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Jacket BCD vs. Backplate/Wing

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

  1. merxlin

    merxlin ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: So. Cal.
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    How do you think the equipment removal and replacement segment would be in a BP/W vs. a JBCD for a beginning diver? As an instructor, would this be an area of concern for you?
     
  2. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Solo Diver Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Palm Beach, Fl
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    Why is a jacket BC better for a rec, wetsuit dive?

    Are you aware that backplate and wing systems come with 2" webbing which can be used to attach many standardized accessories, such as pockets and D rings? In other words, BP/W's can attach as much or more stuff than a jacket BC, and in a custom configuration. A backplate and wing is just as much the "center of the whole diving system" as a jacket bc.


    People generally rise to the expectations set for them. Train students in a backplate and wing, and teach them to meet a quality level of diving that includes higher understanding of their equipment and proper bouyancy control, and the world will see a better generation of divers. If we keep training divers to poor standards, we'll keep having divers with poor standards. Simple enough.

    The Zeagle Tek Express is a nice soft backplate option for classes, as it is sizable nearly instantly to fit a wide variety of people. Also, it is pretty cheap.

    A friend recently told me about a...I want to say, $800 BC. For that price I could have bought more than two backplate and wing systems, as my first BP/w at approximately the same time cost $400. Additional systems do not need a backplate or webbing, merely wing, so I could conceivably have gotten three setups, for use with a single tank, a double tank, and a smaller travel wing, all for the price of one BC.


    Divers have this mentality that a BP/W is just too complicated and hard for new students to use. It is this mentality that has students complaining about having to carry their own gear to a site, that they have to swim to pass the class, or that a class lasting longer than one weekend is too long. Do we really want to perpetrate this attitude, or do we want to change the diving industry to include higher standards for students? Why are we as an industry selling ourselves short? Aside from the fact that greedy companies hunger for faster turnover of students to increase short term income, rather than looking at the long term goal of creating lifetime divers who will then instill a love of diving in others.

    [edit] Merxlin, just read your post above this. An instructor should be able to teach students how to properly remove and replace a BP/W. If they can't, then the class is too short or the instructor is...dare I say, not doing their job? If anything, removing a bp/w is easier than using the buckle/clip things on a BC, which are not standardized and can be confusing to some people. Trying to suggest that getting out of a single piece harness in a class is selling students short and fixing that lack of instruction with equipment rather than solving the true problem of poor instruction.
     
  3. kanonfodr

    kanonfodr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle, Wa
    1,486
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    0
    It's not that big a deal, done it plenty of times in my Hog Rig with doubles on it, wearing a drysuit. Just inflate the wing enough to keep the rig afloat, undo the waist buckle, slide the crotch strap off, then pull it over your head. Just ensure you keep your reg in your mouth the whole time, no problem with a long hose.

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  4. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
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    You'll have check how the Buoyancy Device is used today vs. how it was used during, let's say in the early 80's. One look at the Tech. diver will be show some difference.
     
  5. Teamcasa

    Teamcasa Sr. Moderator ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Near Pasadena, CA
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    Do I understand this right? If students are trained using a jacket BC their instructors are sub-standard and the divers will automatically be of a lower skill level than those taught by BP/W instructors? Seriously?

    The Apeks WTX Harness is also a very good system.
     
    MauiScubaSteve likes this.
  6. merxlin

    merxlin ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: So. Cal.
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    I'm sure that is true. But the question is about teaching that skill to novice students. I am not an instructor and do not have my own opinion, just looking for insight as to whether it poses a challenge to teach this skill.
     
  7. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Solo Diver Staff Member

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: West Palm Beach, Fl
    3,610
    816
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    Not exactly what I meant. I've said before that a good diver can be a good diver in any equipment configuration. I can dive with great trim in a jacket BC if I have to. What I meant was, we keep suggesting that some fairly simple things, are too difficult for students. I think that misses the point. Lets set high standards, and see if students rise to them. I think they generally will.

    Train in a jacket BC or a backplate and wing, I don't really care what other divers use. I just think it's wrong to suggest that a backplate and wing is harder to use, and harder for students to learn in. I personally feel that backplate and wings are a superior way of diving, because they make diving easier :wink: Not trying to shove anything down someone's throat, I'm trying to make their life easier.

    However, the masses are perfectly content to dive in what I see as less comfortable or easy to use systems. And, they are often fed the line that other equipment is harder to use, and only designed for technical divers.

    Apologies for the slight ambiguous wording I used. I could have broken the sentence up differently to keep it from sounding like a backplate and wing was required to be a superior diver :)


    I've never used or seen the Apeks rig, so I can't comment on it compared to the Zeagle.
     
  8. kanonfodr

    kanonfodr Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Seattle, Wa
    1,486
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    I dive with lots of Technical Divers, I do support diving for them, and I'm even on the way to "Technical Diving" myself. Their BP/Ws do the same job mine does: holding tanks on our body and compensating for negative bouyancy. Oh, and the can light and knife are on the waist straps of the harness. I'm still not seeing your point, perhaps you could provide some examples of these "additional functions" or "different types of diving" that having multiple types of BCs would benefit a diver.

    About the only example I can think of would be going from backmount diving to sidemount diving, because for sidemount you don't want an inflexible plate to risk keyholing your body in a restriction (if you are doing the dives that really do call for sidemount). For everything else I can use my Backplate (and I could ghetto-rig my backplate for sidemount diving if I wanted to, but won't), from my normal single-tank/wetsuit dives to deep technical dives involving multiple stage and deco bottles, monkey diving with an AL40 and a scooter, and even a rebreather.

    The end result is the same: all my BCD is doing is holding tanks to my body and compensating for negative bouyancy in my tanks, accesories, and exposure suit compression. My regulator allows me to breathe from the gas in my tank, bottom timer tells me how deep I am and how long I've been under, and my fins make propelling me and all my gear through the water easier. I haven't found a BCD that tells me how deep I am, or fins that connect my tanks to my mouth.

    Peace,
    Greg
     
  9. BurhanMuntasser

    BurhanMuntasser Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Nomad
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    What about all of the attachments and how/where they are attached and what they do and how they support the "stuff" attached to the diver? What about holding weights and taking over the function of the weight belt? F.Y.I. I am not talking about the bag that holds the air only, I am talking about the whole system.

    In fact, it would be very difficult for techies, and any other "special interest" divers, to do the things they do today if they had to use the same BC I used in 1984.
     
  10. CT Sean

    CT Sean Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Central Connecticut
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    OK I'll modify my opinion a bit. You are probably right that they do care to a certain extent and are influenced to care about the wrong things (I'm sure we all remember how up to a year or so ago we were supposed to believe more mega pixels = a better camera right?)

    However I maintain my belief that the average diver probably doesn't have the interest in the decision process to piece together and assemble their BC from a pile of plastic straps and metal.
     

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