Coronavirus COVID-19 Restrictions

Coronavirus COVID-19 Restrictions

The Coronavirus COVID-19 situation is having an impact on all of us. It's a constantly changing situation. We've been trying to keep our customers, suppliers and the general diving community up-to-date with what we're doing via regular posts on our Facebook page, plus email newsletters. However, we felt it best to bring it all together here in one easily accessible location.

The health, welfare and safety of all divers is an overriding concern for The Scuba Doctor and it is recognised that the coronavirus outbreak, subsequent spread and associated media publicity can heighten awareness and concern.

The Scuba Doctor continues to monitor current government advice to assess the risk as appropriate. We also work closely with industry sources in order to assure a considered and appropriate response.

Last Updated: Friday, 18 June 2021, 2:00 a.m.

Dive Shop Coronavirus COVID-19 Restrictions

Dive Shop Opening Hours

Please see Opening Hours for details.

Shopping Online

Our online dive shop is open 24x7. We are processing online orders, answering emails and phone calls from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Shopping In-Store

Coronavirus COVID-19 Restrictions - Shopping In-Store

Our physical bricks and mortar location, The Scuba Doctor Dive Shop, in Rye on the Morning Peninsula south of Melbourne is open for in-store shopping.

Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to make changes to our In-Store shopping policies as follows:

  • ONLY THREE customers allowed in the dive shop at any one time.
  • Face Masks. Wearing a face mask is compulsory in dive shop.
  • Contact Tracing. Upon entering the dive shop you will be asked by a staff member to use the QR Code system to check in, or provide your name, mobile phone number and entry time on a form provided.
  • DON'T touch items on display unless you must do so. If you must touch something, please use the hand sanitiser provided BEFORE and AFTER touching anything.
  • NO use of the diver's kitchen by customers. (Now a staff only area.)
  • NO use of the shower.
  • NO leaving the main dive shop area, unless accompanied by a Staff Member. This includes going to the Diver's Kitchen, the back Wash Area, the Miflex Hose display area, Kids Corner, the Front Office and the Back Office.
  • Cash payments are still OK. Credit Card preferred.
  • Click and Collect online purchasing preferred. We strongly recommend that customers who can do so, please use our Click and Collect service. This makes it easier for everyone to maintain the social distancing standards, plus reduce your in-store time.

Given the current rapidly changing situation and unknowns, we've decided that it's prudent to put in place these in-store restrictions. They could change at any time.

Social Distancing: The floor space of our dive shop lets us have 9 people inside and still comply with the four square metres per person restriction. However, given the layout of the dive shop, we've decided to only allow three customers and two staff inside at any given time. Attendance at the dive shop by customers will be by appointment only. If you come inside and are asked to leave, e.g. because there were people inside you couldn't see, please leave without a fuss. It's for your own protection.

We ask that if you're waiting for Air and/or Nitrox fills, that you please do so outside of the dive shop while maintaining proper self-distancing measures.

Guided Dives and Dive Courses

Coronavirus COVID-19 Restrictions - Guided Dives and Dive Courses

Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic we will be providing Guided Dives with a maximum of two customers per dive guide.
Last updated: 14-Nov-2020

We have decided to make changes to our Guided Dives and Dive Courses policies as follows:

  • We will only allow a maximum of TWO divers with a Dive Master on a Guided Dive.
  • We will NOT be doing any in-water Dive Courses.

Given the current rapidly changing situation and unknowns, we've decided that it's prudent to put in place these restrictions. They could change at any time.

Given we typically do one-on-one or one-on-two Guided Dives, the first change is not a big one for us. However, for the time being we've suspended all in-water diver training courses.

Please see Melbourne Guided Dives.

Click and Collect

Coronavirus COVID-19 Restrictions - Click and Collect

Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly recommend that customers who can do so, please use our Click and Collect service. This makes it easier for everyone to maintain the social distancing standards, plus reduces your in-store time.

Shop online. During checkout select "Store Pickup" as the shipping method. We'll let you know by email when your order is ready to be collected. Then you can call or email us to make an appointment to collect your order. You save on shipping as this service is free!

If you are picking up an online order, please call ahead. We'll then make sure it's to hand when you arrive. When you get here, please wait outside and we'll bring it out to you.

Click and Collect now!

Air and Nitrox Fills

Coronavirus COVID-19 Restrictions - Air and Nitrox Fills

Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to make changes to our Air, Nitrox and Trimix Fills policies as follows:

  • We will ONLY be doing Air and Nitrox fills. We will NOT be doing Trimix fills.
  • We will ONLY allow THREE customers in the dive shop at any one time.

Given the current rapidly changing situation and unknowns, we've decided that it's prudent to put in place these restrictions. However, they could change at any time.

