GoPro Hero 5 Water Damage: Complete Steps to Get a Replacement

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I’ve been a considerable GoPro fan since I owned a GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition in 2014. And I’ve always been reluctant to replace it since I found it working very well and haven’t had any issues encountered with GoPro. But when GoPro Hero 5 Black came out, as a passionate fan I hankered to upgrade after learning its superb features.

The release of GoPro Hero 5 Black in 2016 had stirred the sports camera market. It has 4K Maximum Resolution in 30FPS, 2-INCH touch screen display and is water-resistant up to 33FT (10M) even without a case and effective electronic image stabilization. But despite GoPro Hero 5 Black’s superb features and seamless performance, it also has its accompanying drawbacks.

📚 READ: We Got Ours! Start Planning with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s 2019 Giving Journal

Water Leak

In April 2017, I purchased a GoPro Hero 5 Black at Macys Camera Shop following the bargain of my previous GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Edition at the marketplace.

I used to bring my GoPro on my water adventures and I always notice a smog inside the front LCD after each use. It did not bother me at all as it just subsides after a few minutes of letting it dry itself.

Kawasan Falls Cebu
Here’s one of the shots I took at Kawasan Falls, Badian Cebu.

A few months later, I went on a short trip to Kawasan Falls in Cebu. While recording a video, I swam towards the falls. A few minutes of swimming, the GoPro break off all of a sudden which I assumed at first that the battery was just empty. But it was too late for me to discover that the water has gotten inside when I opened it while I was riding on a bus heading towards home.

How to Salvage a GoPro in case of Water Damage

After what happened, I honestly did nothing to salvage my GoPro. I just took out the MicroSD and battery from the unit. I let it dry itself for two days. After which, I turned it on but there was no light or any indication that the screen was working.

If this happens to you, follow these simple steps to revive your GoPro which instructions were based on GoPro Support hub:

  1. DO NOT turn it on.
  2. Take out the battery and MicroSD first. If it had gotten wet from saltwater, immerse in freshwater for 30 seconds. This will help prevent corrosion.
  3. Dry the GoPro. One way to do this is to put the camera in a sealed bag with a cup or two of rice for 3-5 days. Others simply dry it out in the sun.

If the above-mentioned steps still don’t work, it’s time to contact GoPro Support for a replacement.

Complete Steps to Get a GoPro Replacement

It took me one week to figure out the next thing to do. Either to have it fixed at the accredited service centers like iFix or reach out the GoPro Support. But, I also realized that I misplaced the receipt and it’s nowhere to be found (epic fail). I’m very glad that Macys Camera Shop was cooperative and considerate of my case. They issued a new receipt for me. For everyone’s information, Macys Camera Shop is a recommended gadget shop in Cebu.

Contact GoPro Support Immediately

Contacting GoPro Support
Contacting GoPro Support on Live Chat

Wherever is your location, I suggest to quickly check the availability of the GoPro Support in your country or time zone here.

📝 NOTE: GoPro Chat Support for the Philippine market is only available from 5:00 AM to 3:00 PM (GMT +8), Monday to Friday.

I was hopeful that my damaged GoPro Hero 5 Black could be replaced. So, I registered my unit for the first time on their website for possible warranty claims. Subsequently, I contacted GoPro Chat Support.

At first, I did not get a prompt response from their support. I was always directed to the predefined solutions on their website. Until I deliberately ranted on twitter and tagged their accounts publicly. And that prompt them to solely address my concerns.

Explain the Incident

Dead GoPro Screen
No sign that the GoPro screen had turned on successfully.

If an agent is already assessing your case, stay calm, and explain what happened. They will certainly accommodate and assist you throughout the process. Some suggested not to over detail the incident or make it dramatic either— but instead, keep it direct, clear, and simple.

Essentially, they will ask for the Serial Number (can be found inside the unit) and the official receipt to proceed.

I told the chat agent that I’ve only used my GoPro in water for few times since I had it. And that I didn’t even use it for snorkeling or diving that could possibly void the warranty (if accidentally brought more than 10M underwater). Also, prior to my trip to Kawasan Falls, I made sure that my GoPro was sealed properly. I explained the event where I was only capturing videos above water level and rest assured it wasn’t soaked in the waters of Kawasan Falls. Furthermore, I told him that I did nothing to salvage my GoPro. I just let it dry itself for a couple of days.

Most of the time, the agent will help you salvage your GoPro by giving instructions and somehow tried quick troubleshooting. In my case, they instructed me to do a few ways to possibly fix my GoPro like updating the firmware, re-formatting the microSD card, and a few other tricks but got no luck.

After almost thirty minutes of assessment and troubleshooting, finally, they approved my case for a one-time replacement.

Comply All the Requirements

Gopro Support Emails
Various GoPro Support Emails

Once your case is approved for replacement, they’re going to gather the necessary information in order to further document your case. To do that, a couple of emails will be sent to you. That contains instructions and documents to fill up and print, then revert those back to them.

  1. Receipt

    An email that includes a link where you can send a copy of the receipt, photos or any other requested information.

