Tips and Uses for Old or Decommissioned Scuba Tanks

A scuba diver emerges from the water
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Even with proper maintenance, scuba tanks eventually wear out. Dents, cracks, and rust can compromise a scuba tank's structural integrity. The dive industry recommends that tanks be visually inspected for damage once a year, and the United States Department of Transportation requires that all compressed gas cylinders undergo hydrostatic testing every 5 years. If a tank fails either visual inspection or hydrostatic testing, it is decommissioned. The owner is left with a heavy, bulky hunk of metal. Now what?

1. Be Certain That the Tank Is Unusable

If you're uncertain, double check to make sure that the tank can't be used for diving. ​Old tanks are not necessarily unusable as scuba equipment. If the tank's hydrostatic test date is passed, send the tank in for testing. Steel tanks have a very long life and steel tanks from the 1950s can still be found in perfect working condition.

2. Save the Valuable Bits

Remove the tank's valve. Tank valves are valuable, and a valve in good condition can be re-used or sold. Even if the valve is no longer usable, you will need to remove it before scrapping or shipping the tank.

 3. Make Some Cash

Sell the tank for scrap metal.

4. Find an Appropriate Disposal Method

Give the tank to your local dive shop if they already have a method of disposing of old scuba tanks.

5. Get Creative

Use the tank for an art project. From doorstops to lamp bases, used scuba tanks can be painted, cut up, and polished for a variety of uses. Scuba tanks even make great planters for the diving gardener.

6. Help to Educate Future Divers

Donate the tank as a teaching aid. Have the scuba tank cut in half and give it to an instructor to use when teaching open water courses. Many students find it interesting to see the inside of the tank and the thickness of the walls. Tanks with rust or significant pitting may be even better teaching aids because they illustrate the consequences of poor tank maintenance.

7. Make More Dive Gear

Creative divers have used decommissioned scuba tanks to make camera housings and light canisters.

8. Sell the Tank on eBay

If your tank can be fixed but you don't want to bother, put it on eBay and someone will buy it. Even if it is unfixable, there is surely someone out there interested in buying a decommissioned tank for an art project or teaching aid.