The process of compressing gases generates heat during the compression process that should kill any virus inadvertently to enter the air intakes. Helium and oxygen supplies for producing gas mixes are always be from a reputable source for breathing gases. Consequently, the gas in your diving cylinder should remain safe to breathe.

The greatest potential for transmission of the COVID-19 virus is through surface contact around the top of the cylinder and pillar valve. Compressor operators, people transporting cylinders and those assembling scuba sets should avoid touching or otherwise contaminating the outlet of the cylinder or the first stage of the regulator that connects to it.

Social Distancing: The floor space of our dive shop lets us have 9 people inside and still comply with the four square metres per person restriction. However, given the layout of the dive shop, we've decided to only allow three customers and two staff inside at any given time. If you come inside and are asked to leave, e.g. because there were people inside you couldn't see, please leave without a fuss. It's for your own protection.

We ask that if you're waiting for Air and/or Nitrox fills, that you please do so outside of the dive shop while maintaining proper self-distancing measures. Doing so also helps us to handle more customers in a timely way.

See also, Air, Nitrox and Trimix Fills.

Scuba Gear Rental

Coronavirus COVID-19 Restrictions - Scuba Gear Rental

Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, we have decided to make changes to our Scuba Equipment Rental policies as follows:

  • We will ONLY hire Cylinders and Pocketed Weight Belts. We will NOT hire BCDs, Regs or Wetsuits.
  • We will ONLY do one/same day hire. It must be back before 5 p.m. the day you pick it up.

As always, we use recommended cleaning and sanitisation procedures to ensure as best we can that all rental equipment is safe. However, given the current rapidly changing situation and unknowns, we've decided that it's prudent to stop the hiring of BCDs, Regulators and Wetsuits for the safety of customers and staff.

We've already had inquiries from people wanting to hire lots of cylinders for weeks and months. We've decided to place a one-day restriction on the rental of cylinders and weight belts so as to maximise the number of people who can get out diving. Most of our hire tanks are Faber steel cylinders (10.5, 12.2 and 15 litre).

We hire Apollo pocketed weight belts, for ease of use and maximum flexibility.

We're sorry if these restrictions impact on your ability to get out and dive. Of course, you can still buy BCDs, Regulators and Wetsuits from us. We have plenty of great advice and options online and in-store at our everyday low prices.

Please Note: There are only three products we trust to properly clean and disinfect scuba gear against COVID-19, while at the same time not damaging the scuba gear. One is SteriGENE, with the others being Virkon S Tablets and Steramine Quaternary Sanitizing 1-G Tablets. (We had been using Steramine and ordered more stock of Steramine in early February 2020 and it finally arrived in September 2020. However, we quickly ran out of it. In May 2020, we managed to find a source for Virkon S Tablets. We now have a shipment of SteriGENE on its way. In the meantime, we prefer to keep everyone safe by simply not renting out BCDs, Regulators, and Wetsuits.

See also, Scuba Equipment Rental.

Eight Simple COVID-19 Risk Reduction Steps For Divers

PADI has introduced eight simple COVID-19 risk reduction steps for divers to be taken into account while doing any diving related activities.

COVID-19 primarily spreads by by inhaling small droplets exhaled by an infected person (respiratory transmission), and by touching the eyes, nose and/or mouth after touching something an infected person touched or sneezed/coughed on (contact transmission). By staying aware of both, risk reduction is usually straightforward. Keeping things simple usually works well.

  1. Don't go diving if you have or may have (symptoms), or have been exposed to any infectious disease. Isolate until healthy and clear according to medical advice.
  2. Support the space program. On the surface and out of the water, apply social distancing and give each other the local minimum required separation.
  3. Keep your dirty mitts off! Sanitise/wash your hands before and after touching any dive gear (including your own), even if touching was in underwater. Don't touch someone else's gear unless absolutely necessary. It's not clear that immersion reduces COVID-19 contact risk, so assume that it doesn't. Note: Recommended hand sanitisers are 70%+ alcohol and highly flammable. Do not use hand sanitiser near oxygen or a fire source. Be sure hands are fully dried before using either.
  4. Don't clam up: Medical mask etiquette. My mask helps protect you. Your mask helps protect me. Let's follow local protocols and not be shellfish.
  5. COVID-19 hates scuba. Your mask reduces eyes and nose contact-risk, and keeping it on is the best habit whenever you're in the water anyway. Breathing from a regulator reduces your respiration transmission risk.
  6. Be a lean, clean, sanitary machine. Use defog. Disinfect masks, snorkels, regulators and BCDs before another person uses them, and before storing them. Don't sling the ... stuff ... out of your mask after a dive. Rinse it somewhere appropriately. Avoid spitting/blowing nose etc. into the water where others will be/are. Use tissues and discard them appropriately. Wash/sanitise your hands after touching high contact surfaces like railings, door pulls, safety handles, etc.
  7. Sharing air is bad. At the surface. Diving, dive gear and wind affect the direction and distance our exhalations travel. Stay aware and avoid being on , and having someone on the "receiving end" when clearing snorkels, breathing hard after freediving, etc. Regulator-breathing helps protect you, but your exhalations might affect someone who's too close and not using a regulator.
  8. But sharing air might be really important underwater. So, don't test breathe your alternate second stage. Test purge it during checks, but leave it disinfected in case someone needs it. Or, test breathe it, then re-disinfect it.

