Diving with a GoPro


utila, honduras, buceo, diving, underwater vision, oceanicaSince I bought my GoPro a few weeks ago, I’ve put it to the test: first the pool at Barra de Santiago, then I took it to Costa Rica for Semana Santa, where it went on a cloud forest tour, ziplining and — most exciting of all to date — buceo. I was super-excited about taking my GoPro to Utila, where there was sure to be plenty of amazing things to see. Except on the first — of eight — dives we did, my GoPro broke.OK, maybe “broke” is not quite the right word because it still works, just not to 100 percent capacity. But as my friend Sylvia says, If it’s not fully functional, it’s broken. Here’s what happened: In Costa Rica, I used the GoPro Wrist Housing, which is waterproof up to 197 feet. Plenty deep. I felt that having the camera on my wrist limited the range of shooting, so I bought a floating hand grip on which you could mount the camera in its Standard Housing, which is allegedly waterproof up to 137 feet. Also plenty deep.Well fíjese que it is not waterproof up to even 80 or 90 feet, the depth of our shipwreck diveNot long into our dive, the screen stopped working … and then I noticed a small amount of water — inside the case.utila, honduras, buceo, diving, underwater vision, oceanicaLeakage.At that point the camera was still working — its buttons and shooting function and everything. I just could not see the screen or navigate the full menu beyond the commands I had already memorized. When we got back to land, I took the camera out of its case and set everything out to dry. I had heard that GoPros have a pretty good warranty, and that you can get your camera replaced if something happens to it in the course of shooting. Since, after all, GoPro encourages adventurous use of the camera (diving, surfing, skiing, skydiving, etc.). The warranty, however, says this:

Go Pro warrants that for a period of one (1) year from original date of purchase, the product will be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use. … This warranty does not apply to products damaged by misuse, accident or normal wear and tear. Because of possible user-resealing error, this product is not warranted against Waterproof Housing leakage or any resulting damage.*

MOTHERF#*@$&! I left my GoPro for the moment and tried not to have this ruin the rest of my day/trip (luckily our next dive was a night dive). Later that evening, it was completely dead. No response at all when I tried to turn it on. No WiFi function to sync it with the GoPro app on my iPhone. No recognition on my computer when I plugged it in via USB.The next day I decided to seek the cure for all water-damaged electronics: a rice bath. I have fixed many an iPod/iPhone with this trusty regimen. I bought some rice, then placed my GoPro — emptied of its battery, SD card and back cover — on top of the rice in a sealed Ziplock bag.It worked. The screen is still broken, so there’s no changing around the options without the use of the GoPro app, but I can turn it on and off, switch from video to photo (since I know where those are, the first and second options on the menu), shoot photo and video and, most importantly, sync to the app or plug it into my computer via USB to transfer files.I did not take the GoPro out the entire second day of diving (three dives), but I did take it out on our last day — in the non-faulty Wrist Housing (I’m sorry, I don’t buy the “user error” excuse for why its normal housing couldn’t withstand a depth well above its limit) — and was able to take many of the photos featured in my first Utila blog post. Same with the turtle photo and the dolphin videoSo it mostly works. Kind of.In the future, I will not be using the standard housing for any below-water activities. What I would recommend — and what I would do if I hadn’t already spent a million dollars on the camera, different housings and various mounts/accessories — is using the Dive Housing, which is basically the same as the Wrist Housing but on a standard mount.Have you had luck using a rice bath to repair water-damaged electronics?*For the record I did contact GoPro customer support to inquire about the possibility of any technical support to repair the damage. They replied that they “would certainly like to help [me] out, and may be able to offer a discount on the purchase of a replacement.” I submitted a copy of my receipt per their request and am waiting to hear back …

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

3 thoughts on “Diving with a GoPro

  1. That rice trick totally works! The very first iPhone I ever had accidentally fell in a cup of water. Setting it in some rice was a miracle cure.Good thing you contacted GoPro. A good company stands behind their product. Hope you have good luck with them and they help you out.


    1. Rice is amazing! Well we’ll see what GoPro says. I “may” be eligible for a discount for a replacement, but possibly not. And even if I am, the discount might not be that much (it is a $399 camera!).


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