Sub Arctic Scuba's
Frequently Asked Questions Page

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Phone (867)633-4734, Cell (867)334-4990
Or you can e-mail us.
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Questions, always questions! The more information we place on sites such as these, there are always many questions that come to mind that require answering. This is the place to look to see if your questions have been asked and answered before. If you have a question that does not appear here, just drop me a note and I'll reply as soon as I can and, maybe, post your question here for the benefit of others, as well.

Air Fills, Cylinders, Inspections  Equipment Overhauls  Certification Questions  Getting Diving Information, Listed  Other Questions

Air Fills, Cylinders, Inspections

- Can you fill my high-pressure cylinders?

Yes, we can fill cylinders up to a maximum of 4500 psi (310 bar). We will, however, only fill cylinders that have a current hydro test date on them and a current visual inspection marking, including a visual plus inspection sticker for those aluminum cylinders that are over 5 years old. We will then fill those cylinders up to their indicated working pressure, only.

- Why do my cylinders need to be inspected - I have hardly (or never) used them?

Firstly, because it is the law. It is illegal to use or fill a high-pressure cylinder that has not been hydrostatically tested by a certified retesting facility within the past five years (or as mandated by law - 3 years for some SCBA cylinders). Secondly, for safety, a visual inspection, required every year, may show up problems that occur between hydro tests - for example, dings or gouges in the cylinder, corrosion inside or outside the cylinder (which may weaken the cylinder walls) or any other problems which may cause a weakness in the cylinder. Also, the Visual Plus eddy current testing of aluminum cylinder necks will indicate problems within the aluminum neck region (may not be visible to the eye) that can cause catastrophic failures. There have been a number of cylinder explosions during the past few years that have been attributed to problems, usually, within the neck region of the cylinders that have caused death or serious injury to those filling the cylinders and massive damage to the buildings around the fill station. Since I am the one most at danger when filling the cylinders, I choose to refuse to fill any cylinder which has not been inspected as described above or which I have reason to believe may be dangerous if filled.

- Can I repaint my cylinder?

Yes, and no. Talk about a straight answer, eh? Well, the correct answer is Yes, you may, but with cautions and restrictions. Any cylinder you want to repaint would, presumably, already have paint on it or, if steel, may be badly rusted or may be galvanized. I would assume that you want to remove the old paint (or rust) already on the cylinder. If it's a steel cylinder (3AA), use a mild paint remover (use outdoors, well ventilated) only on the outside of the cylinder, then clean the cylinder well. If it's galvanizing, it should not be removed. Rust may be removed using a wire brush, being careful to remove only the rust and not any steel. The cylinder may, then, be repainted, ensuring you keep the inside of the cylinder absolutely clean and free from any cleaners, paints, etc.

If the cylinder is aluminum (3AL), many more restrictions apply. You must be very careful trying to strip off any old paint as many paint strippers can remove aluminum, as well, weakening the walls of the cylinder. Also, heat cannot be applied to an aluminum cylinder, so heat-type strippers cannot be used. Because the aluminum is soft, wire brushes should not be used, either. Once you get the cylinder ready for repainting, use only paints suitable for aluminum and which do not require any sort of heating to cure them. Aluminum cylinders cannot be heated, as some painters (body shops, etc.) do to cure their paints, as this will change the molecular structure if the aluminum, weakening the metal so it may burst when being filled. Any aluminum cylinder which may have been exposed to any external heat will be subject to further testing to ensure its integrity.

Any and every cylinder which has been repainted or which shows signs of exposure to heat must be re-hydro-tested to ensure the integrity of the metal has not been adversely affected. As mentioned above, it's the person filling the cylinder who is most at risk, so they should be most diligent when re-filling cylinders.

- How can I be sure the air I get is good?

The short answer - it's tough to be sure. There are some steps you can take, though, to reduce the odds of getting a 'bad' air fill. First, get your air fills at a fill station you trust. Most people who invest in and operate compressors will maintain them as required. Most modern compressors are very well constructed, as well, so they can run a long time before requiring a major overhaul. Ask to see the compressor. The unit, itself, should be clean and the area around it should be clean. Presumably, during regular maintenance, the operator will clean around the expensive compressor unit. If the compressor looks dirty, there is a good chance that regular maintenance may have been skipped, as well. If the operator is reluctant to show you his compressor unit/room, be wary about getting air fills there - most owners are quite proud of their large investment. That being said, I wouldn't worry too much about any regular shop in North America, as I can't imagine them allowing their equipment to deteriorate that much - the liability factor, alone, would be large.

Another way of reducing the odds of getting 'bad' air is to invest in an in-line CO (carbon monoxide) detector. The most dangerous contaminant you will find in high pressure compressor air is CO - either from allowing exhaust fumes to get into the air intake or from worn piston rings in the compressor unit, itself. These detectors fit on your low-pressure inflator hose and can detect fairly low concentrations of CO in your breathing air. These are invaluable if you travel to, especially, some remote or undeveloped regions, although bad air can be acquired anywhere. Also, just smell the air. This won't detect CO but it will help detect other unpleasant odours.

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Equipment Overhauls

- How often to I need to get my equipment overhauled?

