CHOOSING A BCD

Dec 2, 2020 | 0 comments

The BCD (Buoyancy Control Device) is the device that allows you to control your buoyancy during diving, by adding or releasing air. In addition, an inflated BCD, allows you to rest on the surface before and after diving. It is one of the purchases that will most trouble a beginner, as there are many and significantly different options. BCDs can be divided into 3 major categories.

 

JACKET

In all likelihood, you used a BCD Jacket at the diving center while you were trained. This type of device fills with air while hugging your body. It has the advantage of easy handling and immediate response, especially when releasing the air, whereas compared to other categories its air cells can put uncomfortable pressure on your body when the device is inflated.

 

BACK INFLATE JACKET

The back inflate jacket differs from the one above since the air is concentrated exclusively on the back. Thus the device is neither too loose nor too tight on the diver since the air cells do not hug nor squeeze the body. