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Uncontrolled ascent!! - Loss of a Weight Insert for Mares Prestige BCD pocket

Discussion in 'Mares... Just add Water!' started by scubaseeker, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. scubaseeker

    scubaseeker Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: UAE
    35
    0
    0
    Hi All,

    Yesterday I did a leisure dive in about seven metres of water, and it was my second dive for the day. All was going to very well as I controlled my breathing and underwater ‘flew’ ascended and descended around largish boulders and coral. Indeed, I was feeling pretty good with myself after finally establishing the right amount of additional weights I need to acquire a balanced buoyancy with my relatively all new Mares 'kit', including the new Mares Prestige BCD.

    However, suddenly I found myself helpless in an uncontrolled ascent and before I knew it, I was on the surface looking down with other divers below me - passing by, pretty much oblivious to my rapid ascent predicament, including my buddy mystified by my disappearance. It only took me a few seconds for me to work out what had happened. Clearly the front right-side weight insert ‘bag’ to my ‘inbuilt’ ‘Prestige’ BCD pocket had fallen out, and consequently the loss of weight had send me to the top, cutting my dive short, and then reluctantly having to accept a surface swim in choppy waves. I signal I was safe, and swam a good distance back to the boat.

    The incident confirmed a concern I’ve had for some time, about lack of reassurance that each weight insert is firmly secured, and I’ve always worried my weight inserts will pop out at some stage, especially on inflating BCD. But fortunately this problem has not occurred. Tell me if I’m wrong but what I don’t like about the design is there seems to be no confirmation sound – a click! - that tells one, that the weight inserts are securely in place, and no need for further adjustments, or concern about losing all?

    What worries me about this incident - is not ascending uncontrollably in a mere sevenish metres of water, but in a much deeper dive, i.e. 30ish metres to say a wreck etc. and finding I have no control in my ascent, including by-passing a safety stop. What is worrying In this recent incident is that I’m sure I did not hit anything that made it come out, and the only explanation I can give is that I had 2 x 2kg weights in the insert bag and the external insert bag teeth did not latch correctly, and through gradual body movement, it edged itself out slowly until it finally fell out of the BCD pocket.

    The good news was my buddy, who was relatively close by, did find the missing weight insert, and although mystified as to my immediate disappearance, brought it back to the boat shortly afterwards. Also note: He lost one of his Mares weight inserts too, a week previously, but on alighting the boat, and so was very sympathetic to my situation, losing mine.

    So what should I do? I’m now considering the following options:

     No longer use the Prestige weight inserts and accept that this might be a design deficiency (a not so happy option given I bought the Mares Prestige for the reason of not playing around with a separate weight belt)
     Use the weight inserts but put into it, not the solid weights, but the soft bags;
     Do what my buddy does, buy an optional spear gun leed attachment and attach to each, so they will not be lost. That seems cumbersome. The other concern here is an emergency ascent scenario, how to quickly drop the weights - probably having to resort to using a knife for each!;:depressed:
     Other suggestion by a Mares specialist on overcoming all.

    So my questions are:
     am I, and my buddy, the only ones to lose their Mares weight inserts??
     Is anyone in the Mares company willing to confide in the number of losses by divers and give a perspective on the design?
     Is there a design deficiency here, or is it a case of doing something to adjust - say the teeth that can give the diver reassurance that they are firmly clicked in (fastened in)?
     In case of loss, will Mares give a discount replacement?
     Are they cheap to replace?
     Is my buddy foolish to attach the spear-gun loop rings to each weight inserts, so he can reassure against - avoid losing them??

    Lastly, and more importantly, is an uncontrolled descent a serious issue and can I do something to stop this even if the inbuilt Mares Prestige weight inserts fall out? i.e. what is the normal procedure if you lose your weight belt???

    At the moment I’m contemplating going back to using a weight belt, at least until someone from Mares can suggest how I can confidently secure the weight inserts, hence using their product is safe, and not have the uncontrolled ascent scenario detailed explained herein above.

    Note: Beyond this problem, I am happy customer with Mares products and hope that there is a solution to this problem.:kiss2:
     
  2. Ontwreckdiver

    Ontwreckdiver Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: St Thomas, Ontario, Canada
    968
    162
    43
    My LDS is a Mares dealer, so my gear and 99% of the people I dive with use Mares gear and I haven't heard of anyone losing a weight pocket.
    Did you insert the weight pockets before you put your BC on, if so did you tug on them to confirm that they were secured in place. Did you overload the weight pockets past the recommended weight limit? The instructor I DM with is always telling students not to over load their weight pockets. She tells them to use a combination of weight pockets and weight belt, so if one or the other comes off, you don't lose all your weight.
     
