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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.