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Jacket BCD vs. Backplate/Wing

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Doc Harry, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. v--Locke--v

    v--Locke--v Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Baltimore, MD
    i bought my bp/w after about 25 dives. i had always rented a bc. i also hated the bc so when donning the bp/w I felt like I was in heaven...

    it was streamlined, and simple w/o tons of stupid straps hanging everywhere! It's also easier to travel with.

    I think this article has to do more with $$ than anything else. I think training new divers on a BP/w is just as viable as a bc.
  2. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    Folks who are trying very hard to prove their point that Bp/w are superior just give it a rest please, they are not. Different tools for different purposes and one needs to use the right tool for the right job.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2011
    oncor23, fjpatrum and Rascally Rabbit like this.
  3. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace

    I wrote a letter to the magazine about that article. They have no "letters to the editor" section, so it will never see light.

    I do think that, from the standpoint of a brand new diver, a backplate setup is more complicated. There are more decisions to make (how much lift do I need? Torus or doughnut wing?) and it is not obvious how to accomplish some of the basic functions a standard BC makes simple (weight placement? Storage?). I do not think, with even semi-competent assistance, that these issues make a backplate system a bad choice for a new diver, and in some settings (like very cold water) backplate setups, because of their intrinsic ballast, make the best choice. And dismissing them out of hand as too much for novices is uncalled-for.

    But you can make an argument that they are more complicated in some senses.
  4. merxlin

    merxlin ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: So. Cal.
    I think a bigger issue than the complexity of them is an issue is availability. How many LDS carry a true BP/W? If their dive shop doesn't sell them, and the instructors/DM's don't use them, how will a novice diver get any exposure to them or learn about them in order to consider them as a choice? Look at the pictures in magazines: Std BCD's in all the cool vacation places, BP/W's (if you find an ad for them) on wreck divers or cave divers. The novice diver will probably not relate well to that marketing.
  5. Hepcat62

    Hepcat62 PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Redwood City, CA
    I'm not going to say that a BP/W is the only choice - it's not. I have no problem with divers in whatever BC makes them feel good, so long as they're in control.

    That said, I fundamentally disagree with the idea that the BP/W should be dismissed out of hand as an option for a new diver. Here's what I left as a comment on their site. Their page seems to mangle comments such as to remove any well-intentioned formatting, so here it is as I originally typed it.

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2011
  6. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver N/A

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
    Are you suggesting that jacket and BP&W BCDs conduct different 'jobs'?

    Which exactly??

    The dive centre I taught at previously was stocked with rental BP&Ws. Every student on an OW course learnt in a BP&W. They learnt the extra skill of properly fitting the (Hog) harness and, after that, it was just as easy (if not more so) than teaching students in a jacket BCD. This included DSDs and kids classes.
  7. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
    I am suggesting that in some instances it would be better to use one type of BC more than the other. If I am going to use a dry suit or doubles, then one type would be more convenient. If I am doing rec diving in a west suit, my classic is far better for me. For the average diver especially new divers, it would make more sense to use the jacket/classic style.

    Today, BC's do serve additional functions than simple "Buoyancy Compensation." I went through all phases of bc development over the years I have been diving (around 35 years now), from no bc to horsecollar/fenzy, etc. I bought my first jacket style BC in 1984. That BC then only served as a "Buoyancy Compensator" and as a backpac to carry the tank. BC evolved over the years and now they serve to be the center of the whole diving system for the diver in that almost everything is attached to the BC and whole diving practices depend on using one type of a bc or another. Different types of BC's have different features that are more suitable for one type of diving than others.

    The short answer, yes, BC's have evolved to be more than just buoyancy compensation devices and have taken over more functions.
    oncor23 likes this.
  8. kanonfodr

    kanonfodr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle, Wa

    And the functions besides holding the tank to your body and compensating for negative bouyancy would be??

  9. Teamcasa

    Teamcasa Sr. Moderator ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Near Pasadena, CA
    My point is made. :wink:

    If you break down the real (functional) differences between a BP/W and any other BCD what is the functional in the water difference? Not much really. In fact, if you add a crotch strap and carefully adjust the other straps (like you would with any BP/W) both will perform pretty well in water and both will do the two things you need; hold your tank in place and allow you to adjust your buoyancy. Neither will make you a better diver.
    oncor23 and FritzCat66 like this.
  10. Kingpatzer

    Kingpatzer Captain

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    I still don't get the basis of that thought. There is nothing about a single weave harness that is in anyway unsuitable for a new student. Indeed, from the perspective of minimizing distractions and task loading, it is a superior solution.

    And, as a matter of full disclosure, I teach all of my students in jacket style bcds -- because that is the rental gear my shop has.

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