Choosing a Scuba BCD By Body Type
If you’re having trouble choosing a scuba BCD, one of the factors you should consider is your body type. You need a scuba BCD that fits well because this device will give you the support you need in the water.
- Your body type will help determine what type of scuba BCD you choose. For instance, if you have a large frame, bulk won’t be an issue when you’re choosing a scuba BCD. However, if you are petite, you’d be better off with a compact scuba BCD.
- If you are short-waisted, one way to ensure a good fit is by selecting a scuba BCD that has an integrated weighting system.
- Consider the length of your scuba BCD. You don’t want one that extends too far down because it will make removing your weights more difficult.
- Choose a model that fits snugly and doesn’t ride up your body or one that has a customizable fit.
Jacket Style Scuba BCD
The air cell surrounds your torso like a jacket. Jacket inflation is best suited for divers who need to maintain a vertical orientation or spend a lot of time on the surface.
Back Inflation Scuba BCD
Back Inflatation places the bladder behind the diver. Many divers find this more comfortable, as it allows for easier movement of the arms and feels less restrictive. A back inflation ScubaBC, like the Excursion Oceanic BC, also helps divers maintain proper horizontal attitude while underwater.
Snorkelers often appreciate a third kind of buoyancy control device, the Snorkel Vest, which provides much needed buoyancy when snorkeling on the surface. More articles about Purchasing scuba equipment online.
Jacket-Style BCD-The jacket-style is perhaps the most common type of BCD among divers for the last 30 years. The BCD consists of a wearable sleeveless jacket into which an air bladder is integrated that wraps around the diver. The types and configurations of this kind of BCD are numerous, but the basic premise remains that the bladder wraps around and inflates both in front, on the sides and behind the diver. The jacket-style BCD is very comfortable and provides pockets for storage and is commonly found with pouches for weight integration which replaces the need for a independent weight belt. Jacket BCDs are extremely stable in all positions in the water and is the most popular choice for recreational divers all over the world.
Back Inflate BCD- The back inflate BCD only has an air bladder on the back, leaving the diver’s chest area uncluttered. Back inflate BCD’s are known for how great they are at positioning the diver in the more flat horizontal position in the water. Most divers strive for good horizontal positioning (trim). Being in a nice horizontal position is very streamlined with the diver having less resistance moving in the water while swimming; this reduces workload and helps to prolong your air supply. Like the majority of modern BCD's today they are virtually all weight integrated, eliminating the need for a cumbersome weight belt. Some divers when used to diving in a traditional jacket style BCD find the transition to a back inflate BCD a little "different" when on the surface or vertical, however this feeling soon passes and the stability in the horizontal position while diving is truly appreciated!
Hybrid BCD- The hybrid is described as "the best of both worlds" in terms of recreational BCD design. The innovative hybrid air bladder design allows less front clutter than most jackets style units and the flat horizontal diving position you get from a back inflated BCD. However, the unique design allows you a more relaxed and comfortable vertical orientation when you find yourself in that position (kneeling on the bottom or on the surface). This style of BCD is a staff favorite among our Instructors here at Divers Supply.
Back Plate and Wing BCD- The back plate and wing BCD is considered by many the most versatile of BCD’s There are unlimited possible combinations in backplate choice, wing size and design choice and harness design and harness hardware choices when putting together a back plate and wing system. Most divers who choose this style will assemble to meet their specific needs, often with their instructor or mentor. The Backplate and Wing system is a great choice for divers who are contemplating moving into more advanced diving such as technical deep, penetration wrecks or cave diving. Some of our staff are huge fans of the Backplate and Wing system and would love the opportunity to show you one!
Sidemount- Sidemount systems allow you to dive with your tanks under your arms at your sides instead of positioned on your back. This style of BCD has evolved from Cave Diving in very tight areas to being a popular choice for many technical divers looking to move away from heavy double tanks on their back. It is growing in popularity and we would love to explain the ins and outs of this growing type of BCD!
Caring for your BC
Your BC is an essential piece of equipment to help you control your descent into the water or rise to the surface. To make sure you keep this valuable piece of equipment in good shape, there are a few maintenance guidelines you should keep in mind.
- Rinse your BC before and after use, whether you’ve used it in the pool or ocean. Both chlorine and salt water can harm your Oceanic BC.
- Make sure you drain all the water out of your BC after using it. First, fill it to one-third full with fresh water, swish the water around and then drain the water from your BC.
- Leave your Oceanic BC fully inflated until it dries. By doing so, you are testing the firmness of the bladder and valves.
- If your Oceanic BC doesn’t stay firm for at least an hour, take it in to a professional for repairs.
Why Wait? Enjoy your next dive with new scuba gear!
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A Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) or Buoyancy Compensator (BC) is an important piece of equipment that scuba divers wear. It has quite a few jobs to do for you!
• It provides positive buoyancy while resting on the surface.
• It contains an inflatable air bladder which you can add or subtract air from, allowing you to achieve neutral buoyancy in the water.
• It allows the dive cylinder(s) to attach to the BCD
• It allows the diver to carry or attach all of their accessories using built-in pockets and D-Rings.
You can roughly break the different types of BCD's on the market down to 5 styles; Jacket-Style, Back Inflation, Back Plate and Wing, Side Mount Systems and Hybrid. Each style has positives and negatives, some are better suited to a particular type of diving but they all can be and are used by newer divers as well as the most experienced divers and instructors!
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