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Old 12-01-2021, 22:12   #31
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Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Hmmm.... the jury seems a bit divided on this one.

Good List of pros and cons...

Iíll dabble with each configuration and see how it all feels, particularly in consideration of the ideas here.

More than one of you think thereís no problem stepping in from a decent height, so I will give that a go too. Iíve always stepped into the water from a dive platform that was practically level with the water, so Iíve never had to try any height. Sounds like I will be ok though.

Thank you all, great advice all round.
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Old 13-01-2021, 05:20   #32
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

I did a liveaboard trip once out of Ft Myers FL to teh Dry Tortugas. Boat had a door through the gunwale. deck height was maybe 5 ft or so above the waterline if memory serves (it was a long time ago). Suit up and step in...one hand holding your mask and regulator, just like you would have learned in your open water training stepping in from the side of a pool holding the wide stride. Really no difference except maybe a bigger splash. It was actually kinda fun.
Could have easily done it from much higher.....
I kinda remember doing it partially inflated at first, then for some reason I think I also did it deflated. Memory is fuzzy. That was a fun trip....must have done a dozen dives a day. I do remember making every dive that the "pool was open" on the trip, except for one.
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Old 13-01-2021, 06:34   #33
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Ex North Sea SAT Diver here; a good old fashioned Weight Belt with a "Quick Release" in the event of problem, handy to weight off bottom of a Downline too !
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Old 13-01-2021, 07:41   #34
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

This thread has me thinking...
I cannot remember a time when anyone on any of the many classes I've worked with or charter boats I've been on...had ever ditched weights or accidently lost weights from an integrated system or a belt
I do recall a time or two when inexperienced and underweighted divers bobbing at the back of the boat were passed more weight that was dropped while fiddling trying to get it on, etc... Most of these, maybe all...I think were belted rather than soft integrated systems....

& I did quite a lot of diving back in the day. Certainly not as many as some of you no doubt, but still...I was into it for a while. I Collected cards, so I have at least some experience
all sorts of recreational certifications and 'specialties' (open, advanced, deep, rescue, etc...)
IANTD nitrox before it was mainstream recreational
SSI divecon (dive master/assistant instructor)
IANTD trimix diver(old school full trimix, not just the new recreational stuff...to 333ft), tech diver, equipment tech, gas blender, etc...
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Old 13-01-2021, 11:50   #35
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Hmmm.... the jury seems a bit divided on this one.



More than one of you think thereís no problem stepping in from a decent height, so I will give that a go too. Iíve always stepped into the water from a dive platform that was practically level with the water, so Iíve never had to try any height. Sounds like I will be ok though......
Please try this in stages. It can be done but it is NOT the same as entering from a dive platform or forward rolling off the side of the training pool. I'm assuming from your weight belt question that you are still in the "figuring it out" stage of equipment selection, its use and distribution on your body. When you hit the water from height all of that stuff you have attached to your rig will tug, jerk, move, open up and otherwise try to rearrange itself.

If you have it secured properly, if you position your body properly, if you maintain the proper entry position and don't rotate too far forward or backward during the fall, if you know the difference between entering the water with fins in hand or on your feet, when and how to use either technique, if you understand that entering from height requires deflating your BCD to a minimal level, if you understand how to prevent the tank valve from slamming into the back of your head etc, etc, etc, you can make an entry in full SCUBA gear from well above water level. But it requires experience to do it safely and without losing gear. Note that the divers who promote dropping from height and not worrying about it are divers with lots of experience: instructors, commercial or military.

I am a NAUI Master SCUBA instructor with over 50 yrs of diving experience: dive instruction, dive charter boat captain, commercial diving, deep water tech diving, cave diving, zero visibility, cold water, extreme current, underwater salvage/repair and expedition dive safety officer. When a question arises like the one you posted I have to remind myself that not every diver has similar experience. What is simple, easy and safe for me is not always the same for others.