  2. Shipping Address

    An email containing a link to a form where you need to provide the complete shipping address.

  3. GoPro: Return Auth. #RMA-NL

    An email that contains the Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA). (The RMA # is needed to generate the UPS Shipping Label.)

  4. A Return Has Been Set Up For You

    An email with the Return Instructions and the link to generate the UPS Shipping Label.

  5. UPS Label Delivery, ****

    An email having the link to retrieve the UPS Returns Label and the Commercial Invoice.

  6. We Received Your Recent Return RMA-NL

    A confirmation email that GoPro Support has received and processed your return.

📝 NOTE: Small parts such as batteries, SD cards, or other accessories should NOT be included unless otherwise specified in the RMA form.

Cheers! From here, you are ready to send your camera for replacement.

Send the Camera to GoPro Returns Office via UPS Office Near You

GoPro RMA, UPS Returns Label, Commercial Invoice and Camera
RMA, UPS Returns Label, Commercial Invoice and the camera, ready to ship.

After complying the requirements mentioned in Step 3, follow the tips below before heading to the UPS office:

  • Print 3 Copies of RMA Document
  • Print 3 Copies of UPS Returns Label
  • Print 3 Copies of Commercial Invoice
  • Place the camera inside a small box
  • Bubblewrap the camera or stuff the box with papers for safekeeping
  • Declaration fee of Php 300+

Presumably, GoPro already shouldered the Shipping Fee. But in the Philippines, item shipped with a declared value of more than $100 is subject for declaration fee. In my case, I paid Php 300+ for the declaration fee. (Declared Value can be found in the Commercial Invoice)

Just provide all the requirements needed, the camera and the fee to the UPS person and you’re good to go.

💡 TIP: All damaged GoPro Cameras are sent to Singapore.

Wait for the New GoPro to Arrive

New GoPro Warranty Replacement
My new GoPro has arrived.

Usually, it can take 3 days to 1 month for a replacement to arrive. Mine was delivered after 3 business days (minus the weekend). I processed mine on Saturday and received a new one by Wednesday.


It is evident that GoPro Hero 5 Black has a poor waterproofing mechanism. As a matter of fact, the UPS branch where I went to, they said that they are receiving an average of 15 GoPro Camera returns per week because of water damage— that’s terrible!

That being said, GoPro should definitely address these issues on their future releases. A design that won’t compromise the sealing on the battery compartment even against dust.

Guiwanon Cold Spring
GoPro Hero 5 Black Edition Shot at Guiwanon Spring, Cebu

📚 READ: Beat the Heat this Summer in Guiwanon Cold Spring: Northern Cebu’s Hidden Gem

After the incident, it might be a good choice to switch to other counterparts. Or if you choose to keep your GoPro Hero 5 Black, make sure to have an additional waterproofing case for water use.

GoPro Hero 5 Water Damage Replacement Pinterest

Nevertheless, I am delighted with the positive response of GoPro Customer Support.

And the idea of a one-time replacement gives me a strong impression to continue trusting this brand.

Love what you just read? Pin this!

Sole Wanderer
A Cebuano web programmer, travel enthusiast, foodie, and I love what I do. If you are the kind of person who loves to explore life, will try anything once, enjoy little things, and live life without any sense of twitchiness, then you are definitely on the right page.

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  1. how much it will cost for troubleshoot or repair if the gadget were no longer covered in go pro session also have water leak because the turn on/off button covered with just rubber got ripped. please help also residing here in cebu ph. thank you

  2. I had the same scenarios you’ve mentioned above. I only used my go pro hero 6 less than 10 times since i purchased it last quarter of 2017. I made sure i had my go pro sealed and locked properly before i used it in a shallow water. I had it replaced one time because of water damaged. They sent me a new one ( as they said) and it worked fine until i used it again in water. Locked and only 5 inches deep in the water but still the water got in.

    I contacted them 2nd time and they said they only replaced it one time. My problem is in Davao area , i couldn’t find anyone who can fix it.

    They advertise this as water proof but that is a lie. Not reliable.

    • Yes, there is only a one-time replacement as per GoPro policy.
      To be honest, when I received my GoPro replacement, I tried to sell in the marketplace but it’s way too cheap (buyers are asking less than half of the price). That leads me to just use my new GoPro for biking. No more underwater usage.

      I suggest bringing your GoPro to iFix. I’m not sure where you can find their branches in Davao or nearer.

      And next time, you can use an additional GoPro underwater casing. As clearly, there is a mechanical fault on their new GoPro models.

  3. Hi! If i were to dry in a bag of rice, should i take out the battery and have the battery cover opened before i put in on rice?

  4. Hi, i already received all emails you’ve mentioned however my only problem is we don’t have UPS courier here in Mindanao.

    • Hello @Mick. Good thing this article helped you. Regarding your problem, you really need to send the damaged GoPro via UPS. There is no other accredited courier for GoPro returns. The Returns Label that you need to print is also meant for UPS courier. You better find a UPS office. If not in Mindanao, you may ask someone in Davao or Cebu to send on your behalf.


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