The Fill Station
Scuba Divers have a unique super power- they can breathe underwater and explore a world that is off-limits to 99% of the people on the planet. It's no secret that diving equipment: regulators, dive computers and BCD's allow us to safely explore the underwater environment with the proper training and certifications.
One of the most important pieces of equipment is often overlooked by divers: the exposure suit. Superman doesn't swoop Lois Lane off her feet without his cape, Spider-Man doesn't scale the side of building without his Spidey-suit and real life super hero, Buzz Aldrin, didn't step on the Moon without his space suit- so why would a Scuba Diver enter the foreign and hostile aquatic environment without proper exposure protection?
The exposure suit is a diver's armor against the elements, your warmth and comfort and your sun and skin protection. The proper exposure protection can lengthen your dive time and save your skin from an accidental brush against stinging coral or a rogue jellyfish tentacle.
So what exposure suit should you look for? Well, that depends on the diving you are planning to do. In the guide below we outline some great options that cover why the right exposure suit is a must have for all diving situations.
Rash Guards: These tops are usually made of Nylon/Spandex or a polyester mix- sometimes referred to as Sun Guards as they provide SPF protection but very little thermal or skin protection. They look awesome, come in a variety of colors and are a great cover up between dives.
Thermo Guards: Usually sporting about .5mm of rubber or neoprene they help hold in body heat and make a great layering piece under a wet suit.
Hooded Vests: We are talking a neoprene vest from 1mm to 5mm with an attached hood that can be thicker or thinner than the actual vest.
According to the CDC, household cleaners are as effective against COVID-19 as they are against the common cold and flu viruses. Therefore, cleaning and disinfecting equipment meant for personal use (such as second-stage regulators, masks, snorkels and BCD oral inflators) is very important.
Products that are commonly used to clean dive gear but are ineffective against coronavirus include antibacterial and chlorhexidine mouthwashes or sprays. Hot soapy water must be paired with mechanical action such as scrubbing with a soft toothbrush to be effective.
If you're a diver using rental gear and would like to take extra steps to protect yourself from transmissible diseases, thoroughly wipe the following equipment with a household disinfecting wipe and then rinse with fresh water before use:
• Regulator mouthpiece
• BCD oral inflator
• The inside of your mask
If you do not have access to wipes, you may wish to ask the shop you're diving with to properly sanitize the equipment before you take it with you.
For a list of household cleaning products effective against the coronavirus, see the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries' list of products that have an "emerging viral pathogen claim" from the Environmental Protection Agency. When using a household cleaning product, it might be prudent to change the active ingredient every so often to avoid breeding resistant strains.
As always, frequent hand-washing (with soap for at least 20 seconds), regularly cleaning high-traffic objects and areas (bathrooms, door handles, countertops, etc.), avoiding contact with people who are sick, and staying home when you are ill are some of the best ways to stop the spread of disease. For more information, see the CDC's coronavirus page.
guidelines on decontaminating scuba equipment.
If you have any questions, please contact RiskMitigation@DAN.org.