Preparation & Care
BCDs require adjustment for a proper fit both when inflated and deflated. This is usually easily done with a Velcro waist strap, as well as waist, shoulders and chest clips. Fortunately, most modern BCDs adjust easily; you can tighten or loosen them without having to take them off. To test the BCD, try it on and tighten the straps until they fit snugly but not tightly, this give should be suitable to allow for inflation and deflation. In the water, if it's too loose, it rotates awkwardly around you making for an uncomfortable dive. If it's too tight, it can cause harm by restricting breathing and circulation, especially when inflated.
BCDs, like any other part of your diving gear, need to be properly cared for and maintained, which means doing the right checks before and after use, cleaning them properly and storing them correctly. This will guarantee they last you a long time. A BCD has additional maintenance considerations which will be explained under cleaning and storage.
After use rinse your BCD with fresh water, this is particularly important after contact with salt water. Salt residue can build up and cause the exterior fabric to wear down, plus it creates nasty smells if unwashed.
It may be best to just place them in a tank of fresh water to soak for a short period of time. Most popular snorkelling & diving destinations provide tanks for your individual equipment.
Important! You need to rinse the inside as well as the outside with fresh water. To do this, fill it about one third with water through the inflator hose, the rest of the way with air. Swish around the water around the inside, then turn it upside down and drain it completely through the hose. You may have to reinflate it with air a few times in order to remove all the water from the inside.
Store your BCD in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid folding or bending the tubes for storage as this may interfere with their performance.
Important! You should store your BCD partially inflated to prevent the inner bladder from sticking together, which may cause damage when you next go to use it. To do this, simply inflate the BCD one third of the way full.