As we all know, salt water is particularly harsh on anything aboard a boat. If your snorkel or dive gear is in the salt water day after day, it deteriorates even faster! Since it’s not cheap to outfit your boat for snorkeling or diving, here are five tips to make it last longer.
1. Whenever possible rinse your gear in fresh water. This can be difficult if you don’t have a watermaker and would rather continue to dive or snorkel in paradise rather than head back to fill up your water tanks. Because we have a watermaker, we rinse all our gear after every time in the water. We use a fine mist garden sprayer and it actually doesn’t take much water. We don’t dunk, just rinse.
If you’re trying to conserve water, lay your gear out on deck the next big rain – it’ll get rinsed better than our quick spray!
2. It’s a fine line between drying your gear thoroughly and risking UV damage. Don’t leave your gear out in the harsh sun for extended periods. UV damage is one of the quickest ways to shorten the life of your snorkel mask, snorkel, dive or lycra suit or fins. After we rinse our gear, we leave it out on deck for only long enough to dry — which can be a surprisingly quick time, usually minutes, not hours. If you have a place in the shade to let it dry, it would be even better.
3. Be sure to inspect your gear after every snorkel/dive. You’re looking for wear and tear – nothing like having a fin strap break while you’re trying to swim back against the current in a reef pass!
4. Speaking of fin straps … in our experience, there are two parts that will deteriorate after a few years no matter how religiously you take care of them. Fin straps and mask straps. It’s best to carry spares for both so that when it happens, you’re not up the proverbial creek! Since we like to snorkel every day, when my snorkel developed a leak in the flexible part, we tried duct tape but it just didn’t keep the water out when I was freediving. So now we carry spare snorkels for both of us as well as mask straps and fin straps.
5. At the end of our six month cruising season, we thoroughly wash all our gear. By this time we’re back to the dock and there’s no longer any concern about using gallons and gallons of fresh water. I “sink the stink” with the little yellow plastic packet, soak everything in the sink, then dry it on the dock. Once again it’s all inspected to see if we need to replace anything when we return for the next cruising season!
It always amazes me when I see cruisers abuse their snorkel or dive gear. It is so expensive and requires so little effort to extend it’s lifespan.
If you have tips on snorkel or dive gear care, please post a comment and share! THANKS! Jan