For most of us Long Islanders the dive season isn’t year-round unfortunately. If you are a seasoned local diver who doesn’t have the opportunity to travel much your season might be from late May through late October. Then again you might only dive during the warmer summer months of June, July and August. Maybe you don’t dive locally and you travel sporadically. You might be more of a casual diver who takes a trip once a year, twice a year, or once every two years! The point is most of us have an “off” season or an extended period of time where we don’t suit up and get in the water. So what do you do to prepare yourself and your equipment prior to that first giant-stride into the ocean?
This can be a a somewhat tricky question but there are a few basic things you can do to assure a safe and pleasant entry back into the aquatic realm.
Equipment Preparation: Since diving is one of the most equipment intensive activities around it makes sense that keeping your equipment in good working order should be a top priority. SCUBA is actually “life-support” equipment when you get right down to it. Most manufacturers recommend a yearly service on things such as regulators and BCD inflators. This makes perfect sense but the timing of when you have your equipment serviced is also important. The general rule of thumb is that if you are sticking to a once a year service interval then you should have your equipment serviced soon after your last dive of the season. This ensures that while your equipment is in storage it is clean, free of salt water and other contaminants that might otherwise cause damage over time. But don’t think that just because you had your gear serviced after your last dive that it will work perfectly the next time you hook it up. It’s also a good idea to at some point before your next dive or trip, hook everything up and test it out to check for small leaks that may arise due to things like new parts taking a set. If I were taking a trip or getting ready for my first dive of the season I would do this check up at least 2 weeks prior to the planned first splash. Computer batteries should also be checked before your trip. If you have user replaceable batteries it’s always a good idea to have some backups on hand. If you have a computer that has to be sent back to the manufacturer then it is a good idea to check it well before (6 to 8 weeks) your trip or first dive. This will ensure you have enough tome to get the unit serviced.
Personal Preparation: Getting your “self” ready for the dive season or for a dive vacation after a long period of inactivity is also an important part of being safe and ensuring that you will have a pleasant experience in the water. Everyone who enters the water with scuba equipment should be confident that they are not in over their head! What I’m talking about is having the degree of skill needed to safely make the dives you are planning to do. You will need to be prepared physically and mentally before jumping off the side of a perfectly good boat! An experienced diver can most likely get by without needing to do more than making sure their health is in good order. They’ve been diving long enough to where their skills are excellent and don’t need any additional training or refresher classes as long as they aren’t planning something that is outside their area expertise. Newer inexperienced divers who have been out of the water for an extended period of time should probably get in the pool with their equipment once or twice before their trip or first dive. This will go a long way towards ensuring a pleasant experience upon re-entering the aquatic realm. A pool refresher is one of the best things you can do to get rid of the pre-dive jitters that many who dive infrequently often feel on the first couple of dives of the season or on the first day of a trip.
Dive season will be here before you know it and you might be lucky enough to be traveling to a destination that will allow you to get in the water for some diving. Don’t wait too long to get yourself and your equipment ready. Give us a call or stop in with your gear so we can help!