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Float Upright BC

Discussion in 'Diving Into New Gear' started by Bookmon, Oct 3, 2018.

  1. Bookmon

    Bookmon Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alabama
    OK, I’m Old School and proud of it. Ever since my jacket BC bit the dust in the mid 90s, I just taint been a super happy camper. A jacket let you float upright on the surface with no effort.
    My first cummerbund style, a cheap from Mr. Duck Divers, did fair. But it died on me three years ago.
    With age, bad knees and hips, bought one of these weight pockets in the vest cummerbund styles. It has been a face down flop. Forget being upright. I can’t tow anyone in need because it won’t let me float on my back.
    Any suggestions?
    BTW: usually do six pounds each front pocket and two pounds each back...... hmmm. In typing this out, thought maybe if I share the weight better?
    Snoweman likes this.
  2. Mr Carcharodon

    Mr Carcharodon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Southern California
    The air cell in your BC pushes you up, and your weights push you down. So if you are being pushed face down move some, or most, of your weight back near to or ideally behind your air cell. Many people here will wax poetic about backplates and wings. That can be a bit over wrought but having a negatively buoyant backplate very near to the air cell can fix a lot of pitch problems. But try to fix what you have first by shifting weights around. BP/Ws have real advantages but they may be mostly for warm water technical divers or cold water rec or tec which does not seem to be your case.
  3. runsongas

    runsongas Great White

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: California - Bay Area
    Bookmon likes this.
  4. rsingler

    rsingler Scuba Instructor, Tinkerer in Brass Staff Member ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Napa, California
    Try the Scubapro Glide or the Scubapro Go for lightweight travel.
    Add more air to the jacket. The cells are wraparound and sit right next to the weight pockets. If you want to float leaning back all cozy the way you remember, fill 'er up! You'll get a comfy squeeze that can be reassuring.
    As for your recollections of your jacket without integrated weight pockets, keep in mind the compromise you learned to live with. My old orange Scubapro Classic was great as a jacket, but with a weight belt, things were either less comfortable or poorly trimmed. With my weight belt up high, it would get squeezed beneath the jacket when inflated, and was less comfortable, especially with hard weights. With my weight belt low on my hips and old Jet Fins, it was impossible to be horizontal in the water when diving.

    There's good things and bad things about jacket bcds. But if you like old school, you can still get what you want with a little extra air in the bags: leaning back on the surface, and perfect for a tank valve tow of your tired buddy.
    DogDiver and Bookmon like this.
  5. Bookmon

    Bookmon Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alabama
  6. Bookmon

    Bookmon Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Alabama
    Had never thought of it as an air fill issue. Will experiment.
  7. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    It might help to know what BC model doesn't work for you?

    Most jacket style BCD's float you pretty vertical and high in the water by design. To float more on your back move more of your weight to the back.
    There's also at least one model (Oceanic?) that has an air cell integrated near the cummerbund to provide even more vertical orientatation. There's dozens of options

    To optimize it even more you can try adding
    weight around the tank valve - they sell strap-on pockets for the purpose.

    I have a back inflate Ranger. When I want to float on my back - often to kick out while shore diving - it does with minimal effort. Yet when diving, having the air on my back keeps me in horizontal trim.My optimum weight distribution is 70/30 F/R but it's hard to find small trim weights so I usually am 60/40.

    search jacket on Leisurepro.com Many of the better models also have weight integration.
    Bookmon likes this.
  8. CT-Rich

    CT-Rich ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    I have a back inflate ScubaPro Nighthawk. I don’t know if I would orientate face up in the water if I was unconscious (not hoping to find out, if at all possible). But, when I started using it, I was over inflating it on the surface, which definitely pitched me face forward in the water. On the surface I keep adding air until my head is comfortably clear of the wat and then I stop.

    Your over all rig is going to have an effect, because of the weight distribution. I dive a steel 120 and that adds ballast behind the BCD. The rest of the weight I split between pouches and a belt.

    Jacket and horse collar BCs can pretty much be filled to bursting without changing your orientation in the water.
    Bookmon likes this.
  9. tdallen

    tdallen Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Somewhere south of Boston
    It's an interesting question. I am primarily a vacation diver and dive from boats. Obviously I want to have good trim underwater... But I also want to float with minimal effort when I'm on the surface during dive assembly and retrieval, which can take some time. The usual advice to back inflate BCD users to let some air out and float on your back, while true, is also simplistic. In heavy swell/chop you can't necessarily float on your back and you're constantly going under if you're low in the water - and that's not low effort. And not every back inflate BC is created equal - they put the weight at different points, have different shape bladders, etc. Add in the effect of your exposure protection and your personal buoyancy characteristics, and it turns out the simple question doesn't have a simple answer.
    Damselfish and johndiver999 like this.
  10. Doctorfish

    Doctorfish Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Canada
    Scubapro Classic stab jacket would keep you head up independent of amount of air inflated. I have a Diverite BP/wing and a Scubapro Lighthawk as well but I still prefer the old stab jacket.
    BDSC likes this.

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