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Buoyancy control with drysuit

Discussion in 'Exposure Suits' started by Ben Prusinski, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Ben Prusinski

    Ben Prusinski Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    I am taking the PADI drysuit class to learn how to dive in my new drysuit. My instructor says to only add air to the suit to avoid suit squeeze and use the BCD for buoyancy control but PADI says the opposite! Who is correct and why?
  2. Pullmyfinger

    Pullmyfinger PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Guam.
    I do it the way your instructor mentioned.
    Expiriment with both approaches, and get a feel for both of them.


    jIM STEELE Dive Shop

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: ALAMO CALIF
    Yes underwater use only one system to control buoyancy open your auto valve don't grossly over weigh your balance and buoyancy shouldn't change much if its a shell suit

    ---------- Post added April 3rd, 2013 at 09:16 PM ----------

    PADI prob. is for surface suport
  4. Drewpy

    Drewpy Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: No. California
    Instructor is right..but you will figure out a happy medium in time.
  5. Scuba_Noob

    Scuba_Noob Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Victoria, BC
    I do it the way your instructor says. I was taught the way PADI prescribes, but this is one aspect of diving that is personal preference.

    The BC dumps air faster, which could be advantageous in an emergency (e.g., uncontrolled ascent). This could also help you initially work out your buoyancy, as it is more responsive.
  6. swimmer_spe

    swimmer_spe Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Sudbury, Ontario
    I know of divers that when they dive dry, they never use their BCD.

    Then there are people like me who use the BCD to control buoyancy.

    Eventually, you will come up with what works for you.
  7. Peter Guy

    Peter Guy Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Olympia, WA
    OP -- I too am a PADI instructor who dives dry and I give my students the following advice:


    As a new(ish) diver, you are probably used to using your BCD for buoyancy control, so if it works, stay with it and just put enough air into your suit to eliminate squeeze. As you get comfortable with your dry suit, you will find yourself putting more and more air into it because AIR = WARMTH -- and as you put more air into your dry suit, you put less into your BCD.

    I started my dry suit career by using my BCD as my primary source of buoyancy -- now I have no air in my BCD and use my dry suit as my source of buoyancy control (unless I am diving heavy doubles and then I must use both because my dry suit doesn't have enough lift on its own).

    It just takes a while to get comfortable.
    KWS likes this.
  8. KWS

    KWS ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: SE TEXAS
    I have done it both ways and prefer the way your instructor has told you. I do it because the more air in the suit the more air that can run to the feet and leave you feet up and having to do a tuck and roll.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  9. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    What Peter said . . . when I started, I tried to do what PADI teaches, and I just couldn't manage it. I had a couple of very scary uncontrolled ascents, until someone suggested I do the "20 foot squeeze" (which is keeping the amount of squeeze on the suit that you have if you just descend to 20 feet without putting any air in). That's actually excessive and uncomfortable; but allowing the suit to be modestly squeezed makes life much easier. Air in the BC just CAN'T get as far away from somewhere you can dump it as air in a dry suit can.

    As you develop facility with managing the dynamic instability of the suit, and with anticipating buoyancy changes, you can put more gas in the suit and stay warmer.

    The same instructor who developed the "20 foot squeeze" concept was the one who disabled my wing during a class, to ensure I could dive with the maximum containable amount of gas in my suit.

    The answer is that there is no right answer. It's just some approaches are easier at some phases of your diving life than others.
  10. Peter_C

    Peter_C Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    I use my BCD for what it was designed for. I will add and subtract air to control body temperature too. Which one vents faster? The BCD. Learn how to use the butt dump, so you can swim down while venting. Most people don't know that when using the butt dump to pull their hand towards their tank to vent.

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