I suggest that you attempt high entries at first with just your M/F/S on. Then gradually add other items of gear: weight belt; then BCD without a tank; then BCD with tank and regulator; then dive light, GoPro, catch bag, knife, fish ID card, decomp meter, whatever you normally dive with. You may find you like walking across the slippery deck in full gear, balancing yourself while you put fins on and then stepping through your lifeline gate to get in the water. For me, in the vast majority of situations, it's much easier to throw my rig in, enter from whatever height is simple and safe and put my gear on in the water.

Whatever approach you take, be safe and enjoy the challenges.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:20   #36
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

fair point Nani Kai about having your kit together for that jump. Jumping to some assumptions I suppose on my part. lights and other stuff poorly clipped or not not tucked in could cause some minor issues for sure... ill fitting BC's and loose tanks I suppose could be even more an issue.

I also agree with you about tossing your gear in and donning it in the water...I'd choose this if the way off the boat was not easy or required much of any climbing over the transom, etc....

Your mention of military diver in your list of "experienced critiera" brings back a story...I'm remembering one dive charter trip I was on, off the coast of west palm I believe. The ocean had a swell and was a bit rough. One of those when a diver has to be very careful in their timing grabbing the ladder and when to step on the fist rung climbing out. I'd done that sort of thing enough that it was not an issue for me. Students would be struggling but most folks get on ok. Some timid folks would struggle a bit

There was a pair of very young and fit GI looking Navy divers on board using rental gear. When the divemaster asked them how much weight they needed, they sorta looked at each other and shrugged...and tepidly came back with some insanely huge number. After some back and forth they got that all sorted out.
...I have no idea what sort of navy divers they were but I'm guessing they must have been dry suit cold water diving or something like that.
So...after the dive those guys were clearly out of their element....it climaxed with one of them missing their timing to step up the ladder to a belly slide onto the platform and a faceplant into the transom...complete with a newly missing tooth and lots of blood.
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Old 13-01-2021, 12:41   #37
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Hogarthian tech diver..wreck and cave
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Old 13-01-2021, 13:07   #38
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

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Hogarthian tech diver..wreck and cave
"Hogarthian "...I had to look that one up.
Interestingly enough, the outline I found online summarized most of the things my kit evolved into over the years.

As I mentioned, I haven't dove in a long time now, but one of the last major purchases for recreational type diving that I made was a single tank plate form a company called Halcyon. Guessing you're familiar with it... Sadly I never dove it much but I really liked it. Hope to dust it off one of these days....
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Old 13-01-2021, 19:14   #39
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

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Do you prefer to weight your BCD or wear a weight belt, or, perhaps, split the load between the two systems?

In warm water, in the ocean, with no wetsuit, I don't use any weights. If I'm using a wetsuit I use thigh weights for trim, and use individually ditchable 1.4 pound weights on the belt of my BC. In cold water I use a weight belt.



I dive steel tanks and a stainless steel backplate and usually a 30# wing.



I believe that ability to ditch weights at depth is overrated as a safety practice. I dive a balanced rig with the minimum possible amount of lead necessary to hold a safety stop at the end of the dive. I am confident of my ability to swim up my rig in the event of a BC failure and am confident of my ability to ditch my kit when necessary.


I mostly dive solo and carry redundant air on deeper dives. Either a twinset or a stage/pony cylinder



From a very small boat I put my kit on a line and throw it in the water with the BC inflated, then backroll into the water with mask and fins on and put on my kit. At the end of the dive I take my kit off and haul it aboard after I climb in. This reduces the weight imbalance on the boat



I have solo dived from a canoe in deep water using this technique and am neither young nor thin. Outriggers on the canoe on one side help though you can also use your kit as a counterweight on the far gunwale if you tie it there most of the way out of the water



A backroll gives you less likelihood of losing your mask and it is easier on your fins particularly if you use larger freediving fins as I do


Practice and make one change at a time


Shore diving will teach you many things you will never learn diving from a resort boat
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Old 13-01-2021, 19:57   #40
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GILow View Post
Hmmm.... the jury seems a bit divided on this one.

