Generally speaking our winter months are a little bit slower for divers in the Northwest. Although our water is generally a lot more clear and the tides not as radical there are changes that take place that make diving in the winter months more of a challenge. Most often the weather is a deciding factor in a dive. Northwest weather can be unpredictable, fickle, and certainly a challenge on most winter days. The wind is blowing, the sun is evasive, it is really grey most of the time and it is going to rain. More than likely the rain will be on and off throughout most days during the winter. Do you realize this is the only place in the world that forecasts 'sun breaks'?
So all of that being said, if you are taking a break from diving during the winter months start thinking about maintenance. This is an excellent time to drop off regulators for annual service, inspect tanks, and replace broken or worn equipment and upgrade to the next best greatest piece of diving equipment.
Inspect your tank, valve, regulator and all hose fittings. If these parts have that crusty white or green stuff all around the edges it is pretty indicative that you should have your gear serviced. Remember this is life support equipment and you will be depending on its performance on every dive so an annual inspection and service is really a sound investment.
Even if you don't have some of that crusty stuff on the outside you would be surprised to see what is on the inside of tanks and regulators. So plan ahead, comply with your warranty requirements, and get your toys taken care of by having them serviced.
Just a note when you are having the annual service completed think about your next class. If enriched air (nitrox) is in your future, now is the time to have the shop update your regulator to be compatable with recreational enriched air mixes. For those thinking about technical diving, and in my opinion you should be, don't forget to bring your dedicated deco/stage bottle regulators in for service. One of these regulators will need to be oxygen cleaned.You just never know...well serviced equipment makes for an outstanding diving experience.