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Selection, Care and Maintenance for Guideline Reels

Most overhead cavern and cave classes require three reels: one large "primary" reel with at least {400 ft | 120 m} of line, plus two smaller "safety" reels with about {140 ft | 45 m} of line. Many divers also carry one or more {50 ft | 15 m} or longer compact finger spools for gap jumps. Depending the mission and instructor, sometimes a finger spool can be substituted for one of the required safety reels.

Open water technical classes require a {140 ft | 45 m} or larger reel and {50 lb | 23 kg}or larger surface marking bag. Depending on local conditions many instructors also require a backup bag and reel; sometimes a finger spool can be substituted for the reel.

As with most dive equipment, at least rinse reels with fresh water following each dive and soaking in fresh water is preferred. You should also periodically disassemble the reel, and remove any build up of salt or sediment on its internal parts. We recommend pulling some or all of the line off the spool before each dive, then rewinding it neatly but not too tightly, so as to prevent the possibility of jamming during line deployment. If the line on the reel is new or very dry, we recommend pulling the line off into a bucket of water. This will moisten the line, precluding it from swelling on the reel and further preventing the possibility of jamming or damaging the spool.

Overloaded reels and spools are common and too much line can cause jams during initial deployment. If you are having a problem with jams, check the length of the line and try removing some excess if your reel or finger spool has been overloaded.