Scuba Diving Equipment Disinfection and Coronavirus (Part 1)
Still eager to go scuba diving amid the Coronavirus pandemic? Learn more about this virus and find out how to disinfect your scuba diving equipment to stay safe all the time.
It is important to note that the novel coronavirus or also known as SARS-CoV 2 has already cost over 400,000 lives around the world. This virus spreads from secretions of the respiratory system through aerosolized droplets due to coughing and sneezing, or touching surfaces contaminated by the virus.
The virus has an incubation period of 2-14 days and research is still ongoing as to how long it can survive on surfaces. In recent studies, it was found that when in an aerosol droplet from sneezing, it can survive for 3 hours.
In some other surfaces like copper, it can survive for 4 hours. On plastic and stainless steel, it can last up to 2-3 days, while it can last to a day on cardboard, and 4 hours on copper. However, there is no evidence yet how long it can survive in water.
It was found out in recent studies that virus infection is reduced when temperature increases. That said, it becomes very stable at 4 degrees Celsius, but inactivated at 70 degrees Celsius within 5 minutes.
In the event when a virus will enter a scuba cylinder due to contaminated air drawn into the compressor, the high temperature of 170-190 degrees Fahrenheit in the outlet valve will literally kill it.
So if anyone will cough or sneeze into the compressor intake, the novel coronavirus will unlikely survive. However, it should be noted that when an infected person touches the cylinder valve or fill whip with his or her hand, the virus could enter through this route.
The use of quaternary ammonium compounds, the commonly active ingredients found in cleaning solutions, are also effective against such viruses. In studies against SARS-CoV 1, quats are able to disorganize the viral envelop. Thus, the World Health Organization recommends the use of cleaning compounds to prevent against the coronavirus disease 2019.
However, the use of quat products in the scuba industry for disinfecting equipment can also be harmful to the environment. So special care must be taken when using and disposing the said compounds.