FitDiver® SPECIAL EDITION May 2015 - Page 32

Are you prepared

to dive? By Stephen C. Mendel, LACO NAUI PADI CMAS HSA

If you’re not fortunate enough to live in an area where you can dive year round, or you’re strictly a traveling warm water diver, chances are you have put your dive gear away for extended periods of time. If that’s the case then you need to get ready for the new dive season or your next trip.

Service and Maintain Your Equipment

While we all know that annual servicing (or the brand recommendation of service) of your life support equipment, in other words your regulator, is something that you would never overlook, it is suggested that most dive gear be serviced and/or inspected on a yearly basis. In the case of your regulator, rubber O-rings deteriorate whether you use your gear or not, springs can take a set, metal parts fatigue, diaphragms develop tiny pin holes and more. And even though most modern dive equipment (regulators in particular) has a well deserved “bullet proof” reputation, you don’t want to find out that you really should have had the gear serviced while down at sixty feet, when a ten cent O-ring fails and you have a free flow.

You should also check things like mask and fin straps. Rubber and silicone wear over time and little cracks and tears will become big ones at just the wrong moment, like pulling them on for the first dive of the season or trip. The same holds true for straps on BCDs and even gear bags. Those should all be checked for wear and tear.

BCDs, inflator valves, and all those deflator valves should be inspected to see if they are all functioning correctly. The BC should be inflated to its fullest and left for a while to see if there are any leaks. You have a lot of gear, check all of it; including your exposure suit, your lights, (You didn’t leave batteries in your lights when you put them away, did you?) your cutting tools, and your dive computer (transmitter if you have a hoseless computer).

Service and Maintain Your Body

You have been maintaining your physical fitness, haven’t you? DAN statistics show that most accidents (and even fatalities) occur on the first dive of the season. And many, if not most, can be attributed to a lack of physical fitness. Yes, diving is relaxing and enjoyable most of the time. But when a current kicks up or some other problem occurs that requires you to be strong and fit ; then it’s a little too late to start that fitness program you were intending to begin.

Maintaining both your cardiovascular conditioning and your overall strength is something everyone needs to do for a healthy and enjoyable life. This is especially true for scuba divers who may not dive year round and, in any case, diving is not one of those activities that in and of itself will keep you fit.

When I was (a lot) younger and ski season rolled around, I just loaded the gear in the car and off we went to the mountains. I’d be sore for a few days but then I’d get conditioned by the activity. I can’t do that any longer. I go to the gym and do my strength and cardio training. I found out the hard way around the age of 40 when I still thought that I was indestructible. I did the usual, arrived at the mountain, rode the lift up, took one run down and found that my legs were burning, my quads shaking and I was sucking for air. Lesson learned.

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