Disinfecting Scuba Equipment

We only trust three products to safely disinfect scuba gear from COVID-19, without damaging the life support equipment, when used properly. One is SteriGENE, and the others are Virkon S Tablets and Steramine Quaternary Sanitizing 1-G Tablets.

Virkon S Multi-Purpose Sanitiser Tablets (50 Pack) Virkon S Multi-Purpose Sanitiser Tablets (50 Pack)
RRP: $75, Our Price: $69, You Save $6 (8%).
Virkon S Tablets are a US EPA registered, broad spectrum virucidal bactericidal fungicidal disinfectant. Virkon S has been fully tested by the Royal Australian Navy and is used extensively by them, but especially by the clearance divers.

During this period of risks from COVID-19, additional precautions may be considered to include any personal equipment that is intended for use by another diver in an emergency (AS and BC mouthpieces) can additionally be soaked in a suitable disinfectant solution for 10 minutes. Any equipment soaked in disinfectant solution should be thoroughly rinsed in fresh water before further use and allowed to air dry thoroughly before storage. If owners are concerned this might impact on the equipment they should contact the manufacturer for advice.

It is essential that manufacturers guidelines are followed when considering any means of disinfecting regulators and BCDs. Any chemical that could interact with the moving parts, valves and perishable components within the regulator could interfere with the working and/or performance. If owners are concerned this might impact on the equipment they should contact the manufacturer for advice.

Hand Sanitiser

We've finally come up with a great solution to our problem sourcing hand sanitiser for the dive shop. Somerville, Mornington Peninsula based Chief's Son Distillery is now making hand sanitiser.

It's a quality medical grade product which is ethanol 80% v/v, water, glycerol and hydrogen peroxide based in accordance with WHO standards, FDA and TGA approved. There are options they can deliver and options that are pick up only at the distillery door. The quality you can order online is limited, but you can call them on 03 9013 0859 for bulk orders.

We purchased five of the 250ml glass spray top bottles, five of the 500ml refill glass bottles, plus a bulk 10 litre pack. When we've used up the contents of the 250ml bottles we'll switch the spray tops over to the larger 500ml bottles, which are a better size for use in the dive shop. Then we've got the bulk supply of 10 litres to refill the 500ml bottles from. We can just go back for more bulk hand sanitiser as required. A great, environmentally friendly, ongoing solution.

If you need hand sanitiser for your home, business, school or medical facility, we strongly recommend you contact Chief's Son Distillery.

Face Masks

We have for sale the Australian Made range of Sharkskin Envirus fabric/cloth face masks.

Sharkskin Envirus Everyday+ Face Mask Sharkskin Envirus Everyday+ Face Mask
RRP: $30, Our Price: $19, You Save $11 (37%).
This face mask is easy breathing, flexible, and comfortable. Specifically designed to be used for long periods every day. The outer layer has water repellent properties with an anti-microbial/anti-bacterial treatment. The inner finer stitched fabric allows for better filtration and is permanently anti-microbial thanks to the inherent highly flexible liquid titanium woven into the fabric.

Sharkskin Envirus Hydrophobic Face Mask - Antimicrobial PPE Sharkskin Envirus Hydrophobic Face Mask - Antimicrobial PPE
RRP: $38, Our Price: $25, You Save $13 (34%).
This is a multi-layer design based on the best scientific data available. Sharkskin have worked with scientists, fabric experts, industrial and technical wear manufacturers to ensure to offer the best protection they can.

We've also been using the surgical face masks, made in Shepparton, Victoria, Australia, by Med-Con Pty Ltd.

Model 170506, High Filtration Surgical Face Masks with Earloops, Level 2, Green colour are available in boxes of 50 masks.

They are way more comfortable than the P2/N95 respirator face masks we see being used by some people. However, these surgical face masks are needed for use by medical professionals and others at risk of exposure to COVID-19. Med-Con's full production output is now being diverted for this purpose.

Other Resources

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