Lessons Learned Selling Unwanted Dive Gear
it’s not worth as much as you think it is

John BantinWe live in a consumer society, yet sometimes we forget that we are consumers. Often, we buy things that we think we are investing in. We expect them to be worth what we paid for them. Alas, this is far from the truth.

When we buy an item from a retail store, part of the price is for the service rendered in supplying it to us. The same can be said for those that supplied the retailer. Consequently, the price we pay is far more than the actual value of what we buy. We are familiar with this concept when it comes to cars. We all know that the greatest depreciation of a new car’s value comes at the moment we drive it away from the dealer.

The same can be said for diving equipment. When it comes to selling it second-hand, it will have far less value than when you bought it.

My friend Max has sadly become ill and has had to give up diving. He asked me to help him by disposing of his diving equipment. I learned a lot in the process.

Max, a single man with a high disposable income, always treated himself to the best, and that included his choice of diving equipment. Not only that, but when he saw something he believed to be better than what he had already got, he treated himself to that too. So, he ended up with a plethora of different equipment, much of which was hardly used or never used at all.

So, I set about trying to sell it for him.

Firstly, even if an item was effectively new and unused, I knew I would be competing with dive shops on price. I had to price each item at less than a dive retailer would pay for the same product from its distributor. We decided that half the advertised price of the product, when new, would be sensible if that product was still in new condition.

On checking various Internet websites, I realized that many would-be sellers were over-optimistic about the prices they were seeking for the stuff they were selling. Diving gear is subject to heavy wear and tear once it’s been underwater. Unless you know someone who definitely has offered to buy your stuff, you will be lucky to sell anything at all if it has been well-used and may be in need of some TLC.

Max’s stuff for sale was virtually brand-new, but even so, some items proved virtually unsalable on the Internet second-hand market.

Wetsuits are a case in point. Nobody seems to want a second-hand wetsuit. Maybe it’s a question of hygiene? Max had bought a very expensive top-of-the-range neoprene drysuit. He’d never even gotten it wet before ill-health made diving out of the question. Nevertheless, it was made-to-measure for him, so we needed to find a buyer with the same body dimensions. The fit is all-important with such a drysuit.

Not so the insulating undersuit, which I sold in the blinking of an eye.

The first regulator I sold for Max was top-of-the-range and with an octopus rig and a console with pressure gauge and compass, cost him $1500 when he bought it. At half-price, it was a bargain, yet people looking for second-hand kit are often new divers, and there are other regulators which you can buy brand-new for less than our asking price. I had to wait to find a buyer who appreciated that particular item.

It was the same with a BC. Max had bought the best at around $800 and never used it, so although it was a bargain at $400, we would need to wait for a buyer who would know that. Eventually, the same person bought both the BC and regulator set.

Fins get quite a hammering in use, so don’t expect to get much, if anything at all, unless they are still new. Max had one pair that had never seen water. He paid $140 for them but I was lucky to get $70.

When it comes to digital photography equipment, it advances so rapidly in specification that almost anything you possess is already obsolete. We are still waiting for a buyer for his GoPro8 kit, even at a third of the price he paid.

This sorry state of affairs cuts both ways. There are great bargains to be had if you search for the equipment you want and the seller has gotten used to the idea that the price he originally asked was unrealistic. Look for items that have been advertised for a long time. However, if you are buying from a seller from distant parts, you must be sure that the description of an item’s condition is genuine. There’s a lot of hassle in sending stuff back because you were disappointed in its condition.

Ask when it was last serviced and approximately how many dives it had done. Know that most regulators need an annual service, and dive computers can be subject to an expensive battery change. Factor these things into the price you might offer. And if you are selling, don’t be too bullish about the price you want. Small profits make quick returns.

It’s always better to do these deals face-to-face. Avoid Internet scams by avoiding sending your bank details to any stranger. Use a trusted payment system such as PayPal or Monzo, and when selling gear, check your account to see that the payment went through. Watch out for fake emails that appear to come from payment apps such as Zelle or Venmo.

Watch out for fake emails and requests to upgrade your payment account. Avoid communicating with buyers privately outside of Facebook or Messenger. One such scam involves the buyer paying you way too much by bank transfer ‘accidentally’ and then asking you to repay the difference. Your payment to them goes through before you discover their original payment is valueless.

Be aware that buyers might request refunds without actually paying. Avoid Phishing attempts by setting up a two-factor authentication security feature that sends you a special log-in code via an alternative device such as your phone or computer, and never reveal that code to a third party.

Rating: 4.3/5. From 3 votes.
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4 thoughts on “Lessons Learned Selling Unwanted Dive Gear<br><small><em>it’s not worth as much as you think it is</em></small>”

  1. I keep thinking I’ll sell my camera equipment..macro lenses, etc…I’m still thinking…

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  2. Even donating your gear to a worthy cause ( a college or university diving program, for example) might not give you much of a tax break. Basic stuff such as fins, masks and snorkels always are handy to have on hand but regulators, BC’s and tanks at least need inspection. Gear should be clean. If I smell mold or oil
    it goes into the trash. Some old gear only is useful for a history of diving exhibit.

    Rating: 4.0/5. From 1 vote.
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  3. Web search “donate scuba gear” to find charitable organizations that will take your used gear. You get a tax deduction and a warm feeling.

    Rating: 4.7/5. From 3 votes.
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  4. I was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation last year and the Cardiologist said no more diving. While I was disappointed I realized I was getting older and had 4,000+ dives. So I’ve decided to sell all my gear including cameras. I was glad to read your article about new divers getting started and not wanting to spend thousands of dollars on gear only to find out they couldn’t afford the ongoing expense of diving or didn’t enjoy it as ,much as they thought they would. Belonging to a dive club with experienced dives knowledgeable of quality equipment makes it easier to sell when you recall all the dives you had in that equipment and price it accordingly. And as you said what was top of the line today is outdated in only a couple years. So pass it along to a new diver at something they can afford and helps them enjoy a new beginning.

    Rating: 5.0/5. From 2 votes.
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