles and straps for rust, cracks or breaks after washing and before snorkeling or diving to ensure there is no damage. If repairs are needed it is best to discover before you go into the water.
Snorkels are usually maintenance free. Just rinse your snorkel in fresh water after each use and you will keep your snorkel in great shape. But, remember that there are a few areas of the snorkel that have a tendency to wear and tear. They include the mouthpiece, snorkel keeper and purge valve and are discussed below.
Your snorkel and regulator mouthpieces have tabs that are used to help hold them in place in your mouth by biting down on them. Over time and from repeated use you will eventually bite these tabs off or cut through them. Therefore, you should check your mouthpiece periodically for signs of wear and tear. Mouthpieces are easy to replace and your dive shop should stock them and be able to show you how to replace them if you have questions.
The snorkel keeper allows the snorkel to be attached to your mask and provides a means to adjust its level for easy breathing.
Snorkels should be stored in a cool, dry place, upside down like an inverted “j”. Storing it in a closet works well, but be sure to keep it out of your garage. Before storing your snorkel insure that it is dry, shake out all the water from the mouthpiece, tube and upper area. This will help prevent mold or mildew from growing.
Your snorkel should be rinsed with clear, cool or lukewarm water after use. Periodically washing with a mild soapy solution and thoroughly rinsing it will extend its life. Avoid using an abrasive cleaner and try to keep it out of the sun. If you do beach diving be sure you rinse all of the sand away from the crevasses around the mouthpiece and purge valve, if you have one.
Using a fresh-water rinse after each dive and storing them in a dry cool place, out of direct sunlight, will greatly extend their life.
Sadly fins receive the most use and abuse, remember they are meant for swimming, not walking. So don't walk on the pool deck, boat deck or beach in your fins, nor stand on their tips when you are in the water. Take the time to put your fins on just before entering the water, or in waist-deep water when you are beach diving. When exiting remove your fins just before you get out of the water.
Your fins should be stored in a cool dry place, with all of your gear. Be sure to dry off any water that may be present on the blades or in the foot pockets. This will help prevent mold or mildew from growing. When packing your fins lay them flat on a shelf or in a gear bag
Your fins should be rinsed with clear, cool or lukewarm water after use. Periodically washing with a mild soapy solution and thoroughly rinsing them will extend their life. Avoid using an abrasive cleaner and try to keep them out of the sun. If you do beach diving be sure you rinse all of the sand away from around the buckles.
If your fins foot pocket rips, there's not much you can do to fix it but straps and buckles are easily replaced and should be readily available at your local dive shop. If you are unsure as to how to replace them ask your dive shop and they will be glad to help you.
They key to maintaining you gear is always keep it in a cool, dry location. Out of the garage and avoid placing heavy objects on top of your gear during storage. By following these simple guidelines your gear will last for years and provide you with many enjoyable dives.