Good List of pros and cons...

Iíll dabble with each configuration and see how it all feels, particularly in consideration of the ideas here.

More than one of you think thereís no problem stepping in from a decent height, so I will give that a go too. Iíve always stepped into the water from a dive platform that was practically level with the water, so Iíve never had to try any height. Sounds like I will be ok though.

Thank you all, great advice all round.

Matt, back when I was somewhat younger I regularly used the forward roll from a boat with a higher freeboard, hand on head arm against mask and reg and roll forward. The tank hits the water first and you twist over and off you go. Really easy, honest.
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Old 14-01-2021, 05:02   #41
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

I find it rather surprising that so few trained for a giant stride entry from height; it was standard for the advanced open water certification here...
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Old 14-01-2021, 05:37   #42
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

I'm old school I guess... and my exposure is limited to SSI and IANTD training....and through friends that were PADI certified.....and have been away from the game...but I suspect that it was taught...but like most things like this was not really practiced for "real". Stepping off the side of the pool a time or two is not going to build the confidence in most average folks to step off a 6 ft high platform.

I had always felt like the typical recreational type training was a whole lotta talk and not much practice....for example often here in FL at least, the open water certification dives are in sinks or springs that are really not unlike the swimming pool.

When I went through the tech level IANTD stuff, I got a taste of what open water training probably was like back in the very early days of SCUBA.... where at depth in a pitch black sink hole....we ditched our total kit, mask and all...swim a distance following a line...buddy breath for real.... redon the kit...untangle fouled hoses,....turn tanks off and on... etc... I was a hard core dive nerd and very comfortable and confident going into all of that but even still, actually "doing" built a huge level of confidence and calm that the typical open water 'graduate' doesn't benefit from out of the gate....
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Old 14-01-2021, 17:56   #43
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

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Originally Posted by skyhawk View Post
I'm old school I guess... and my exposure is limited to SSI and IANTD training....and through friends that were PADI certified.....and have been away from the game...but I suspect that it was taught...but like most things like this was not really practiced for "real". Stepping off the side of the pool a time or two is not going to build the confidence in most average folks to step off a 6 ft high platform.

I had always felt like the typical recreational type training was a whole lotta talk and not much practice....for example often here in FL at least, the open water certification dives are in sinks or springs that are really not unlike the swimming pool.

When I went through the tech level IANTD stuff, I got a taste of what open water training probably was like back in the very early days of SCUBA.... where at depth in a pitch black sink hole....we ditched our total kit, mask and all...swim a distance following a line...buddy breath for real.... redon the kit...untangle fouled hoses,....turn tanks off and on... etc... I was a hard core dive nerd and very comfortable and confident going into all of that but even still, actually "doing" built a huge level of confidence and calm that the typical open water 'graduate' doesn't benefit from out of the gate....

Nah that would be insane for an Open Water Diver, the casualty rates would be huge. I used to teach at the beginning of the Century and the level of skill for beginner divers is extremely limited due to the fact that they are............ beginners!


We did though get them to step off the side of the liveaboard barge at around 2M high and the Controlled emergency ascent was from 10M and No Regulator (unlike today) was allowed to stay in the mouth.
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Old 14-01-2021, 19:07   #44
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

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Hi all,

Question for the cruising divers out there.

Do you prefer to weight your BCD or wear a weight belt, or, perhaps, split the load between the two systems?

Iíve got a BCD with those easily releasable integrated weight pouches, and Iím trying to picture the pros and cons of having a heavier BCD to lug around vs the added complexity of a heavy weight belt.

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.

Matt
You are much better off, cheaper, simpler, and a more comfortable rig with a properly sized stainless steel backplate and wing configuration.

Don't buy into all the nonesense gear they want to sell you that is less performant that a simple DIR backplate and wing.
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Old 14-01-2021, 21:15   #45
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Re: Dive setup, BCD integrated weights vs weight belt.

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I use an integrated bcd when scuba and a weight belt when free diving.
.

This is my preferred choice as well
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