In light of the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), questions have arisen in the dive community about disease transmission when using rental equipment, especially regulators. With the threat of coronavirus on everyone's minds, divers want to know what precautions are being taken against the spread of disease. Properly sanitizing equipment is paramount.
We are complying with the following:
According to the CDC, household cleaners are as effective against COVID-19 as they are against the common cold and flu viruses. Therefore, cleaning and disinfecting equipment meant for personal use (such as second-stage regulators, masks, snorkels and BCD oral inflators) is very important.
Equipment can be effectively sanitized by submerging it in a 10% bleach solution. Be sure to use these products according to the manufacturer's directions and then rinse the gear with fresh water.
Products that are commonly used to clean dive gear but are ineffective against coronavirus include antibacterial and chlorhexidine mouthwashes or sprays. Hot soapy water must be paired with mechanical action such as scrubbing with a soft toothbrush to be effective.
If you're a diver using rental gear and would like to take extra steps to protect yourself from transmissible diseases, thoroughly wipe the following equipment with a household disinfecting wipe and then rinse with fresh water before use:
• Regulator mouthpiece
• BCD oral inflator
• The inside of your mask
As of 18 March 2020 we have completely disinfected all our rental gear to this standard and will continue to clean our gear to this standard each use. All cleaning materials, including the tubs are emptied and refilled each day.
If you would like further details on household cleaning products effective against the coronavirus, see the American Chemistry Council Center for Biocide Chemistries' list of products that have an "emerging viral pathogen claim" from the Environmental Protection Agency.
As always, frequent hand-washing (with soap for at least 20 seconds), regularly cleaning high-traffic objects and areas (bathrooms, door handles, countertops, etc.), avoiding contact with people who are sick, and staying home when you are ill are some of the best ways to stop the spread of disease. For more information, see the CDC's coronavirus page.
Between boats we will be spraying all general areas of the store with a 10% bacterial solution.
You can also check out the EPA's diving safety manual for its guidelines on decontaminating scuba equipment.
If you would like any further information on what you need to do and steps that you may individually take as a diver, please contact RiskMitigation@DAN.org.