A scuba gear servicing technician is trained and certified to do maintenance on your dive equipment.
The equipment you purchased comes with a user manual. It can be printed or digital media on the manufacturer's website. I know we are here for diving, not reading, but this manual has essential information. It will specify how to take care of your equipment and explain when maintenance is needed to keep the warranty valid. Some manufacturers might have specific requirements.
A Scuba Gear Servicing Technician
This amazing person has gone through specific training with one or more manufacturers and is licensed as a kind of a ‘doctor' for your diving gear. They will take it apart, change faulty or broken parts, reassemble the unit and restore it to working order. Service technicians usually work for a dive shop. They might not be able to service equipment from every manufacturer, but they will be able to point you in the right direction should they not be able to service your equipment.
Some of you might be service technicians, but most aren't. To avoid any confusion, here are some guidelines to determine if you are one or not.
You are not a scuba gear servicing technician if:
- You don't know how to assemble and disassemble your equipment.
- You think you know how to service gear but don't have any training from the manufacturer.
- You fix problems with duct tape.
- You don't have the appropriate tools or spares.
- You don't have a valid service technician certificate from the manufacturer.
If one or more of the above applies to you, don't service dive equipment—leave it to the pros.
Most people think regulators need to be serviced once a year. You may be surprised to learn that isn't always true. Maintenance schedules are written in the user manual. Most manufacturers require annual servicing, but some use a longer time interval. And it isn't only about time but also how often the regulator is used. The manual might say your scuba gear needs servicing annually, every 100 dives or diving hours, whichever comes first.
Although there are no requirements for periodic maintenance on a wetsuit or a simple mask, full diving masks, drysuits, and BCD service are another matter. Check the manual to see if your equipment needs periodic maintenance and follow the manufacturer's guidelines.
As pressure vessels, cylinders require visual and hydrostatic testing; national laws specify the exact maintenance intervals. Don't forget that the same law applies to pony bottles and Spare Air cylinders. It is also worth mentioning that a technician should do valve replacement. It is simple, but that doesn't mean you should do it yourself. Threads and valves can be damaged due to improper disassembly and assembly. Finally, if your cylinder falls on its valve, have it checked by a technician as the fall could damage the valve or threads.
Call in the Scuba Gear Servicing Technician
Imagine you found a problem you couldn't fix, for example, replacing a small O-ring in a low-pressure hose fitting. If you don't know how to do it, are not trained, or don't have the right tools, you should bring it to a technician. If you don't have the right tools, you can cause damage.
A leaking valve (drysuit or BCD) might need to be opened for cleaning or might need replacement. This is relatively easy to do, but again consult the user manual to see if you are allowed to do it yourself. When we disassemble components, such as pressure release valves or replace them, there might be parts such as O-rings or seals that need to be replaced before reassembly. Also, ensure the components you replace are from the same manufacturer as the old one.
The MacGyver do-it-yourself Technician
Be aware of this kind of technician. Fortunately, they are easy to recognise. Something breaks when you are about to enter the water, and you don't have spare parts? No worries; here he comes with strings, cord, tie wraps and duct tape. Nothing is too complicated for him. If your drysuit or BCD keeps inflating, he will suggest you disconnect the hose when it's not needed. He will do everything in his power to save your dive. It all seems too good to be true until you discover the problem is not fixed and you have an emergency. Take spares with you on every dive trip, but also be responsible —call the dive if you can't fix a problem.
Have a Dive Centre and do the Maintenance Yourself?
That is fine if you are trained and certified for it. If not, then you have a safety and liability issue. And remember that the dive centre's equipment is used frequently, sometimes on a daily base. That means that scuba gear servicing will need to be done more often.
Proper Scuba Gear Servicing
When certified technicians service your equipment, they typically give you the old or broken parts. It's a way that a professional proves that they serviced and repaired your gear. It would be best if you also got a maintenance certificate that proves the service or repair was done by a professional. Usually, the certificate lists the type and brand of item serviced and the serial number. This avoids questions when there is a problem, including possible warranty issues.
How to Maintain the Health of your Scuba Gear
We looked at how we should keep dive equipment in good condition. If you want to know more, check with your instructor or dive centre and ask if they have equipment speciality courses. There you will learn more about how your equipment works and how to maintain it in a good (and safe) condition.
The value of your life and equipment is too high to underestimate the need for proper maintenance. The time and investment needed to maintain your gear correctly are relatively small and will ensure you can dive with peace of mind.
Before taking the plunge, make sure your DAN membership is still active. If it isn't, join DAN or renew your membership at DAN Europe.
Your DAN membership ensures the services of the biggest international network for assisting divers anywhere, during any emergency.