We’ve got predive and postdive steps to keep your BC in top-notch working condition
If you want to extend the life of your BC for years to come, follow our maintenance tips:
Check your BC inflator by connecting it to a regulator that’s hooked to a tank. Shoot a few bursts of air into the BC, then release the inflate button and listen for air leaking into the BC that would indicate a stuck inflator. A technician must repair any leaks before you get in the water. Next, inflate your BC until the pressure-relief valve pops off, and let the BC stand for about 20 minutes to see if it holds air pressure. While the BC is inflated, check the cummerbund, waist strap, shoulder straps, tank band and all the buckles for excessive wear. If your BC has metal buckles, check them for corrosion, which will weaken the metal structure and eventually cause the buckle to fail. A buildup of white chalky substance or green powder in addition to rust are indications of corrosion. Minor corrosion can generally be cleaned with a stiff brush and a little white vinegar—be sure to rinse the item afterward so the vinegar is thoroughly removed—and a quick spray of food-grade silicone will help to stop future corrosion if it is applied routinely after your equipment is clean and completely dry.
Rinse your BC in fresh, warm water. Take all the air out of your BC, place it in the bottom of the rinse tank, hold it down with your weights and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Then, drain the tank, rinse the equipment to remove most of the soap, refill the tank with fresh water and allow the equipment to soak a few more minutes to remove any soap residue. To rinse the inside, depress the manual-inflate button and hold the mouthpiece under running water until the BC is 60 to 70 percent full of water. Shake the BC to agitate the water and then drain it through each of the dump valves and the inflator hose. You should use each of the dumps, including the pull dump on the BC inflator hose, to remove salt crystals and sand from each of these important valves. Once you drain the water, fully inflate the BC, allow the remaining water residue in the BC to settle for a minute or two, and then drain it again. Finally, inflate the BC to about 50 percent of its volume and let it air-dry away from direct sunlight.