  3. ps1mhd

    ps1mhd Divemaster

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Sparta Ky
    68
    0
    6
    I would call both my lds and Mares and let them know.
    This could lead to a death if it is a design flaw and may need to be recalled.
     
  4. hollisman29

    hollisman29 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: new york , u.s.a
    12
    0
    0
    Very familiar with this problem, Have Mares dragon BC , Lost weight pockets ,on two different dives in the ocean, Both dives made sure weight pockets were snapped in.
    They seem to brake free when jolted ,such as a roll backward out of a raft.

    You should contact Mares! , I think I will as well , now I know someone else had similar problem.
     
  5. scubaseeker

    scubaseeker Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: UAE
    35
    0
    0
    Please remember that my buddy lost his weight insert too a week before(dragon model), and just rolling out of the boat...
     
  6. scubaseeker

    scubaseeker Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: UAE
    35
    0
    0
    My LDS is a Mares dealer, so my gear and 99% of the people I dive with use Mares gear and I haven't heard of anyone losing a weight pocket.

    So my situation and my buddy's loss a week before, and Mr Hollisman29 above, are considered an isolated case??? Pretty coincidental eh? You may have not had any problems with weight pouches, but I do note that in recent posts on this forum a number of other problems associated with the weight pouch/pockets/ releases were posted before I encountered my particular incident / problem:

    Mares BCD weight pouch problems... (12th August, 2009)
    Mares Dragon MRS Plus weight releases (4th May, 2009)
    Broken MRS Plus Weight Pocket (July 24th, 2009)


    Did you insert the weight pockets before you put your BC on, if so did you tug on them to confirm that they were secured in place.

    Yes, but how do you quantify tug to confirm all are secure. I have experienced some still resistance but nothing major to release. I also note in my previous E-mail, no obvious click sound to confirm secured. A pull release is required in case of emergency ascent, but my experience is it does not take much effort to do this.

    Did you overload the weight pockets past the recommended weight limit?

    2 x 2 kgs, is that defined as an overload??

    The instructor I DM with is always telling students not to over load their weight pockets. She tells them to use a combination of weight pockets and weight belt, so if one or the other comes off, you don't lose all your weight.

    IMHO, defeats the whole purpose of having an inbuilt weight BCD system...but now considering this as a last resort..

    To date I note with interest no reply or comment from the various Mares representatives on this forum to my list of questions. Until this is settled, I will not be using my weight releases, and will resort back to using a weight belt, something I’m not happy with, but safety in diving is a priority for me.
     
  7. marinediva

    marinediva Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives:
    Location: Illawarra.....south of Sydney australia & Balmain
    466
    3
    0
    My spare jacket is a Mares Ariel earlier this year as I was about to take the plunge I saw my right pocket was 'loose' and had to rectify the pocket, I do remember thinking strange I swear I locked that in and went about my business. After reading this I will take extra care when wearing the jacket.
     
  8. founts

    founts Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Windsor, Canada
    10
    0
    0
    I was talking with my instructor during a refresher course who was wearing weight integrated BC and a weight belt. When I inquired "why" he simply reminded me about my OW training where we had to practice removing our BCD under water, then putting it back on. Much easier if you are personally weighted.

    He only wears a couple of 3s on his belt. Equipment will malfunction sooner or later - the question always is what redundant systems do you have in place to protect you when that failure happens?
     
  9. Zak OHara

    Zak OHara Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Pac NW
    1,409
    29
    48
    Scubaseeker,

    Sorry for the delayed response, I've been out of the office and don't always have the capacity to check this forum.

    I am sorry to hear you are experiencing difficulties with the MRS plus weight pocket. Mares is not aware of any current design problems with the pockets. If the pockets are securely inserted into the bcd, they should not release without a firm and deliberate pull of the red handle.

    I am not suggesting this is your problem, however I have seen numerous divers with similar products not inserting the weight pouch into the receptacle all the way, resulting in similar outcomes. It is possible this could have happened to you.

    I suggest you take your bcd to the nearest authorized Mares dealer for evaluation. If the dealer or distributor finds an issue with your product, and it is still within the 2yr warranty, your products will be covered. Have you taken your BCD into a dealer for evaluation?

    If you need assistance in locating a local Mares authorized dealer in your location, please feel free to ask and I'll be glad to help.

    Best regards,
     
  10. Zak OHara

    Zak OHara Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Pac NW
    1,409
    29
    48
    Marinediva,

    Your Ariel bcd uses a different mechanism for engaging the weight pocket than the previous poster. As you are familiar, you must depress the red handle, then slide the weight pocket receptacle over the orange post located in the pocket, then releasing the red handle on the pouch. This will firmly attach the pocket to the bcd. It is also a good idea to occasionally check the post for solid connection with the bcd. The post can be turned and pulled for removal.

    Best regards,
     

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