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Buying used wet suit and BCD

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by shanaynay, May 6, 2012.

  1. shanaynay

    shanaynay Garibaldi

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    I am bran new to scuba diving and I have found a 5mm wet suit and used BCD, for $50 each. I am wondering how do I know if they are in good condition? What questions should I ask and what tests should I do? And how old is too old in terms of a BCD?
     
  2. t-mac

    t-mac BKK Divers

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: VA, USA
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    These are two of the most important pieces of equipment and the most important thing is that they fit well. If they don't you will be uncomfortable and, as a new driver, completely stressed out. You don't need that. No matter how good a deal this seems, don't "settle."

    As for the condition, the wetsuit is difficult to tell other than its overall appearance. The problem with wetsuits is that repeated compression breaks down the air cells in the neoprene and the insulating capacity goes down. If it is faded, limp and/or has a lot of creases, forget it. A 5 mm should be moderately "beefy" and not crumple up like a old bedsheet.

    The BCD is pretty simple and as long as the bladder is intact most things can be repaired without breaking the bank. Make sure it holds air and doesn't leak when pushed under water. Check the inflator valve and dumps. Then I would probably have it serviced by a LDS anyway. If possible, I would have them look at it in advance. Again, do not skimp on this piece of equipment. Make sure it fits and you are completely happy with it. Take your time to find the right one and pay a little more if you must to get it.

    Happy diving!
     
    Jim Lapenta likes this.
  3. Token

    Token Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Calgary Alberta
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    A few questions: How old are the items you're looking at? What brands are they? Why is the seller getting rid of them? Do they _look_ worn, or do they seem fairly new? Do you have a knowledgeable friend who can look at them with you? Have you looked carefully at similar gear during your dive training?

    Yes, fit is paramount. If the wetsuit doesn't fit it will give you problems and that's not worth the savings. Check the wetsuit for tears, deteriorating seams and deep folds or creases where the fabric is getting thin...it may lead to a crack in the neoprene. Does the material itself look unworn and 'rubbery', or are there spots that seem dry and crumbly? If the suit is generally in good condition and fits, $50 is a pretty nice deal. You don't give your location...is a 5 mil enough for your local conditions?

    For the BCD, blow it up through the inflator hose and make sure it holds air for a long time...I'm talking hours here. A BCD with a sound bladder and good seals on the valves should stay inflated overnight. Valves and releases that aren't maintained may cause a slow leak, but can be an easy fix just with lubrication or new seals. If you can, take it into a pool, blow it right up and see if there are any bubbles. Make sure all the straps, including the tank strap are present and not too worn. Make sure that any accessories like weight pockets are also present. And of course, check for fit. Most BCDs are fairly adjustable...if you can get it on comfortably while there is still some excess strap length, it's probably okay for you. Be reasonable however...if you are 5'0" and weight 110lb, don't buy a Large size.

    Good luck and great diving!
     
  4. DivemasterDennis

    DivemasterDennis DivemasterDennis ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lakewood, Colorado
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    I'm with t-mac on this, and to do what t-mac says you have to be able to examine and try on the gear. That means not buying on line. Unlike many scubaboarders, I will not by used gear on line. I will by from locals who will let me examine, test, try on, and even "test drive" the gear. I also am very unlikely to by used equipment unless I have a good idea of use history and service record, another reason I don't buy used on line.
    DivemasterDennis
     
  5. RonFrank

    RonFrank Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Conifer, CO
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    There are a few things to pay attention to when buying used.

    First how old is the gear? If the BC is 10 years old find something newer. If the wetsuit is more that 5 years old find something newer.

    How much use has the gear seen? I don't like to buy used wetsuits, they stink, can get mildew, can be permanently creased, and dry out. I like to buy a wetsuit in like new condition. BC's can handle some wear but if it looks like it's heavily used find something else.

    Was it rinsed and stored properly? This is very important especially if diving in saltwater.

    There is plenty of used gear out there. Make sure what you buy is in Excellent condition. If not keep looking. Better to spend a bit more money than to own an ill fitting maintenance nightmare.

    A new BC starts at $200 online. A new wetsuit starts at $200 for a 5mm. So getting a BC or 5mm used for $50-$100 in great condition is very doable. Just research as a $700 BC is not going to sell used for $70, you are looking for lower end stuff. The wetsuit in general is much less expensive that a BC, and they stink! :D A new 5mm will rarely cost over $300 but a new BC can easily cost $600 new so do your homework.

    Bare 5/4 Velocity Progressive Stretch Full, Men's

    Aeris EX 200 Back Inflation BCD with QLR Weight Pockets, Black

    This Aeris looks like a great deal on a back inflate BC new.
     
    Gudu likes this.
  6. shanaynay

    shanaynay Garibaldi

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    Thank you everybody so much this was really helpful! And it is a local I am going to see, and I will ask them if I can bring the stuff to my local shop. Also as for wet suits how should it fit? How do I know if it is too snug?
    I plan to do a couple of dives in the St.Lawrence, but I will be moving to Nova Scotia in the fall for school. I would like to do some shore diving off the coast in Nova Scotia in the fall and spring. So I would like to get something that I could use in the summer as well as those times. Do you think a 5mm is suitable for this or do I need a 7mm to stay sufficiently warm?

    Thank you all for your time! I appreciate it! :)
     
  7. Dr Dog

    Dr Dog DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Okanagan/Shuswap BC
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    Atlantic ocean cold all the time man, you will want most likely a 7 mm at least. And I would suggest the farmer john style, so you get doubled up on your core

    Being a student and a diver is hard, especially when you live in drysuit land my friend
     
  8. KD8NPB

    KD8NPB Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Hartford, MI
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    In that area, the water is never warm.

    I would highly advise saving your money and buying a drysuit.

    In the mean time, I would invest in a good BC, regulator set, and computer.
     
  9. shanaynay

    shanaynay Garibaldi

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    The thing about a dry suit is I would have to take the dry suit course, and dry suits are significantly more expensive. Both of these add up to a lot, which as a student I can't really afford right now.

    And I have been doing some reading on the internet and apparently the atlantic (because it is so big) it takes along time to warm up, but this also means it takes along time for it to cool down. This results in fall conditions to be just as warm if not warmer than in the summer.
    I know that surfers out there surf in wet-suits well into winter there. Quite obviously its warmer at the surface than under water, but if I don't plan on going very deep.

    ---------- Post added May 6th, 2012 at 08:39 PM ----------

    The thing about a dry suit is I would have to take the dry suit course, and dry suits are significantly more expensive. Both of these add up to a lot, which as a student I can't really afford right now.

    And I have been doing some reading on the internet and apparently the atlantic (because it is so big) it takes along time to warm up, but this also means it takes along time for it to cool down. This results in fall conditions to be just as warm if not warmer than in the summer.
    I know that surfers out there surf in wet-suits well into winter there. Quite obviously its warmer at the surface than under water, but if I don't plan on going very deep, I think might be bake to get away with it.
     
  10. Sabanist

    Sabanist Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Ft. Lauderdale
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    I bought all my gear except the mask used. As for the bc. Look at the appearance, wear, any tears, etc etc. it's up to you what your willing to accept in that aspect. But hook it up to a tank and ensure it inflates. Listen for leaks. Check out the auto inflator for ease of use.

    Good luck
     

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