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This one may belong more in the BC dept. but the style and expertise I need is over here. I have the Halcyon 27lb. wing and dive mainly in a 5mm wetsuit in 70-80 degree water with an alum80 and 18 lbs. of weight in all. 6 on the backplane and 12 or so on the belt or in a keel weight in back.
On a recent dive I was using a steel 98 instead of the 80 and noticed that even filled all the way up the bc would barely keep me afloat. Once down, all was fine.
Question is, should I get the 36 lb. lift wing? I still have a week or so that I can switch them out. I do anticipate using a stage bottle at times, and possibly a canister light in the future. These would not be usual items by any means, but would like to move in that direction.
If I kept in that direction I would probably end up with double steel98s and 55lb. wing and all this would be moot.
My diving is in quarries, with trips down to the NC coast, Fla. springs and reefs.
When I had the extra weight I would not have had any problem swimming up to the surface, and could easily have dropped the belt, as also the deco bottle or can light if needed in an emergency, just wondering if it is worth stepping up to the larger wing now and if there is any downside to it.
If you are diving wet, you need enough lift to raise all you're wearing *without the wetsuit.* You can't count on any significant buoyancy from the wetsuit at depth, and if you don't have enough lift in your BC you could find it impossible to get neutral at depth.
Secondly, and perhaps more important, is backup buoyancy. What if your BC fails altogether? Is your compressed wetsuit enough to bring you up if you drop your weightbelt (probably not if you're diving steel - which is why steel and wetsuits don't generally go together). Can you remain on the surface without your BC to help?
At a minimum you should not only have adequate lift in your BC, but carry a backup - preferably a drysuit - but at least a lift bag.
I don't see a downside for the 55lb wing, but double steels and a wet suit is a no no. You'll want double 80's with your wet suit using the proper weight belt under the crotch strap. I agree with Rick in that a lift bag and reel is a welcomed method of redundant buoyancy, but ideally you should be able to swim up by ditching your weight belt.