Here I am, out of the water with a torn leg muscle - so to fill in time I thought I'd sort out out my save-a-dive tool kit. Regular equipment servicing maintains warranties and reduces the chance of missing a dive but even so ‘stuff just happens’, so I always carry a small plastic tool box of bits, which goes in the car for each local dive trip. At one time or another each item has proven to be useful. So, based on the contents of my tool box, here are some ideas that will hopefully help you to also "save a dive".
The contents of a save-a-dive kit will depend on what you’re doing. If going on holiday to a resort with a well-stocked dive store there may be little to worry about, if you’re out with your buddy for a weekend dive you’ll want a 'few things just in case', and for a major expedition you’ll want to be well equipped. The list below fits in the 'few things just in case' category of save-a-dive kits.
When making a save-a-dive kit it’s useful to think about two groups of items – spare parts and tools. You can start with some ready-made save-a-dive kits or start from scratch, either way here’s some things to consider.
I’m a fan of cable ties – they are handy for so many things. Use them to hold broken plastic clips together, secure a corrugated inflator hose if it comes off (rare) and secure a fin strap if a side clip is lost. They have many uses and not limited to dive equipment. On a dive holiday three years ago I had to fix a strap on one of my Crocs – I still wear the Crocs, complete with cable ties! On our last holiday my wife also used cable ties as light-weight D-rings.
If you’re away for a while or just want to be prepared for more eventualities, consider adding the following to your save-a-dive kit:
The above lists of tools and spare parts should help you out in most situations.
Occasionally you’ll find a need something extra, and add it to your kit. On a recent holiday we had ‘an urgent need’ for a 1.5mm hex key to tighten a hex bolt on a camera housing – it has now been added to my kit. Of course, if you have upgraded your regulators or mask, it can be handy to take the old ones along as spares (I've lent mine to friends a couple of times).
As a final note, when looking to buy tools think about what they’ll be exposed too – especially if you dive in salt water. Cheaper tools may not be made from marine grade stainless or suitably coated chrome-vanadium steel. Remember to wash and dry your tools if they’ve been used on equipment that was exposed tosalt water.
Be prepared and don’t miss a dive!