There are many pros and cons to investing in your own dive equipment and we're here to share with you some great tips on buying used scuba gear. Getting your own gear can significantly reduce the impact on the environment as well as your wallet, but be advised that it can be the greatest or worst mistake if you don't know what to look out for.
Let's start with the pros of purchasing used dive equipment.
Though most dive shops maintain their equipment in good condition, it probably doesn't get treated as well as your own. Only you can know how it is cared for and stored.
With your own equipment, you know exactly when it was last serviced and you're already comfortable with how it all works.
Renting equipment each time you want to dive can add up. Dive centers can charge anywhere from $20 USD to $60 + USD per day.
Each brand of equipment will have small to large differences in how it's made. It's important to be familiar with your regulator, BCD, and computer to avoid any miscalculations or make simple mistakes.
Fit is very important. You want all of your equipment to fit properly so that you're comfortable and not preoccupied with it while underwater. A leaky mask can ruin a dive real quick!
Just because you are renting scuba equipment does not mean that said gear has been properly disinfected from the previous user. It’s not uncommon for a diver to spit into the lens of their mask, vomit through their regulator in rough seas, or pee in their wetsuit.
Cons of buying used equipment:
If you purchase anything online you don't have the opportunity to try it on for size first.
It's more likely than not that the article doesn't come with any kind of guarantee and the buyer doesn't offer a return/refund.
Unless the buyer can provide a receipt or proof of service, you really can't know when the last time it was serviced. You'll need to take into consideration the cost of routine service and maintenance.
You'll also need to take into consideration the cost of the extra baggage if you need to take a flight to your dive destination.
Be sure to take your used, now new to you equipment to be serviced and thoroughly checked before using it.
Make sure that replacement parts are still available and that it's still serviceable.
It's always a good idea to buy from someone close by so that you can inspect the condition and fit before spending any money. Facebook and garage sales are always a good place to begin shopping around.
Since dive centers use their gear until the very last thread, chances are that the equipment is on its last leg and won't last you very long.
When buying a used wetsuit make sure that it fits properly and check for any flattened areas. Wetsuits are made from a material called Neoprene, which contains small bubbles that allow for thermal protection and buoyancy. If you find flattened areas that means that the suit is damaged. Check all the seams and the body for any holes.
BCDs are made to last a good amount of time and use. Sometimes they may seem more used than they really are, especially if they were put into the sun to dry and become faded. Here are some tips for specifically checking a BCD:
Check the straps and connectors for functionality and any frays.
Check that the ribbing around the edges of the bladders hasn't been damaged.
Check for torn linings in the pockets.
Be sure that inflates and deflates properly.
Inflate the vest using the oral inflator to three-fourths full and then check all the straps again to see that they function smoothly. Inflate the vest until it is full. Ensure that it is still comfortable.
Check each of the release valves to ensure that they are working properly.
To check the fit, put on the vest, adjust the straps and make sure that you have full movement, especially in the chest area.
If the BCD uses integrated weights, check that the pouches are in good shape and they release easily.
Remove the caps over the valves and check the inside of the bladders. You will want to look for mold or oil, both of these can weaken the air bladders. Some mold or oil may be acceptable. If the opening is too small for your finger use a cotton bud.
Don't dismiss the idea of investing in new equipment. At the end of the day, this is life-support equipment, and all the pieces are meant to work together to keep you safe. Most new equipment comes with a "parts for life policy" meaning that if you need to replace a part that there won't be a charge for that, whereas buying used doesn't have that perk. Though you might save a lot of money initially, you always have to take into consideration what you might have to pay in parts and service when buying something used. The most important thing to remember is that no amount of money saved is worth risking your wellbeing.
If you have any questions or need further advice please don't hesitate to contact us at Aquadventures! As always, Happy and SAFE diving!!