How to repair a leaking stabjacket (BCD)?

mares-prestige-mrs2I’m peacefully swimming along when suddenly I see my buddy frantically pointing into my direction. In full expectation of seeing like a white shark or something behind my back (what would have given me a heart attack, as I’m diving at 5 meters in a freshwater lake) I turn around. Nothing to see. I have no idea what my buddy is trying to communicate to me, when I suddenly look up and see a steady pace of bubble floating to the surface. A curse slips across my lips when the recognition sets in that, yes what every diver hates, my stabjacket has a leak.

After our safety stop and while we’re swimming to the shore, I hear the air escaping through the leak in my ear. At the shore I check my vest and see that it’s a hole of around 1 cm in diameter near the air valve on my right shoulder. Is it possible to repair my BCD? I have no idea, as it is my first BCD and I have never had this problem before. Luckily Google comes with an answer. All though there is little to no information about fixing your BCD on the internet (or I just haven’t looked in the right places) I do find out it’s possible. To be sure I check it with the dive center I’ve bought my stabjacket and they tell it should work, as long the hole is easy to access.

What do I need to do?

  • I have to clean my stabjacket very well. No single grain of sand or dirt may still be on the vest.
  • I need some Aquasure (special glue) and two pieces of nylon somewhat bigger than the original hole.
  • My stabjacket has to be completely dry.
  • I have to open the air valve on my right shoulder. Put a little bit of Aquasure on the first piece of nylon and through the air valve cover the hole from inside out. Afterwards I have to do the same, but then from the outside and push the two pieces of nylon together. This has to dry at least for 24 hours.
  • Test your repairs in a safe dive with your buddy close by.

Did it work?
Well I haven't tried it out yet. The dive center told me to drop by if I was in the neighboorhood, so they could take a closer look at it for me. When I did, they thought it maybe was a production error. So for now my stabjacket lies at the divecenter while a picture of it sits in someones inbox at Mares. If it turns out to be a production error, I should recieve a new stabjacket :), otherwise I'm definitely going to use the steps mentioned above. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Till the next story…

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