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"Don't worry, we'll get your weight down"

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by tparrent, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. tparrent

    tparrent Nassau Grouper

    That's what my buddy is telling me. Well, I wasn't worried but now I am puzzled.

    In a 3mm full Hyperstretch in saltwater, I carry 22 pounds. As my tank empties I have a real problem holding the safety stop. If I carry 20 punds, I cork with 500 psi.

    I don't mind carrying an extra couple pounds, so I wasn't worried to begin with. But now I wonder HOW my buddy thinks I can reduce the weight. Does the weight a diver carries have ANYTHING to do with experience (I'm a newbie, he's experienced) or is it just physics and physiology (he's trim, I'm ...er...bouyant)?

    I did some bouyancy work in the pool a couple weeks ago and I certainly have better control now (finally gave up the death grip I had on the inflator) but I can't see how that could translate into less lead. I think I'm missing something here.

    Also, the typical bouyancy test of floating at the surface in an empty BC and adding weight until the water is halfway up the mast doesn't register with me either. If I am balanced like that with a full tank of air, what's to stop me from corking once my air gets down to 500 psi? Is it that my wetsuit is less bouyant because it is still somewhwat compressed from depth?

    I appreciate any help in understanding all this jazz.

  2. Vayu

    Vayu Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Tampa, Fl
    Also, the typical bouyancy test of floating at the surface in an empty BC and adding weight until the water is halfway up the mast doesn't register with me either. If I am balanced like that with a full tank of air, what's to stop me from corking once my air gets down to 500 psi

    You are right - if you do this test with a full tank of air it is likely during the end of a dive you will have positive buoyancy. I would freeflow the normal type of tank you use to near empty and then weight for that. Another method would be to get on the bottom of a pool or waterbody and do the fin pivot.

    Everyone is different, so it is important to realize that you should not be too concerned about your characteristics unless they largely reflect a health issue. Assuming this is not the case, you will need what you need when you need it.

    If you want to take some directly off the belt, you could try moving to a heavier tank made of steel. On the same note, a backplate with a weighted single tank adapter could take around 12 lbs or more off the belt. I recently took 8lbs off due to the addition of a backplate and the lack of bc padding that came hand and hand with it and that was without the use of an STA.

    The wetsuit will lose buoyancy at depth but regain it as you ascend.

    I have also seen people take off a few pounds just by practicing and becoming more comfortable in the water. This probably has alot to do with breath control, since an uncomfortable diver is likely to inhale deeply and rapidly thereby increasing their relative buoyancy.

    Also, air has a tendency to hide in the BC, so make sure wherever you are venting from is the highest point of the unit. This would be the inflator if you are head up and vertical or the lower dump valve(s) if you are horizontal.

    Good luck,

  3. Charlie99

    Charlie99 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Silicon Valley, CA / New Bedford, MA / Kihei, Maui
    Many divers unconsciously fin or move their hands while trying to do a safety stop, while vertical head up in the water. This increases the lead apparently needed to achieve neutral buoyancy. Simply doing the safety stop while horizontal will minimize this problem. Obviously, ceasing all motion will solve the problem too.

    New divers often go around with their lungs fully inflated most of the time, thereby increasing buoyancy.

    New divers also often need excess weight to initially descend because they take a big gulp of air and adding to their buoyancy just before trying to descend. One should exhale strongly to begin the descent. Treading water and moving fins around while pointed up vertically will also require more weight to descend.
  4. DandyDon

    DandyDon Old men ought to be explorers ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: One kilometer high on the Texas Central Plains
    You don't give your personal body weight, but 22# in a new 3 mil suit in saltwater is not all that bad.
  5. PerroneFord

    PerroneFord DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives:
    Location: The Borg Cube
    I am 6'0 and 240 pounds. I wear a 5mm Farmer John top. I have a SS Backplate/w. I wear no additional weight with singles or doubles. 4 months ago, I wore about 12 pounds, 3 months ago I wore 6. As you get more comfortable in the water, you'll drop the weight. To me, 22 pounds is a LOT of weight for a 3mm suit. I wear about 8 pounds with a 7mm bottom and 5mm top.
  6. MarcG

    MarcG Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Pacific Northwest
    I agree. 22# seems like alot of weight for a 3mm. I have no doubt that the weight will come down as you get comfortable.
  7. AlaskaDiver

    AlaskaDiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Eagle River, Alaska -> moved to Cape Cod, Mass
    Vayu- well stated!

    I too 'lost weight' by a combination better breathing techniques at first and then also after going to the weighted tank adapter.
  8. tjmills

    tjmills Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Cedar Park, TX (formally Boulder, CO)
    22lbs in a 3mm wetsuit is a huge amount of weight in my opinion. I looked back and even on my very first salt water dives I used 14 in a full 3mm. Today I use between 10-12 and I am 5'11, 215 and wear a knighthawk.

    You will find that the more relaxed you are the easier it is. When you tense up or get excited you will find that its easy to become a bobber quickly. RELAX.....especially on that saftey stop.

    KOMPRESSOR Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Asker, Norway
    Never dove with a 3 mm wet suit, so I can't really tell how much LESS weight I would need, but I have a feeling it would be a lot less than 22 lbs. The need for weight is definitely personal, but your buddy is probably right. Just don't worry about it. It comes perfectly naturally when you're ready for it.

    I would also like to know what kind of BCD you're using. Some BCD have a tendency to trap air pockets inside. You may think you've emptied it completly, but perhaps you haven't. If there's some sort of hollow plastic "backplate" inside it, these also traps a lot of air unless there are sufficiant drain holes in them. I've personally "adjusted" a number of these, with my knife on site. I tell you I got some big eyes from the owners while doing that, but afterwards they were all very happy divers with less lead!
  10. gcbryan

    gcbryan One Bad Hombre

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Seattle
    You need what you need at any point in time. It will go down however keep in mind that even experienced well meaning divers can sometimes forget how much weight they are actually using.

    If you are using an aluminum 80, with a BC, in saltwater and someone else is using a steel tank, with a SS BP and perhaps a weighted STA in freshwater plus a cannister light they may think that they are using less weight than they actually are. All of those things have weight, they just take it off of your waist and put it elsewhere.

    I'm guessing that you are using more weight now than you will require in the near future but for now you probably do need it.

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