BCD Care and Cleaning
Always wash the BCD after each dive with fresh water, flushing both inside
and out, and between the inner and outer bags if it is a double bag construction.
Never use solvents (such as alcohol or paint thinner) since they may attack the
fabrics, bladders, glues or fasteners.
Fresh water is all that is normally needed to clean your BCD, though you may
use a mild liquid detergent diluted in fresh water or a commercial BCD conditioner
in the final rinse to inhibit the growth of mold or mildew and to keep the BCD
fresh and odour-free.
Cleaning is especially recommended immediately after use in a chlorinated pool,
as chlorinated water will quickly break down rubbers and plastics. Most manufacturers
also recommend regular an annual servicing consisting of cleaning, inspection
and lubrication of specified parts. In fact, many manufacturers offer limited
lifetime warranties that remain valid only if the BCD is serviced annually.
The best way to prevent the growth of harmful molds and bacteria is to use
the BCD frequently in salt water. Salt water effectively inhibits the growth of
fungus and molds, and most materials used in the BCD (with the exception of some
detonating mechanisms) are impervious to salt water. However, once evaporated,
salt water will leave salt crystals -- some large enough to act like pieces of
glass and tear or rupture the bag. A good internal rinse will eliminate this.
To clean BCD component parts, direct a stream of water into the mouthpiece
of the oral inflator valve, and drain the water back thorough the mouth piece.
If your BCD so allows, remove the over pressure relief valve assembly and rinse
all components. Because the over pressure valves are low pressure valves, they
have the potential of not completely reseating. It is important to run fresh water
through the bladder after every dive and then inflate the unit with the valve
positioned down so the water will flush the valve as the valve actuates.
To drain the water from the BCD, reinstall the over pressure relief valve,
and orally inflate the vest. Turn the vest upside down so that the drain hose
is at the lowest point. Depress the inflator button and squeeze the vest. The
sudden rush of air should force the remaining water to exit from the interior
of the vest through the inflator hose. Back flush the auto inflator with clean
fresh water by filling the BC (which has already been rinsed clean) and then flushing
out the water though the mail quick disconnect fitting.
Buoyancy compensators should be stored partially inflated. For prolonged storage,
a small amount of silicone lubricant may
be applied to the rubber parts of the BCD,
but do not spray silicone inside the bag
itself or on to the oral or power inflator
mouthpiece assemblies. Store the BCD with
the hose on the downward side, so that residual
moisture drains to the hose assembly. Then
after a day or two, depress the inflator
button to allow any residual water to drain.