Re: A sobering thought about maintainence

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Posted by Ken Kurtis on November 24, 2003 at 12:51:10:

In Reply to: Annual scuba regulator maintence-opinions requested. posted by Mojo Mike on November 23, 2003 at 02:56:26:

As Melvin said, it's ONLY life-support gear. . .

One of the things we've started doing lately at Reef Seekers is testing gear for the LA Coroner when there's been a scuba fatality. We tested a set last week from a diver who hadn't been diving in two years and died on his first dive back in the ocean (private boat, not a charter). My assumption is that he didn't bother to get his gear serviced prior to the fatal dive.

Assuming the condition we received the gear in was similar to how it was when he dove it, we noted the following:

1. The intermediate pressure on the regulator was 182-185psi (should have been in the 125-145 range).

2. The primary reg free-flowed noticeabley at all tested pressures, though it was breathable.

3. The inflator on his BC auto-inflated, partially due to the high IP and partially due to the inflator not being serviced.

4. The BC loses about 5% of it's air after five minutes when fully inflated.

This diver died when he ran out of air while hunting for lobster and was unable to make it back to the surface. I don't think the gear problems caused the accident, but I do believe that they contributed to a higher rate of air consumption and complicated his options when dealing with his out-of-air situation.

In short, servicing your gear will run you maybe $100-150 bucks when the reg's out of warranty. Ask yourself what your life's worth and then act accordingly.

Ken Kurtis
NAUI Instr. #5936
Co-owner, Reef Seekers Dive Co.
Beverly Hills, CA

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