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To weight or not to weight

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by BettyRubble, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. BettyRubble

    BettyRubble Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Delaware
    Okie Newbies, I as a fellow newbie have been rather morbidly obsessed with the A&I thread (accidents and incidents) . . and I've noticed a disturbing trend.

    We newbies have too much weight on us when we dive. AND

    We newbies don't yet have it ingrained in our habits, when or how to ditch that weight in emergencies. THUS

    We die.

    So, I've been working on getting my weight down and for me there have been a few key areas of focus. I share them in the hopes you too will focus on the weight issue. Since I am no expert, not even close, I can't offer you advice on how to do these things correctly. But there are several threads on each topic that offers much advice. PLUS you can ask your instructors. Yep, call 'em up. I don't care how long it's been since your OW cert. Call them. Frequently. I'm blessed with a great instructor. I even emailed him while at ITK with my 'newbie stupid question of the day'.

    Ok, here goes my two cents on what we newbies need to focus on early on:

    1) Buoyancy, buoyancy, buoyancy . . . now, my dive buddies will tell ya that I have NOT mastered this. But 20 dives into my journey I continue to work hard at it every dive. I analyze why it sucked, and then try to fix it in the next dive. I think my learning curve is shortened because of this focus. I have a long way to go but it is an important skill. Buoyancy is affected by several things. See the next few items below.

    2) One of the reasons we have trouble with buoyancy is weight (are you seeing the trend here). Since we are overweighted, we try to use the BC to compensate. For me, it was the fear I couldn't hold a safety stop. So I weighted myself too much. But now I've gotten my cold freshwater/7 mil/steel tank weight down to 10 lbs. It took learning how to RELAX at the surface and then to time my letting out a breath of air at the same time as deflating my BC, then either duck diving or going into the horizontal hover during my descent. It works. Trust me. Try it. We newbies do the feet first thing cuz it is what we are taught, but please try the other methods. I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that my ears actually clear better when I am horizontal then when I do the feet first, PLUS I can see what or who is below me as I descend. AND since I only have 10 lbs now, I use my BC far less often to 'keep me off the bottom'.

    3) BREATHING . . . we have to learn to master our breathing. Not just air consumption but actually using our lungs as a sort of BC . . . I'm definitely not there yet, but it's getting better. PLUS, the less often I have to pump air into my BC means more bottom time for me so for 'air hogs' the sooner you can master the weight/buoyancy/breathing issue, the sooner you will win the air war.

    4) With less weight we won't get as tired as fast, won't breath through as much air, AND have a better shot at letting our BC work for us in an emergency. IF you have an OOA situation and happen to actually remember to orally inflate your BC at the surface, BUT you have too much weight, your BC may not have enough 'lift' to hold you on the surface.

    5) Finally, KNOW HOW TO DUMP YOUR WEIGHT. Practice it. It kills me to read how often divers make it to the surface but because they can't or don't remember to dump their weight they end up drowning.

    Ok, I'm off the 'don't die' soap box for the day.

    Veterans - please add your comments. Don't hesitate to flame me where needed. Let's face it . . my two cents isn't worth half its value so I'm not offended by having better information posted.

    P.S. For those with weight integrated BC's, consider splitting your weights between the BC and a weight belt. If you should unintentionally lose the belt, or a weight integrated pocket, you will only lose a portion of the weight. (Veterans: Please chime in on any concerns about the difficulty ditching 'multiple' weights might be in this scenario).
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 23, 2009
    Denis_D, dive_turkey, bennays and 8 others like this.
  2. BonaireDan

    BonaireDan IDC Staff Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ohio, retiring to Bonaire within 5 years
    Good points. Thanks.
  3. 300bar

    300bar ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    The fact that you think about and understand these basics,proves you're on your way to become a great diver.Keep up the work and you will be.

    IMO it's even worth to be a STICKY for a while.
    So untill my peers deside different,it will be.:D
    scubadiver888 and mruseless like this.
  4. ligersandtions

    ligersandtions DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: San Pedro, CA
    Very well written and thought out....asking all your "newbie stupid questions" has really paid off for you! Keep it up and I suspect you'll be one hell of a diver and someone I would not hesitate to call my buddy :D
  5. ptyx

    ptyx Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: CA
    Good post!

    Good buddies will be glad to carry a couple extra pounds they can hand you at a safety stop if you're underweight - and let you experiment safely. Ankle weights are especially convenient to to pass around as you can attach them anywhere in 10 seconds - just not on the ankles :).
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2009
    GerrysGlitterGirl likes this.
  6. wildwily

    wildwily Guest

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Tampa, FL
    Thanks for the input. I, of only 15 dives, am going through the same learning curve, and am wanting to get the weight down as well. I'll be following this thread. BTW, I had a great dive vacation in Curacao last week. I tend to pop out of the zone by taking in too deep of a breath, but am getting better with each dive. I found the ankle weights too incovenient, so I'm beyond them now. Practice, practice, practice!

    Erin Leavey likes this.
  7. NJ to FLA

    NJ to FLA Regular of the Pub

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Parkland, FL
    thanks.. I hope to be cutting off 4lbs so I'll try everything you've said! :D
  8. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)

    If you keep thinking like that you'll be a real good diver way before your time. Continue to dive with a spirit of continuous improvement and you'll have a grand time.

    Thinking it through will go along ways in scuba diving. Skill is nice but you need to be doing the right things in the first place.

  9. BettyRubble

    BettyRubble Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Delaware
    Wow! Not sure how this managed to be 'sticky' worthy, but I'm honored. Thank you for the many kind words. I've been fortunate to have learned with and dive with a great group of people. They let me ask my 'stupid questions of the day' and never treat me like I should know better. The boards here are a wealth of info. It really does help reading through the many posts and 'debates'.
  10. TSandM

    TSandM Missed and loved by many. Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    Betty, you have been asking good questions since you got here, and you have clearly spent time mulling over the answers. Those of us who have been here a while begin to spot people like you, and we really enjoy responding to your posts. Glad you have been making constructive use of the answers!
    Aquabot and dive_turkey like this.

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