By Mark Caney, PADI International Ltd
A couple of months ago I was doing some tec diving when a trick I have used for many years proved useful. When I have connected a regulator to its cylinder, I inhale before I turn on the gas. If I can breathe in, I have a problem. Over five days of diving, this technique detected three failures before the dives; a hole in a mouthpiece, a hole in a diaphragm, and a loose connection from the MP hose to the second stage. It’s easy to do and can let you avoid a serious problem underwater. One extra consideration: if I am in the tropics, I first pressurise the reg, turn off the gas and then purge it down again. This dislodges any of the local fauna that have nested in the mouthpiece overnight before I breathe them in!