Equipment class, both as an instructor program and as a repair workshop during the divemaster internship is essential resort training if you are looking to work in the scuba industry. One of my first ever IDC candidates secured his first job purely based on the fact that he could fix a large number of scuba brands. So, yesterday, partly due to the fact that the latest successful instructor candidates were completing their equipment instructor class, and possibly in part to the rather large pile of equipment that needs maintenance has appeared, I embarked on discussing, and showing our new group of divemaster candidates, how to maintain and fix different sets of equipment. First up, tanks , and after receiving a new shipment of 17 deco tanks yesterday, we had a quick rundown of tank markings, hydro tests and visual inspections. With the ever rotating number of tanks, there is always something to VIP. Okay, so that was good, onto the BCDs, 3 that have the ever descriptive, super description….”bubbles”. Yes, they have bubbles. Okay…hmmmm, from where? So, first port of call is to hand off the BCDs and have everyone check them and give me a REAL description. Okay, first one, no problem found, so my solution, have a divemaster take it for a spin and make a note of what happens. Second, BCD, bubbles from the buttons, so next process is remove the button from the BCD, easy when you have the tool , and then clean and replace all orings. First quote of the class, whilst testing the BCD, outside of the water, mind you, one of the students presses the deflate button and says “it’s not delating”……okay, how about if you squeeze the jacket….ah, yes…there you go…..and which point the other student, replies, whilst laughing….”what did you expect to see….bubbles?”
Okay, fixed, no onto regulators. Where to start…..first stage…second stage….
Lesson 1. Whether hard to breathe or free flowing, check the intermediate pressure. Even if Only one of the second stages is having problems, it could still be originating in the first stage before moving on.
As it turned out, this particular reg that we were dealing with had been dunked, yes, placed in a rinse tank without out the dust cap….AAAAAGGGGGHHHHH! Such a common problem that continues to drive me NUTS. So, my solution to this is to train all of our divemaster interns how to fix it. That way its a win, win, I don’t have to service the regs all the time and the divemasters can happily say that they can perform a basic service on a first stage. How useful is that?
Next onto the second stage, looking at in-line adjustment, and ease of breathing. Go back to your first scuba diving course, what is important when considering a regulator, ease of breathing right?! So that’s what we are testing for.
I thought I would round out our first afternoon of equipment training with the most difficult piece of equipment to handle on the planet….the tank strap.
Yes, the mind-boggling, dimension defying tank strap. How many times are we, as dive professionals faced with the inevitable challenge of our client or student saying….I undid the tank strap, and I am not too sure how to rethread it……Inside, we die a little. Such a simple piece of equipment, I even heard the words “easy” being thrown around between each other before we began. I laugh a little, really??!! Easy??!! 20 minutes later, same students are not thinking the same. I…. being a glutton for punishment came up with the tank strap challenge, and no, kinkiness involved here, just a plain and simple time test, for fun mind you. My evil little mind cogs are going right now, stay posted, I will film the challenge tomorrow and post it, I wonder if wagering bets in advance would be fair.