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Wing Style Scuba BCDs Explained

Having a wing-shaped air bladder behind your back instead of the torso is not a feature that all scuba divers enjoy, especially complete beginners.

This help guide explains why some divers prefer to use a Wing BCD in place of the traditional jacket style buoyancy compensator and how experience level often influences the choice.

What is a Scuba Wing & How Does it Work?

In general, the different BCD parts and components used for Wings are very similar to stab jackets.

For example, both types of buoyancy control device (BCD) will have:

The main difference between a Wing BCD and a jacket style BCD is the wing-shaped air bladder helping to provide extra lift. It also makes it easier for some divers to maintain a stable horizontal 'trim' position underwater.

Here's the thing:

Nowadays, it is common for technical divers and cave divers to use a wing style BCD. Besides having a streamline profile, it also allows them to carry a lot of heavy gear.

Thus, the modular design makes it easy to attach various kinds of bulky components, including dive tanks, scuba accessories, and a weight system.

Wing BCDs also have various types of clips and D-rings for attaching extra trim pockets. In other words, there is no need to wear a weight belt when you use a scuba Wing.

Pro Tip: Most technical divers prefer to use a diving Wing instead of a BCD because they can set it up for twinset and sidemount scuba cylinders.

Diving Wing vs. Jacket BCD

A normal jacket style BCD offers good all round buoyancy when it's inflated. Whereas, a Wing style BCD only has inflation on the rear. As a result, it will have a tendency to turn the diver face down while at the surface.

Wing Style BCDSome divers decide to change over to the wing style BCD for the "techie" look.

However, safety is paramount and its performance should be the key issue - rather than the way that it looks.

For the most part, the best reasons for using a Wing BCD in scuba diving, are:

Remember, when searching for the best dive bag for carrying scuba gear, a travel BCD Wing is going to pack down smaller than most jacket style BCs.

In Conclusion

The most important role of the BCD is to provide positive buoyancy for the diver, such as when initiating an ascent and when resting at the surface.

Other important features would include a harness backpack to attach the scuba cylinder and a pressure relief valve that avoids over inflation of the buoyancy controller.

The most popular Buoyancy Control Devices (BCDs) are the jacket style vests that can be inflated and deflated via the low-pressure inflator to regulate your buoyancy.

Related Information and Help Guides

Note: The short video tutorial [7:03 seconds] presented by "Divers Ready" explains how to set up a new backplate and Wing BCD, including where to position the D-rings and belt buckle.

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