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Diving with BP/W - learning curve?

Discussion in 'Buoyancy Compensators (BC's) and Weight Systems' started by wasabipanda, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. wasabipanda

    wasabipanda Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: SF Bay Area
    Hi all,

    I'm sorry if this question has been asked countless times already... I have been renting jacket BCs (non-back inflate) since my OW classes and am now considering going BP/W (more minimal, better weight distribution, easily customizable). I've read numerous posts mentioning the benefit of having an instructor or someone familiar with BP/W to make sure you have the rig secured properly on you. Aside from that, is there a significant learning curve to actually diving in a BP/W if you've only dived jacket BCs?

    None of the LDS rent out BP/W (at least none that I've found), so I'm tempted to just order a complete rig from DSS. Should I expect to have a tough time diving a BP/W the first few times, without instructor/DM support?

    Thank you in advance for your advice!
  2. GFuterfas

    GFuterfas SoCal DIR

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Los Angeles, CA
    I just bought a DSS BP with an LCD 30 wing and I'm not the most experienced diver (<30 dives total). I rented a BP/W during my AOW class so I could have an instructor give me tips on it, and there are a few adjustments. Took me four or five dives to get it, and now it's great. Main thing is using the butt dump to let air out when you're horizontal instead of the inflator.

    My LDS, Ocean Adventures in Los Angeles, is a Deep Sea Supply dealer, and they helped me set it up, rig the harness and fit it for me. That saved me a few hours of trying to figure it out, and I got some tips on caring for the wing (store it with some air in it and be very careful not to leave it on the Backplate where it can be punctured by getting hit between two pieces of metal.

    The videos and FAQ's on DSS's website are lacking a bit of information to fit the harness, in my opinion. The Cam Bands\Tank straps are also complicated but there's a good video on their website if you can find it... the video page is not obvious to find, in my opinion. Tobin is easy to get on the phone, however, and is happy to answer your questions and offer help.

    After 9 dives with the BP/W, I feel very comfortable with it and it wasn't that hard of a transition. I'm very happy with it.

  3. Bubbletrubble

    Bubbletrubble Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Seussville
    Honestly, there's not much of a learning curve in terms of operating the BP/W. I've let novice divers fresh out of OW class and very advanced divers borrow my BP/W for a dive. Most of the people have really liked it and found it simpler to use than a conventional jacket BCD. YMMV.

    It can be helpful to have a knowledgeable dive buddy help you adjust the harness properly. If you exercise a little patience and know how to do a Google search, then you can figure out how to do this on your own.

    Just make sure that you do a proper weight check with the BP/W. (Unfortunately, many divers come out of OW class not knowing how to do this.) Most conventional BCDs have an inherent buoyancy of +4 lbs. In contrast, a stainless steel BP will be 5-6 lbs. negatively buoyant. It's not uncommon for divers to use 10 lbs. less lead when moving from a conventional BCD to a stainless steel BP/W.
  4. Lobzilla

    Lobzilla Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: New Hampshire, PA, Maryland

    To the OP: The proper assembly and adjustment can be a little vexing without help. Fortunately you live in an area where many folks are eager to come to the rescue. Try baue.org or wait untill someone here offers to take you under their wings (pun intended).
  5. Scott L

    Scott L Solo Diver

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Palm Beach, FL
    I am sure Tobin can direct you to a local dealer who will properly fit you into the harness...
  6. diver 85

    diver 85 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: SW Louisiana
    I found out not much of one when I went from 21 years of a 'jacket style' BC 4 years to a BI BC---then I bought a BP/W almost 2 years ago ...Now saying that, I dive about 50-50 between my BI BC & my BP/W......That Scout(BI) BC is HARD to beat, lol..

    As you can see, I bought a BP/W just for the heck of it, had been reading so much about them & wanted to just try 1 out----& ----it does works....
  7. dkktsunami

    dkktsunami Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Georgia coast
    Swimming the thing is easy, first time set-up and fitting might require a little trial and error. Access to a pool would make life a lot easier especially if you can find an experienced buddy to get you started. Once set up there is really nothing to it - probably easier than the jacket.
  8. knowone

    knowone Regular of the Pub

  9. ae3753

    ae3753 Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Bay Area, CA
    Since you're in the Bay Area, ping me. I have DSS rigs and we can meet up in the pool.
  10. triggerman365

    triggerman365 PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Florida
    My son has about 25 dives and has always used a jacket style BC. Recently he used my BP/W kit and his comment after two dives was "why does anyone use anything else?". I realize they may not be for everyone and other systems work for most recreational divers, but I love my set up. Good luck with your decision.

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