Scuba equipment is obviously resilient since it can handle deep-sea diving, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be damaged by improper storage. Many divers have special storage areas for their scuba gear when it’s not being used, but not everyone has the space and conditions necessary to store scuba equipment safely.
A good option in this situation is self storage. Reserving a storage unit for scuba gear can be a sensible short-term or long-term solution for divers who need a safe place to keep their diving equipment. With a climate-controlled storage unit and prepping equipment ahead of storage, it’s easy to protect your gear from costly damages.
Let’s take a closer look at how to store scuba equipment with some advice from the experts.
How Climate-Controlled Storage Protects Scuba Gear
You might not think climate control is necessary for scuba equipment that holds up to various underwater temperatures, but too much heat can actually destroy your gear, particularly your wetsuits.
According to Eric Schulte, Technical Service Manager at SCUBAPRO, a premier manufacturer of scuba diving equipment since the early 1960s, the plastics and synthetic rubbers in wetsuits can be ruined when not stored a climate-controlled environment.
“Heat will cause a breakdown and [dry] out of all the plastics and neoprene over a period of time,” says Schulte. Because the fibers in wetsuits are so delicate, it’s important that they’re stored at a moderate temperature.
The same goes for other equipment, including electronics, oxygen tanks, gauges, snorkels, masks, and regulators. Since scuba equipment uses specific materials for underwater use, they’re extremely susceptible to overheating.
Rinse and Dry Your Wetsuits Before Storage
Scuba gear experts say it’s important to rinse your wetsuit and other scuba equipment with fresh water after diving in salt water. “If you do not rinse the scuba gear with fresh water, the salt will get into every nook and cranny and eat the equipment alive,” says Eric Mahan, shop manager at Catalina Diver Supply in Avalon, Calif., the longest-running, full-service diving facility on Catalina Island. “It can be very detrimental for the equipment.”
After rinsing your scuba equipment with fresh water, Mahan says it’s also a good idea to dry everything before putting it in self storage. “You want to make sure everything is dry, or the equipment will develop mildew.”
As for packing a wetsuit for storage, Mahan warns against shoving a wetsuit into a moving box. By placing a wetsuit in a cramped space, it can have a negative impact on the quality of the suit for future use. “Loosely packed or hung on a hanger is preferred,” he says. “If a suit becomes compressed, it will loose its shape.”
Don’t Leave Scuba Cylinders Empty
Scuba cylinders play a vital role in diving and can be an expensive investment. To avoid having to replace your cylinder due to improper storage, scuba diving experts recommend never storing an empty tank.
“A scuba tank should always be stored for long periods with a lower pressure (i.e., 200-300 psi), but not empty, to avoid corrosion and breathing air contamination,” says Schulte.”
“[Storing scuba cylinders with low pressure] will help them from taking on moisture,” adds Mahan. “If they’re empty, they can get corroded, and it will eat the bottle from the inside out.”
Also, Mahan recommends checking with storage facilities before storing scuba cylinders, as some facilities may have policies for storing compressed air.
With these helpful tips, your scuba gear will be kept safely in storage. One last thing the experts note is that it’s always a good idea to have your scuba equipment checked out by a certified scuba repair facility before your next dive, especially if it’s been in storage for long periods of time. This will ensure everything is in working order and won’t cause problems during your next outing.