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SCUBA DIVING WEIGHT BELT SYSTEMS

Scuba Weight Systems

Scuba weight systems help to overcome the fact that the majority of divers float. Under normal circumstances you might expect floating to be a positive. However, if we are discussing buoyancy, ‘natural sinker’s’ need less lead to counter the effect of positive buoyancy - flotation - and descend in a controlled manner. Diving wetsuits and other scuba gear also adds extra flotation, so divers need extra weighting in order to descend underwater. Ideally, divers carry just enough to offset the tendency to float, using one of these basic styles of weight assemblies.

Scuba Weight Belt
The traditional nylon weight belt is the oldest method, and most commonly used system for divers to carry weights. Although some modern belts have fabric pockets, typically the lead weights are threaded into the nylon material. Ideally, they should be positioned symmetrically with the majority assembled towards the front of the belt to help offset the burden of a heavy tank. Care should be taken not to twist the nylon during assembly, but a good tip is to make one twist through the final piece of lead to avoid the weights slipping off the belt.

Weight-integrated BCD System
Many divers prefer not to hang a heavy belt around their waist, laden with lead. The integrated weight system eliminates this which people find more comfortable. There are advantages to integrating the weights into the BCD, but consider how much heavier that makes your scuba unit if you need to carry it.

DIVING WEIGHTS ..... PRICE RANGE FROM $ 10

"The diver usually needs to wear additional weights"....

Dive weights are used to counter the effect of positive buoyancy (flotation) in salt water and in fresh water. The cause can be the diving wetsuit, the divers' body mass and other scuba equipment which he may be wearing, such as the Buoyancy Control Device and Scuba Tank.
The diving weight calculator is an approximated guideline which suggests how much weight the diver needs. However, we would like to point out that there are many factors which affect a divers’ buoyancy, such as the BMI, the thickness of the exposure suit and the divers’ comfort level in the water. Beginner divers tend to breathe more heavily which generally increases positive buoyancy.
Though we feel that the Scuba Instructor is responsible for the correct amount of weight needed for the dive, we would like to point out how to avoid one of the most common problems with scuba divers – Over Weighting.

How to do a Scuba Diving Weight check?
1. Wearing full scuba gear, enter the water which is too deep to stand
2. Breathe from the regulator and hold a normal breath
3. Completely deflate the Buoyancy Control Device
4. Add or subtract dive weights until you float at ‘eye’ level
5. Exhale slowly and you should start to descend in a controlled manner

When the correct amount of weight needed for the appropriate equipment and/or diving environment is ascertained, it is recommended to note how many kilos/pounds of lead was used and then record that information in your diving logbook for future reference. A Diving Log Book is a great source of useful information about diving weight configuration, dive site points of interest and other relevant scuba training.

Dive Weight Belts
The diver usually needs to wear additional weights to help him descend when wearing scuba gear underwater. This is normally done by using diving weights and weight belts. The belts are available in different styles and we suggest that trying the different systems before you buy, would be a good idea, in order that you can assess the which one suits you best.

The most common diving weight system for sale is a nylon belt which has solid hip weights which are usually made from lead and slide on to - or off - the belt. They are the most common weight configurations used by scuba schools. Others available, include integrated weights systems and/or special bags usually filled with lead shot – not dissimilar similar to a small bean bag!

Diving Weight Belt Safety

A final thought about scuba weight systems! In many annual dive incident reports, it is revealed that divers fail to remove their diving weight system during the most crucial part of a diving emergency. An alarmingly high percentage of fatality statistics confirm that divers are found with their weights still attached.

The most important feature of diving weight assemblies is their ease of removal. The PADI Open Water Scuba Course and the Rescue Diver Course include repeated training on how to remove scuba units and weight systems, both under water and at the surface.

Weights Tip - Can you think of a dive where neutral buoyancy skills aren't important ?
The Peak Performance Buoyancy Specialty course will greatly enhance your comfort and safety for every dive, by improving ascents and descents, equipment trimming for streamline diving, and body positioning. Correct weighting and streamlining in the water, along with enviable buoyancy control, is what separates the 'snorkelers' from the 'divers' !


NOTE: This information is meant as a scuba guide for divers and does not replace training or Diver Certifications

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by R & T