Buoyancy Compensators

How To Buy Buoyancy Compensators

Buoyancy compensators are perphaps the most complicated piece of dive equipment. They are commonly referred to as BC's and are critical to your diving experience.

Important: Scuba equipment should only be purchased by certified divers trained properly in its use and maintenance. Certain warnings regarding maintenance and use of these products are attached to the product. Please read all product warnings and instructions carefully.

  • Buoyancy compensators
    • What they do
    • Selecting the right BC
      • Fit
      • Adequate lift
      • Pockets/Attachments
      • Weight-integrated vs. weight belts

Buoyancy compensators

What they do

BC's hold your gear, help you carry that tank with little effort, keep you afloat at the surface, and permit neutral buoyancy at any depth. With this considered, you may want to invest more in a BC.

Selecting the right BC

There are a number of factors to consider in selecting a BC:

  • Fit
    • Make sure your BC is the proper size and fits comfortably over the wetsuit you wear most often
    • BCs need to fit snugly but shouldn't squeeze you when inflated to the point that it restricts your breathing
  • Adequate lift
    • The amount of lift depends on your diving needs
    • The general rule is more is always better
    • Here are some rules of thumb for lift depending on diving conditions:
      • Tropical Diving (with little or no wetsuit protection) - 12 to 24 pounds
      • Recreational Diving (with a full wetsuit or dry suit) - 20 to 40 pounds
      • Technical Diving (or under other demanding conditions) - 40 to 80 pounds
  • Pockets/Attachments
    • As your diving conditions change, you may want a BC that offers easy-to-reach pockets for gear and for attachments that allow you to expand your diving options
  • Weight-integrated vs. weight belts
    • Weight-integrated
      • Weight-integrated BCs eliminate the need for weight belts in many diving conditions
      • Weight-integrated systems are considered more comfortable and convenient since the weights are carried right in the BC rather than on a separate belt that hangs around the hips
      • However, a weight-integrated BC may not have enough capacity for your needs. Its pockets may be too limited to carry enough weight for your diving conditions.
      • In the end, though, you may want the versatility of a weight-integrated BC
      • You can use it with a full load of weights, partial weights or no weights to lighten the load in certain diving conditions
      • It can also be used as part of a weight distribution system, along with weight belts, trim weights and other weights
    • Weight belts
      • Weight belts are often nylon webbing straps with slide on weights
      • They can also be soft belt with Velcro closure pockets to insert weights or soft weight belts that accept weights
      • Weight belts and weights are meant to be disposable in emergencies. Buy Accordingly.