We get calls almost daily regarding questions on the worth of a piece of used equipment someone is considering buying.  Putting a value on a piece of used equipment is a tough task because there are many things to consider.  I always suggest that you mentally add the cost of service to the price of anything you are buying.

Even if the owner says it was recently serviced, I recommend a complete overhaul.  This insures that you KNOW it was serviced.  Being totally confident of the service will give you an idea of how it has been maintained which can tell you a lot about it’s remaining life.  Servicing can expose any deteriorating diaphragms and hoses and gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling that your new piece of equipment will perform properly.

I suggest that divers only buy used equipment post-servicing.  The regulator that you got for a good deal may not be, after inspection.  If inspection reveals that you need service AND all new hoses AND inhalation diaphragms AND mouthpieces, you can easily be over $250 just to make it safe to dive.  Now your $200 “deal” has become a $450 regulator!

It is also important to know “What” you are buying.  The question is usually posed to me like this, “My buddies neighbor has a dive regulator he wants to sell for $200.  I know regulators can be expensive, is that a good deal?”  My response is “That’s like asking if $1000 is a good deal on a used car?”  If it’s a Yugo, then no.  If it’s a Porsche 911 Turbo, then probably.

I don’t intend to turn anyone off of the idea of buying used gear.  It is a good way to get a scuba system to fit a smaller budget.  That way someone who can’t just drop a cool $2500 on the credit card, can still get what they need to get out and get wet.  But you need to know what you are getting.  Your best option is to buy from a dive shop that sells used equipment.  That way you get someone and somewhere to go if you have any issues with the equipment.

Gulf Coast Divers has a large selection of used gear spanning many makes and models and can help with the decision making process.  Everything we sell is serviced prior to putting it out.  We put it in the best shape it can be in and it comes with a 1 year service contract.  That means that we stand behind it for a year.  So you get the gear and our service departments guarantee.  This takes the worry out of used gear.  The used inventory changes daily as new gear comes in and others are sold.  It runs the spectrum from the top of the line to the Yugo.  But we guarantee it will be the safest, best performing Yugo, you can find!

To get away from the Yugo comparison, we don’t buy or sell junk.  We turn away more equipment than we actually buy because it isn’t serviceble or someone wants too much for it.  We only sell good quality and we want it to be a good value for the next owner.  It is because of all these reasons that our “pre-loved” gear sells quick.  The next owner knows they have nothing to worry about with our used equipment.

On more than one occasion we have had someone bring in a Craig’s list purchased regulator to find out that it is unserviceable.  This can be because the manufacturer is out of business, the model isn’t supported anymore, or that the cost of repair way exceeds the value of the regulator.  I deliver the bad news and tell them that is the second time we have delivered the news re: this same regulator!  Yep, the last guy that bought it got the bad news, and listed it again. I’m sure the first guy learned his lesson,  but still wanted to try and recoup some of his bad investment.  I can’t remember seeing the same regulator three times, but I’m sure it is coming.

Be careful,  invest wisely and try before you buy.  Ultimately, your best DEAL on used equipment is going to be from a dive shop with an in-house service department and a pool to try BEFORE you buy.  For answers and advise on purchasing used equipment call Lawren @ Gulf Coast Divers (251) 342-2970.



Regulators waiting on service

Since the sun has peeked-out and warmed us, we have been getting a flood of pre-season service work and calls for excursions.  Don’t get left on the beach because your gear isn’t ready to jump in.  Every dive manufacturer recommends regular service intervals regardless of use.  Just because you didn’t use your gear much last summer does not mean you can skip servicing. Most manufacturers require annual service or 100 dives, which ever comes first.  O-rings go flat, parts corrode,  and rubber dries and cracks, especially if the gear was not stored with care.  All regulators have dynamic parts that require lubrication to work properly.  As regulators sit in storage, these silicone lubricants dry-out, causing o-rings to roll and tear instead of glide…the result…leaks and free flows.   

NOW  is the time to get your regulator in line for it’s tune up. Our “To Be Done” service wall in the repair room is already overflowing with the regulators and BC’s of the divers that are going to make sure the 2011 diving season does not pass them by. Incoming service orders are increasing daily and will only increase as summer approaches. 

You can start by pulling out all of your gear and giving it a comprehensive check. Look for cracking straps and other deteriorating parts. Clean with warm water to dissolve hidden salt crystals and only use cleaning solutions designed for scuba gear.   I recommend “Sink The Stink” or “MiraZyme” for wetsuits, boots and gloves.  Diver’s Choice B/C Cleaner will freshen, clean and condition the inside of your vest.  Also, replace  batteries in computers, lights and camera gear.  Pull all of your tanks out of the garage and check certification dates and inspect valve outlet for debris (ie. dirt dauber nests).  Most divers will drain stale air and refill with fresh air, even if all inspections are current.  Your scuba system is your life support when underwater, so don’t skimp on your safety.

If you have any questions regarding service call 251-342-2970 and ask for service department, you can speak to one of our full-time service technicians, or bring your gear by the store for an estimate.  When you return to pick up your gear bring your swimsuit and towel and dive in our 15′ deep in-store, heated pool for a skills review.  You don’t want to be “that diver” on the boat who sets his system up backwards, up-side down and twisted.