This question comes up regularly. As with many questions, there is no one perfect answer for everybody or every situation. Most manufacturers recommend regulators and B.C.D.'s be overhauled at least annually - more often if heavily used. Many manufacturers offer a 'lifetime' warranty on their equipment, provided it is serviced annually by an authorized service depot. In many cases, this warranty will cover all the parts normally replaced during the annual service, provided you have the equipment serviced every year, but you pay for the labour. This is the best recommendation I can provide for the servicing of your life-support equipment. Of course, many divers tell me that they have only done a few dives and feel it would be a waste of money to service an unused regulator (or B.C.D., or ?) every year. From my experience, it would appear that, with the newer, modern materials, many newer regulators, if not used very often and if looked after very well, could be serviced every second year without undue risk. But this is your decision - and yours alone! I still recommend annual servicing of life-support equipment - more often if it has been heavily used. B.C.D.'s should, also, be serviced annually - they should be checked for leaks and the inflator, deflator and dump valve mechanisms should all be serviced - these items can all collect dirt and sand and can all stick or be hard-to-operate. Lights should have their o-rings serviced regularly - every time you change batteries or annually. Same for dive computers and water-proof watches - they must be maintained and kept clean (scrub the contacts and the area around the contacts to prevent a build-up of deposits which might affect the operation of the dive computer and/or its contacts) and the o-rings must be serviced every time the batteries are changed. Servicing usually entails the cleaning and re-lubrication of the o-rings (never use any petroleum-based lubricants on o-rings) with a silicon-based grease.
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- Why do I need a certification card?

Contrary to rumour, it is not to make all the instructors rich (I wish!). Nor is there any law that requires it (except in Quebec), yet. A certification card does not, either, prove anything nor any level of ability to anyone. A certification card only indicates to another diver or to the dive shop or resort that the holder of the card has passed a course in scuba diving and has, presumably, learned the basic skills required to safely scuba dive, learned the theory about scuba diving and breathing compressed air at depth and has accepted the risks associated with the sport (or, more correctly, activity) of scuba diving.

Since the dive industry is self-regulated, most shops will not sell any scuba diving equipment associated with compressed air (cylinders, regulators) nor fill air cylinders without proof that the customer holds a valid scuba diving certificate. This is for everyone's safety and peace-of-mind. The provider of the scuba diving equipment (regulators, air cylinders) could be held liable should an accident occur to the non-certified user of that equipment (it's your relatives you leave behind who will launch civil court actions, not you!) and most courts would make the assumption that the certified diver, instructor, shop or resort should have known better than to allow a non-certified person to use the equipment without proper training in its use and dangers. Therefore, please take a scuba course, keep your knowledge and skills up-to-date, do not loan out your equipment to anyone who is not certified and take your card with you whenever you travel or take your cylinders to be filled or go to buy scuba diving equipment. It makes life much easier for everyone involved.

- Who or What is PADI?

PADI is the acronym for Professional Association of Diving Instructors, the largest scuba diver certifying agency in the world. What does this mean to you? Being the largest agency in the world, PADI dive shops and resorts can be found in virtually every dive destination and major town or city the world over. After over 30 years of certifying divers and instructors, PADI has developed excellent courses, complete with support materials so their instructors can deliver a consistent and high-quality course anywhere in the world. That means that you, the (student) diver will get the same course materials and will find a PADI dive shop or resort, no matter where you travel, allowing you to take additional courses or buy PADI materials and supplies anywhere you choose to vacation.

Does this mean PADI shops are better than the others? Often, but not necessarily. Anyone signing up for a course should check on the reputation of the shop and its instructors to make sure they deliver a complete, quality course. Most agencies' courses are very good and cover, generally, the same material. PADI's main advantage is that it provides lots of support materials and encourages its instructors to follow its course outlines. It is in the student's interest to check around and avoid the shops or instructors who tend to shortcut the system and offer 'quickie' or short courses or who don't spend all the time required to ensure the students master all the required skills and knowledge. Do you really want to get a diving certificate without covering all the materials and skills to ensure you will be safe in this beautiful, but alien, environment?

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Getting Diving Information, Listed on Yukon Diver

- Is there any source of what's happening - diving related?

Yes, there is. Check the training page and the schedule page to see what's happening both in courses being offered and with planned dives or trips scheduled. In addition to these, check the Buddies List to find someone to dive with or just call me at 633-4734 to find out what's happening this week or to schedule a local dive. We also send out an e-mail newsletter approximately once a week (or so) to let everyone know what is happening around town - dive related, of course. To get your name on this list, just drop me an e-mail or call me at 633-4734 and I'll put your name on the distribution list (or change or correct the information I have).

- How do I get my name listed on the Dive Buddies page?

Very simple! I'd love to add your name, as a diver, to the Dive Buddies page. Just drop me an e-mail with your name, phone numbers, e-mail address and some basic information about you and I'll gladly add you to the Dive Buddies page. Also, if any information needs to be changed or deleted, drop another e-mail back.

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Other Questions

- What are the prerequisites to take a Scuba course?

- What are the total course costs?

- What is the refund policy should I not finish?

These, and many other questions about our courses, are covered in the training section on our Course Information Page.

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For more information about PSI and Visual Plus, click here.

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