Correct weighting – by Mike McKinnon


One of the most important considerations to enjoying a safe, comfortable and hassle free dive is carrying the correct amount of weight. If you carry too much you will struggle to find neutral buoyancy and can find yourself in a dangerous situation, if you don’t have enough, you will constantly feel like you’re having to kick to stay down.

There are a lot of variables when it comes to correct weighting. Considerations are:

1. Wetsuit thickness
2. Fresh water or salt water
3. Body size
4. Steel or Aluminium cylinder
5. Type of BC or wing used
6. Integrated weights or weight belt
7. Cylinder capacity/weight

There is nothing more enjoyable than descending to the dive site, inflating your BC with 2 quick taps of the i3 lever and instantly achieving perfectly neutral buoyancy.

The more weight you carry over your ideal amount causes you to inflate and deflate your BC more regularly. As all divers know, from their Open Water Course, if you inflate your BC (too much) you will float up, as you ascend to shallower water, the air in your BC will expand as per Boyles Law. During the ascent, like loosing control of a car, most people will over correct. Over correcting results in a mass dumping of air and a quick descent. You’re now sinking, you add air to your BC, usually too much, and the viscous cycle begins again. Keep this scenario in mind on your next dive. Acknowledging and recognising your buoyancy issue is the first step to improving your skills, the next step is to enroll in Scuba World’s Perfect Buoyancy course, so many things you thought you knew about your buoyancy.

How do you know how much weight to carry?

1. Purchase your own wetsuit. If you hire, more than likely you will receive a different suit thickness/type every time.

2. Enroll in a Perfect Buoyancy course. Can you hover stationary for 1 minute without using your arms?

3. Purchase steel tanks. Most dive shops will only hire aluminium tanks (these are positively buoyant when 50 bar or less)

4. Keep records of what suit you wear, cylinder size and material, etc and whether you were floating up or having to add a lot of air to your BC

5. Complete a weight check in the Scuba World onsite pool. To book contact Mike michael@scubaworld.com.au