Scuba Fins Maintenance and Care: How to make sure your Fins last a lifetime!

By Julius
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Apeks RK3 fins

Scuba fins maintenance and care are super important!

So you just received your shiny new scuba fins and now wonder how to take care of them? Just like any other part of your scuba gear, your fins require proper care and regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

If you follow some basic principles, you never have to replace your fins! I know some divers who still dive their original Beuchat Jet Fins from 1964 and they work flawlessly.

In this guide, we’ll look at scuba fins maintenance and care, and show you exactly how to make sure your fins last a lifetime! We will also see how to best store them to prevent warping and bending or some unwanted microcracks.

Why Can Scuba Fins Break?

Scuba fins are regularly exposed to harsh conditions such as saltwater, chlorine, sun exposure, and physical wear. Without proper care, these factors can rapidly degrade your fins, leading to reduced efficiency and comfort and you will have to replace them eventually.

Before we delve into the specifics, it’s crucial to understand why fin maintenance and proper care are super important. We often come across divers who totally neglect their scuba gear and scuba fins and then are devastated that the buckles break or something else happens to them.

There are six reasons why scuba fins commonly break:

Material Degradation

Over time, exposure to saltwater, chlorine, UV rays, and extreme temperatures can cause the materials in scuba fins to degrade, making them brittle and leading to cracks and snipping. The same happens to the neoprene of your wetsuit or dive boots!

Hitting them against things

Using fins to push off against rocks or coral, standing on them, or walking in them on hard surfaces can cause breaking, especially at the fin blade or foot pocket. The same happens when you scratch them across the floor or drag them over sandy areas.

Poor Storage

Storing fins improperly, such as folding them, placing heavy objects on top, or leaving them bent, can lead to creases that may turn into tears or complete breaks over time.

Scuba tank and fins at shore
Scuba fins shouldn’t be left out in the sunlight for too long.

Physical Damage

Dropping heavy objects on fins (cough cough scuba tanks), stepping on them, or crushing them in packed dive bags can cause cracks or breakage.

Over-tightened Straps

Straps and buckles on open-heel fins that are pulled too tight can put excess stress on the strap attachments and buckles. Far too often we’ve seen divers pull too hard on them before they rip or tear. (Very annoying!)

Essential Scuba Fins Maintenance Tips

Now that you know how and why fins break, it’s time for some scuba fins maintenance and care tips!

Rinse After Use

Salt crystals, chlorine, and sand can be damaging over time. After each dive:

  • Rinse your fins with fresh water as soon as possible.
  • Pay particular attention to hinges, straps, and buckles where salt and sand can accumulate.
  • After a long dive trip, drop them in a water bucket and let them wash off completely. Alternatively, go diving in freshwater to get the remaining salt off.

Dry and Store Them Correctly

Don’t store your fins in your cellar or dive bag when they’re still wet! This can lead to deformation, molding, and material breakdown. Always follow these three steps:

  • Dry your fins in the shade to prevent UV damage.
  • Once dry, store them flat or hang them vertically with a fin hanger.
  • If you must have them standing up, put them with the foot pocket down to the ground or else they will start deforming.
  • Avoid storing fins in high temperatures, such as the trunk of your car.

Avoid Heat and Sunlight

Just like any other part of your diving equipment, you should avoid heat and direct sunlight.

Regular Inspection

Small issues can lead to significant problems if left unchecked:

  • Inspect your fins regularly for signs of wear, such as cracks or tears.
  • Check your foot pockets and buckles, as they are often the first to break.

Straps and Buckles Care

Straps and buckles like to break when you don’t take care of them:

  • Do not overtighten, as this can cause the straps to stretch or buckle to break.
  • Be patient! Yes, fins can be annoying to put on but don’t rip them in anger. 😉
  • Replace any worn or damaged parts immediately.

Avoid Folding

Folding your fins can damage or warp them.

  • Never fold your fins for storage!
  • If traveling, use a fin bag or wrap them in your clothes for protection.
  • Once again: If you must store them standing up, the foot pocket should point down

Use Silicone Spray for Rubber Fins

For rubber fins, a silicone spray can help:

  • Only apply a light coat
  • Ensure the spray is compatible with your fin materials!!!

Use Properly

Use your fins as intended. Walking backward in open-heel fins or using the edges to push off from rocks or corals can cause damage. If you have ever gone skiing you can basically treat them the same way!

Some Advanced Care Tips from a Dive Instructor

The tips above are great for anyone who wants to take care of their scuba fins. Here are some more tips from me that I have collected over the years as a scuba diving instructor around the world.

Dealing with Stains and Discoloration

Over time, some fins can become stained or discolored. This is sometimes the case when you dive them in chlorinated pools too often. In that case, use a mild soap and a soft brush to gently scrub the fins. This works on any kind of fin.

Please avoid harsh chemicals! They will damage the rubber or plastic and make the fins brittle.

Dive in Freshwater After Diving in the Ocean

After a long dive trip, clean your fins thoroughly and jump into your local quarry or lake. This will wash off any remaining saltwater and will make your scuba fins live longer.

Of course, it goes without saying that you must first wash them off before jumping into a lake!

Scuba diver in the Green Lake in Austria
Lake diving is a great way to make sure all remaining salt is gone.

Repairing Minor Damage

Some minor damages can be repaired at home (only if you know how to!):

If the buckle breaks, you can buy a replacement part online or from your local dive shop. Even better: Get bungee or spring straps!

Small cuts can sometimes be fixed with bike tire glue.

How to Store Scuba Fins Correctly After Diving

After every dive, you should dry and clean your scuba fins and store them lying flat or hanging from a hanger. Avoid sunlight exposure, and high temperatures, and don’t bend them in any way. If they must remain standing, the foot pocket should be on the ground.

If you want your scuba fins to last a lifetime, store them so they aren’t getting bent. Always store fins out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources. This includes your radiator (yes, fins can melt!). Hang them from a special fin hanger or lay them flat, but please never leave them standing on the tips or sides.

If you must store fins in a confined space like your dive bag, ensure they are not crushed or bent. Oh, and please don’t put your scuba tank on them!


If you apply good scuba fins maintenance and care and store them the right way, your scuba fins will last forever.

Check out our list of the best scuba fins in 2024 if you are looking to buy some new ones!

If you have any questions, comments, more tips for others, or just want to say hi, leave us a comment below! We love to hear from you! 🤩

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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

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