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Scuba Diving BCD Care and Maintenance

Updated on May 17, 2010

This amazing and simple piece of gear called BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) or Stabilizing Jacket that helps us so much in diving is a relatively new invention. A scuba BCD helps you a lot in buoyancy control as in relation to a couple of decades ago when a diver would be bobbing up and down trying his best at buoyancy control over a selected dive spot.

If you still haven´t bought one you can get some helpful tips here on choosing the right one for you.

A scuba BCD is a bit of an investment and you want to make sure that it will endure. The care and maintenance tips that I’ll be describing below will guarantee your scuba BCD will last for years on end and problem free.

Scuba BCD Care and Maintenance

  • Saltwater, sand and dirt will eventually get into your BCD while diving. If you let the saltwater dry inside and out, it will start to ruin the gear.

  • Saltwater left outside to dry on your BCD will leave white crystal stains, and left inside the bladder, well, you don´t want to sniff it after a week or two later.
  • Bacteria will develop inside, provoke unpleasant odors and ruin your gear. Nevertheless, if you do not wash your scuba BCD with fresh water it will have a shortened life span.
  • After each and every single dive, as soon as you get back to the docks, presuming you’re diving off boats, get to your nearest fresh water faucet and hose your BCD down.
  • This should be done before you remove your diving bottle from your scuba BCD. With the air supply you still have left from the dive, inflate your BCD to almost full capacity and rinse all around.
  • Rinse the back padding, air release valves and inside the pockets as well making sure you have removed every piece of gear from your pockets.

  • Now deflate your scuba BCD a bit and remove it from the tank. Get the hose and press the oral inflator button and fill it to about a third with fresh water. Slosh it around and remove the water and repeat a couple of times. Make sure water has gone through all nicks and crannies inside the bladder, so turn it upside down a few times.
  • All release valves, oral inflator button and power inflator button should be pressed and worked a few times while rinsing it with fresh water.
  • Make sure they work well and that there is no sand or dirt left. You definitely don´t want on a dive to continually press the inflator button just because some sand or dirt grain is preventing one of the valves to close well or even worse, the power inflator valve getting stuck and turning you into a ballistic missile towards the surface.
  • At your local dive club check your scuba BCD for leaks in their rinse tank if they have one. If not, you can always use your tub. As well before a dive ask your buddy to see if there are any leaks from your BCD and while you´re at it inspect your buddy´s as well.
  • As with all scuba gear, your scuba BCD should as well be dried partially inflated in the shade, away from direct sunlight and hung from an appropriate BCD hanger. 
  • The next day you should unscrew one of the bottom release valves and try and remove the rest of the water that accumulates at the bottom inside the bladder. Leave it open for a few days so that the bladder can dry fully.
  • Make regular scuba BCD inspections a habit and don´t forget to check as well the inflator hose for cracks, especially on the bend on top of your left shoulder where it´s mostly prone to crack in time.

Do it safely and enjoy diving!


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