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Old 12-01-2021, 08:58   #16
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

MSDT with well over 1000 dives.
A weight belt has it's advantages in a panic situation. Other than that integrated BCD is both more comfortable and easier to remove weights while in the water.
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:30   #17
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

We use integrated weights, and prefer them on balance. There are some downsides, though. Exiting the water with your BCD on is much more difficult. Trying to remove the weights first risks dropping them to the sea bottom (we know this from experience). "Easily removed" is sometimes "too easily removed," another way to send them to the bottom. The pockets do wear out, and it isn't very easy to find replacements on the islands where we dive.
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:34   #18
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

I have both intergrated and a separate belt. You can enter the water from as high as 10 ft if needed. Just do your stride hold on your mask and donít forget to hold down on your B.C or the tank can Klunk you in the head. On higher freeboard boats I take my gear off in the water then haul it up. There is the risk of dropping a weight belt doing that way. But the intergrated rigs are heavy to haul up. Itís best to be adaptable.
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Old 12-01-2021, 10:19   #19
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Retired NAUI,PADI,CMAS instructor with over 9600 dives.

The basic rule in buying scuba equipment is to make sure it's comfortable. Is that system comfortable for you?

It is also critical that you are properly trained in the use of whatever equipment you are going to use. If you learned with a weigh belt and now want to go integrated, get trained.

I dove with an integrated system one time. Was literally 2 breaths away from running out of air 40 feet down in silty muck with zero visibility when I finally got out of the system and left all the equipment on the bottom. This was because of a lot of mistakes I'd made but chiefly, not having practiced and trained in a pool first.

My thoughts on integrated weight. Nope. Not comfortable. I want my weights evenly distributed around my body so I can maintain neutral buoyancy at any attitude. 1 year for something to do I did 1000 dives practicing all manner of neutral buoyancy and came up with a teaching method that allowed my students to properly master it in a single dive. It depends on having your weights evenly distributed.

I use a lead shot filled weight belt that has vertical chambers so they shot doesn't move around. Very comfortable vs the type where the chambers are horizontal. I prefer the Scubapro style of stabilizing jacket as the air inside is better distributed then the knockoffs.

To your question. Weight belt or integrated. In an emergency I don't want to have to find, release and remove a bunch of weights individually. Don't forget that when you remove one weight from one side you will now be rolling onto your other side because that's where they weight is. You are out of balance and out of control. With my weight belt, it is one motion, hold it clear of my body out to the side and let it go. Safe, simple, works every time.
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Old 12-01-2021, 10:28   #20
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Iíve dove a Zeagle for 25 years, even with 2-30 lb for my drysuit. I prefer their BCD with the rip cord, itís easy to dump, that said in over 3000+ dives Iíve never dropped my weights, but may have to sometime.......
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Old 12-01-2021, 11:23   #21
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

We always entered the water from an inflatable dinghy. However, it is possible to kit up and descend your boarding ladder, with your fins in one hand, and put them on in the water. I suppose you could kit up on a beach, and walk into the water, also.

You'll be losing some weight, with a more active lifestyle. Whether you use the soft packs in the BCD or a belt, it's still a lot to heft around. I always removed my belt before getting back in the dinghy.

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 12-01-2021, 12:24   #22
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Originally Posted by Pauls View Post
Ex commercial diver here. I like the weight belt because it is a single motion release point in case you need to bail out.

Both systems obviously work. With either type the important thing is to work out a system setup that's good for what you need to do.
+1 on this post. One hand, one movement, weights are gone. This can be very important in an emergency but predominately you remove your weights to get out of the water. Much easier in my opinion with a weight belt, especially from a sailboat or dinghy. Much, much easier to lift the gear out of the water without integrated weights as well.

As for entering the water in full SCUBA gear from a height, yes it can be done. However, it can be challenging, especially for a novice or intermediate diver. You have a bunch of gear moving around that takes a heavy jolt when you hit the water. If the tank is not secured properly it can get knocked loose, you can lose your mask, your octopus can start free-flowing wildly, you can land on your face, hit your head on the tank valve, lose a fin, etc., etc. Much easier to attach your b/c to a line, inflate it and throw it behind the boat. Then enter the water with just your M/F/S, wetsuit and weight belt on, flip over to your gear and put it on in the water. Coming out, just reverse the process.

