Most people enter the water with the intention of swimming or floating. Scuba divers, however, venture out into the water with the exact opposite intention: we need to sink. The diving process requires a balanced weight system that allows the wearer to sink slowly with control. In order to accomplish their underwater descent safely, quickly, and easily, divers of all skill levels turn to weight systems. So, some pounds or kilos will be an essential part of all scuba diving equipment.
The Basics of Scuba Dive Weight Systems
Weight systems are available in a variety of styles and methods. Many individuals search for weights that are “ditchable,” or able to be temporarily disposed of after descending into the deep ocean. Weight belts, BCD integrated weights (held in pouches), clip on weights, and fixed weights, however, have become the most popular methods of equal weight distribution for deep sea explorers.
Weight Belts: These are the most common weighing method for divers who enjoy ocean exploration for recreational purposes only. Generally made of breathable nylon material and rubber, these belts are able to be secured around the wearer’s waist like a normal belt. Weight is adjusted by adding or removing rubber or metallic blocks onto the belt, and can be removed as needed throughout the dive.
BCD Integrated Weights: Commonly used by professional or career divers, BCD integrated weights are extremely handy for people who spend a lot of time exploring underwater depths. The weight system is retained within the piece of equipment itself, and is adjusted by adding or dumping gas from the “bladder,” or primary component, or the BCD device. These devices are generally kept in pouches during the dive.
Clip on Weights: An easy, accessible way to fine-tune buoyancy, clip on weights are used by recreational and professional divers alike to adjust their weight and floatation. Clip on weights come in many different styles, including carabineer-type clips that secure to keyrings. This method of perfecting your buoyancy is extremely user-friendly, and allows the wearer to adjust their weight rapidly during their dive to accommodate changing situations.
Fixed Weights: Fixed weights are generally embedded into your scuba gear, whether they be on your tank, suit, helmet, or elsewhere. These weights are extremely handy if you know what buoyancy you need to be at, and are commonly used by professional divers at regularly visited sites.
Choosing the Best Weight System for You
When deciding which weight system is best suited for your dive location and personal style, it is important to consider your favorite ocean destinations, how far you plan to progress your dive knowledge, and your budget. For recreational divers interested in getting the most flexibility from their preferred weight system, clip-on or belt systems are recommended.
For serious individuals who plan on expanding their knowledge and abilities, fixed weights are recommended. Divers who are serious about exploring the deep seas or plan on using their gear on a regular basis would benefit most from a BCD system. Before making a final decision, consider renting or borrowing your preferred weight system to confirm it fits your individual needs.