When a diver is carrying his or her scuba tank and wearing scuba gear, which can be quite heavy, keeping their buoyancy can be tricky. A BCD (Buoyancy Control Device)
helps them to maintain it. It is a jacket or vest with air pockets that inflates and keeps them afloat. If you are looking to descend, you simply let some of the air out, and if you want to ascend you increase the amount of air in the BC (buoyancy compensator).
Not only is it used to keep the wearer buoyant, it actually secures the personís dive kit by holding it together. Most serious divers consider this a large investment, second only to their scuba regulator. There are two main types of BCDs, the vest style and the back inflate. You have to decide which one is best for you. Here are some pros and cons for your BCDs.
Vest Style BC
jacket style BCDsPros:
It is quite comfortable and comes with pockets that you can use for storage. Some of them even have pouches that can be used for integrating weight.
If you need to deflate your BC quickly, this is the ideal choice. Straps in the chest area push against any trapped air in this area forcing it out and deflating much more easily and quickly.
It gives lots of stability when you are at the waterís surface behaving very much like a life jacket would. It allows you to stay upright as you float on the surface without requiring much effort on your part.
They tend to be restrictive and there are divers who complain that when inflated, they also cause the chest to be squeezed, which is uncomfortable.
If you do not fit it properly, it can cause the position of your body to change underwater. This also happens if it is not properly weighted.
Because it comes with a cummerbund and lots of padding, they often create drag at the oceanís surface.
Back Inflate BC
back style BCDs
It is unobtrusive, comfortable and allows for great movement
When underwater, you are able to hold a better horizontal position. It also helps with forward propulsion.
Allows you to be more streamline when underwater, therefore causing less drag.
If you need to deflate quickly you will face a challenge with this BC because its air bladders are designed to be behind you.
You need to kick when at the waterís surface in order to lean back. With practice, you are able to float easily face up.