KISS is most often the easiest and safest option.

Safe Diving!
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Old 12-01-2021, 12:54   #23
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Re: "dropping" a belt, or anything else, when boarding. We always have a couple of lanyards with carabiners trailing from the boat (even the dinghy). Clip the lanyard to your weight belt before taking it off. If possible, I hand my camera rig to a person, but other wise one lanyard each for camera, rig, and weight belt. Sometimes drop a milk crate on a lanyard for stuff too, but my current camera rig won't fit into it.
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Old 12-01-2021, 14:03   #24
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Old school, BSAC Advanced Instructor from 80's. If the issue is comfort in the water, that is different from entering the water which you describe as an issue. Forward Roll entry should be fine from deck level, or a Stride entry looks fine from that height. I agree with Ann that diving from your tender is actually the easiest, more importantly it will protect the boat from chips to paint etc. Use engine hoist to retrieve gear from the tender once you are on deck.
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Old 12-01-2021, 14:32   #25
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Originally Posted by dwedeking2 View Post
I use an integrated bcd when scuba and a weight belt when free diving.

I use my dinghy as a dive platform even when I'm diving near the boat. I found it easier to move all the gear to the dinghy on a side tie, get all set up and then drop from there. When getting out I inflate the BCD and tie it to the dinghy. Climb into the dinghy and drag all the gear in. Then I break it down to make it easy to move to the main boat.

We use this method except that we transfer the weights into the dinghy before taking BCD off in the water. A couple of old safety lines with carabiners to clip the floating rigs to the dinghy while we climb out and sort things out before hauling them in.

We recently moved to Cressi Travelight BCD's. very light simple to maintain. I have it on the best authority that the Ladies version is particularly comfortable.
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Old 12-01-2021, 14:47   #26
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Iím particularly interested on peopleís experience of getting kitted up in the water, which I will have to do because my freeboard really rules out jumping in with the gear on.
Seriously? What sort of freeboard are you talking about, because I started diving from the deck of a destroyer 4-5 metres to the water. Cross your legs, chin down, hand holding your mask and reg in place.

As for the weights, one advantage for a belt is being able to easily replace weights which have been jettisoned, but otherwise no real diff.
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Old 12-01-2021, 14:58   #27
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

I'm only free-diving these days but I'm a weight belt guy, old habits die hard, and wouldn't you rather take care of everything from the dinghy? I do anyway, even with my lower freeboard.
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Old 12-01-2021, 15:03   #28
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Integrated weights plus tank plus BCD equals a much heavier load to lift to the tank staging deck and then struggle into predive. I prefer the lighter package which is the tank and BCD and a separate weight belt.

It always irks me when I have to lift a buddies tank and BCD with integrated weights.

That said we are diving cold water using dry suits and the required weight so these are heavy loads.

For example, last summer I spent a week diving using double steel 100's, a SST backplate, manifold, wings, and a 30 lb weight belt.
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Old 12-01-2021, 15:14   #29
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

I was a commercial dive boat captain and a divemaster for several years. I much preferred divers who wore a weight belt vs. integrated weights for several reasons:

1. in an underwater emergency where I had to assist, I always knew how to release a weight belt. With integrated weights, I had to figure out how to dump the weights and it two two motions vs. just one motion to dump a weight belt.

2. I saw more than one diver accidentally dump integrated weights during a dive and struggle with trying buoyancy to keep from ascending too fast.

3. When divers were coming back aboard the boat post-dive, if they had a weight belt I would ask them to remove it and hand it up to me before coming up the ladder. Made climbing back in the boat a lot easier and safer!

I personally would only dive with a conventional weight belt.
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Old 12-01-2021, 18:49   #30
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

I started with a weight belt system, but I did most of my diving with a Zeagle rip cord system for years.
A few times in situations where I needed more weight I found it not to be distributed very nicely and my trim was off....but 99.9% of the time it was the fine. On occasion I dove a combination of integrated weights with a bit of weight attached to the tank or on a belt in back. Integrated weight is the only way I'd want to go in a recreational BC....but I suppose it would depend on the manufacturer and details of how it works.

When i started my technical diving training I got into using double steel tanks and wings with back plates. Once I got used to that I loved it. Bought myself a recreational wing with SS back plate which was great, but sadly my diving slowed after getting just got in the way.
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