Without the proper gear and knowledge, scuba diving can be dangerous for a beginner. This is why you should take classes to become a certified diver if you haven't done so already. Learn how to stay safe in the water with our expert advice covering buoyancy compensators, regulators, dive computers, wetsuits, and more. It's everything you need to know for a great diving experience.
Bladder worn by divers that provides air or releases air to establish buoyancy underwater and on the surface. Features include valves to increase air or release pressure, a harness, a backplate, pockets, a weighting system, anchor points and emergency inflation cylinders.
Material: Buoyancy control devices (BCD's) come in two types of configurations, a single and dual bladder style BCD. 90% of the BCD's on the market are of the single bag variety. They are made from 420 denier nylon, which is both ideal for travel and highly puncture resistant. High denier nylons like 840, 1000, 1200 are heavier but, highly scratch resistant against sharp objects such as wrecks. They are ideal for the technical diver. Dual bag style BCD have the benefits of higher denier nylon with a urethane inner bladder. They need more maintenance but are sort of a hybrid between recreational and technical style BCD's 90% of all BCDs have a wraparound bladder that puts air underneath your arm which is principally designed for comfort. Wing style BCD's are directed to the more technical experienced diver and can pro-vide higher lift for twin tanks etc.
One of the biggest advances in BCD design is integrating the weight system into the actual vest. By doing so you eliminate the weight belt getting lost under the vest, slipping down your legs, or having to constantly re-adjust as your wetsuit com-presses and decompresses. The weight system should have two easily releasable pouches just below the front pockets or the front waistline of the BCD. This will house the majority of the weights, however you will need to have counter balancing weights in two non-releasable pockets on the back of the BCD. This will prevent you from fighting to stay upright while on the surface. For example let's say you need 24 lbs of weight. You would put 10lbs on each side in the releasable pockets and 2lbs in each of the non-releasable pockets.
What makes them different than the standard BCD's:
- Reduced backpack height-taking the pressure off the spine and distributing it more evenly around the hips.
- Chest area redesigned to conform to a woman's physique
- No chest strap - reducing constriction in breathing
- Integrated weight system prevents bruising from the weights on the hips
One of the most popular trends is replacing your power inflator with an Alternate Air Source Integrated Inflator. The benefits to this is twofold, one if your regulator gets knocked out of your mouth you just breathe off your alternate which is right where your inflator was, and two you eliminate that long octopus hose, all while still being able to inflator your BCD form the same device.
D-rings or hard points are strategically placed around the vest so you can hang your spare light, writing slate, wreck reel etc.
This information copyrighted by Chris Fuller.