When others handle your first stage...and you have to worry

How fussed are you about (salt) water entering your first stage?

  • Zero tolerance, I worry about it constantly

  • I try to avoid it but accept that it does happen

  • Not too concerned, taken care of every year or two when serviced

  • I handle it without particular care, don't stress about some corrosion


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Divectionist

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Hi there

I am very particular about connecting/disconnecting my first stage myself to avoid mishandling or getting salt water inside, to the point where I excessively worry if my equipment is out of sight.

But just yesterday the dreaded thing happened again, I pushed my gear onto the small dive boat (no stairs) and remained in the water to help some others out of their gear and push it up to the boat, where helpful DMs started switching tanks.

Once I jumped back into the boat, a wet hand passed me my dripping wet regulator, with the opening pointing towards the blue sky. I immediately pointed it downwards and proceded to dry the threads and area around the O-ring (DIN) before hooking it up to the fresh tank, but I would be surprised if some drops of salt water did not make it inside my new and expensive reg.

A couple of questions:
- what is the best practice when suspecting that small amounts of salt water could have made it in whilst on a boat? I suppose immediately applying air pressure after would push any liquids down the hoses?
- I soak and rinse my reg with a water tight delrin cap after use, so no fresh water would go in either. Is there much beyond giving the reg to a service centre that one can do to do an amateur rinse/flush of a first stage without disassembling, or are any such endeavours to be avoided for fear of more or actual damage?
- Do you remove the dust/waterproof cap to air the first stage after rinsing and drying, or keep it on at all times?
- Am I being too precious about my equipment given that rental regs get bashed without concern and still hold up, or is it reasonable to be worrying about water droplets getting inside almost 2 years away from the next regular service date?

I appreciate any input
 

Centrals

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If I suspect sea water has got inside my 1st stage, I will service it asap.
I am trying my best to avoid that but accept the inevitable.
I check the inlet brass filter regularly, any discolouration means only one thing.
 

2airishuman

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There are some facts to bear in mind for perspective:
  1. Your regulator will be exposed to salt if used in a marine environment, even with careful handling.
  2. While salt is corrosive, damage occurs with ongoing exposure over time.
  3. All regulators, no matter how expensive, have some parts that are exposed to salt on ocean dives, such as (obviously) the exterior surface of the reg, and certain threads that are not protected by o-rings.
If one of my regs had inhaled salt water, for example as a result of being removed from the tank valve while underwater, or if dropped overboard without the cap in place, or being drenched by a rogue wave while switching tanks, then I would service it.

There is no way to clean a regulator that has internal contamination, without disassembly.

My children and I routinely dive regulators that were manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s, that came to me with an unknown service history but were routinely used in salt water. Most were not "sealed" and some are piston designs that have greater inherent exposure to the water in the dive environment. None of these first stages has failed during a dive during the time I've been diving them.

You decide
 

MrBigfins

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I dont have to worry on my Legend supreme main as it has the ACD. But I still try to avoid the issue with other regs
 

Diver below 83

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I try to always handle them myself. Keeping my thumb over the port opening before I can cover it with a clean and dry dust cap
 

JackD342

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Well, I didn't respond to your poll, as while I have zero tolerance I am not in a state of constant worry. I just consistently take care of my gear.
If I thought a drop or two of water may have made into the first stage, I would just put it back on a tank and operate the 2nd stages to blow it on out before it can dry. Any small remaining residue, if any, is probably not enough to make any difference. But if my gear was truly flooded, then it's time for overhaul service.
 

uncfnp

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When I was new and the gear was new, I was a bit obsessive like you. Kinda like a new parent with a first born.

But as I aged, along with my gear, I got a lot less obsessive and a lot more relaxed. It helps too that I learned how to service my own gear.

So I guess you would mark me as “Not too concerned, taken care of whenever I service it.”
 

Divectionist

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I dont have to worry on my Legend supreme main as it has the ACD. But I still try to avoid the issue with other regs

Really nice feature I was not aware of!

If I thought a drop or two of water may have made into the first stage, I would just put it back on a tank and operate the 2nd stages to blow it on out before it can dry.

I did have another dive after the friendly DM dripped all over my open first stage, and I had it back on and pressured within a minute, so hopefully it would have blown any liquid right out again.
 

BoltSnap

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If I thought a drop or two of water may have made into the first stage, I would just put it back on a tank and operate the 2nd stages to blow it on out before it can dry.
I'd remove the HP hose and replace the port plug before doing that just to make sure nothing is pushed into the HP hose and the gauge itself.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/swift/

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