At my dive shop I interact with a wide variety of scuba divers and inevitably someone mentions they’d like to save money by buying used scuba gear online. The problem with buying used gear online is that often the buyers and sometimes the sellers don’t know what things to consider, more specifically what you should look for when buying a Regulator or Octopus. In the process of trying to sell my old Mares Abyss regulator and Mares Proton octopus on craigslist I was reminded of an important difference between buying used and new scuba gear – servicing.
Buying used (or even new) scuba gear online is really a game of trying to find the gear that looks like it’s in the best condition. While it’s nice (for peace of mind) if the equipment looks good / pretty, chances are it won’t and that’s OK – you’ll end up scratching things up with their first use anyways. When you find a regulator and/or octopus that you like the first question you should ask the seller is, when was it last serviced?
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post about Servicing Regulators, depending on the manufacturer, regulators and octopuses (octopi?) are supposed to be serviced every 200 dives or 2 years. Remember this can be an expensive overlook if you aren’t careful. When I got my regulator and octopus serviced a few months ago it cost me, with labor and parts about $120. If you buy used equipment that hasn’t been serviced in years you’ll need to factor it into the cost of the purchase. Calling around to local dive shops will help you estimate those service costs that you can then tack onto the purchase price.
Once you’re comfortable with the response (cost), always arrange a time to come and look at the gear. Be smart and bring a tank with you. Don’t get caught buying gear without testing it – you’ll want to make sure both the regulator and octopus breathe nicely for half a dozen breaths. That’s about it. Now enjoy the deals!