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Weight belt vs. BC integrated weights in an emergency

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba' started by nadenal, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. nadenal

    nadenal Registered

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Sacramento, California, United States
    I agree that this is something I am unlikely to encounter but, you never know. And, if I can learn something from discussing this, it is time well spent. I like the idea of the dive shorts. I will have to look into picking up a pair of those.
  2. luscioman

    luscioman ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Florida
  3. Steve_C

    Steve_C Contributor Rest in Peace

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Raleigh, NC USA
    I find it is much easier to take things in and out of dive shorts than my BCD pockets. Some of my friends who dive back plates also use them. So I carry flashlight, SMB, and a couple other things I might want on a dive in the shorts pockets. Everything is clipped to 6 inch long straps from inside the pocket. So in the weight pocket scenario you just pull the stuff out and it does not go anywhere.
  4. chillyinCanada

    chillyinCanada ScubaBoard Supporter Staff Member ScubaBoard Supporter

    I never want to find myself having to wear a weightbelt again.
  5. Necklinsberg

    Necklinsberg Divemaster Candidate

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Lancaster County, PA
    Either or is best depending upon WHICH ONE YOU PRACTICE WITH

    One concern I have with integrated is, as stated by others above, they may fall out it not properly installed. That being said, I prefer to dive integrated (but frequently practice removal on a platform with my buddy)

    Concerns that I have with weight belt are:
    -- They stretch when wet. Unless you prewet them, or tighten it once you start your dive, it can end up around your knees
    -- Dumping weights when integrated is 'easy' regardless of position in the water. If you are horizontal, how do you drop your weight belt without rotating your body or pulling with your right hand (thus throwing yourself off balance). If you are vertical and heads up unless you immediately drop it after release you again risk being pulled around.

    No matter which method (or combination of styles) you use, practice, practice, practice until it become automatic
  6. dumpsterDiver

    dumpsterDiver Banned

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    A typical nylon weightbelt is not going to stretch when wet, when normal tension is applied. However, if you are wearing a thick wetsuit, suit compression will make the weight belt much looser at depth and DOES usually require tightening (or you can just tighten it up so much that you can't breath on descent). :D

    I have found elastic rubber belts typically used by freedivers to negate much of the drawbacks of a nylon weight belt. They won't slip around, they don't get loose and they won't fall off your butt and down to your knees. The difference in comfort and "feel" is pretty dramatic.
  7. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    Or you can use a spring loaded buckle that compensates for stretch and suit compression. I bought one back in the 80's and have it used since.
  8. eelnoraa

    eelnoraa DIR Practitioner

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: San Francisco Bay Area
    Depending on how much weight you need, I think spliting the weight between belt and integrated is the way to go. when possible, the ideal way is to put just enought weight on the belt, so that if you happen to ditch your rig, you will be neutral or just slightly positive. The rest goes on the rig. However, with thick suit, this may not be possible at all. So just do the best you can.

    as for ditching weight, if you are diving a balanced rig, you should never need to do it under water. I can see ditching weight on surface.
    mtngoat2674 and lowviz like this.
  9. mtngoat2674

    mtngoat2674 Contributor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: United States
    I wasn't a fan of the shorts, primarily because of fit, but Dive Rite manufactures a thigh pocket supported by a webbing strap attached to the BC and buckle around the thigh. This system worked better for me. In either case, having additional pockets sure is nice! :)
  10. 84CJ7

    84CJ7 Contributor

    Add my vote for integrated with the weights as scattered as possible. I can't think of a scenario where I would want an all or nothing approach to weight dumping, especially since with the expansion of the wetsuits I use by the time I hit the surface I would probably be able to clear the lake and land right back on the beach with the amount of speed I would have.
    I think the easily dump-able weights on a belt should be just enough to make you neutrally buoyant at depth.
    Also if I do suggest a separate weight belt to someone its the soft weight type with pockets all the way around for a more controlled weight distribution among other things.
    I do recall laughing at one of my buddies with a rental hard belt that had him swimming sideways due to weight shift at depth, fun to try and fix mid water.
    This topic is one I have given a lot of thought to since I sometimes dive with a 6.5mm farmer john style top and bottom suit that has such a huge swing in buoyancy that it would be impossible to get under the water even with a full tank if I wasn't negatively buoyant at depth to the point where a blown BCD would mean dropping at least some weights for me. I get stuck on the surface sometimes with a really low tank after dives.

    As I remember it, in the specific incident you mentioned the type of weights wouldn't have made a difference as it was too deep already for the DM to cause a forced ascent with weight dropping.

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