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Your BCD is one of your most essential pieces of dive gear
Your Buoyancy Compensating Device (BCD) is one of the most essential pieces of dive gear you will buy. With proper care, your BCD will provide you with between five and fifteen years of reliable service, although if you do not look after it, then it can be as little as twelve months. Following proper preventative maintenance can significantly extend the life of your BCD.
How To Care For Your BCD
Pre-Dive BC Care
Check whether your BC inflator is functioning properly. Fill the BC with air and listen carefully, if you hear the air still leaking into the BC, the inflator is stuck.
If the BCD has not been used for some time then dampen the tank cinch band before placing on the tank. If the cinch is dry then it will expand when you enter the water and the tank may slide out.
Post-Dive BC Care
Soak your BC in clean, fresh water as soon as possible after the dive for at least 10 minutes. Whether you are diving in open water or within a pool, it is very important to remove the residue built up from either salt crystals, debris, or chlorine.
Be sure to clean the interior of the BC as well. Debris and salt crystals can make their way into the BC when underwater through the ventilation of air. To clean the interior, push the deflation button while aiming the water from the hose into the mechanism. Once the BC is one-third full of water, shake the BC a few times to wash all parts of the bladder.
Empty all of the water from the inside of the BC. To accomplish this inflate your BC and then turn it upside down. Hold the deflate button while pressing the BC against your body, thus forcing the water out through the inflator hose. Repeat the process of inflating and draining at least three times.
Even with washing the inside of the BC bladder, salt crystals and bacteria will still build up so for every five or six cleans use BC cleaner and conditioner to ensure a perfect clean. Do this by firstly putting the fresh water into the BCD bladder, followed by four caps of BC cleaner and conditioner added through the inflation system. BC cleaner and conditioner Kills bacteria and breaks down harmful salt and chlorine deposits that can collect on dive gear at the same time it Silicone conditioners for all B.C.D. plastic and rubber parts, including valves and the BCD shells.
Always inspect your BC for tears, ripped stitching, cracks, and any other problems. This will take only a few seconds but will help you to prepare for your next dive, especially if something needs to be fixed.
Store Your BCD
Dry your BC in a cool, dry place. You can inflate it slightly, and then hang it over a railing or a hanger away from direct sunlight. Nylon fabric can quickly fade when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays, and extreme heat may damage the welded seams of the BC's air cell. Avoid any contact with oil, gasoline, aerosols, or chemical solvents.
Do not allow the BC to chafe against any sharp objects or rough surfaces BC. Do not store your BCD with weights in the pockets.
If you would like to know more, then do a PADI Equipment Speciality Course: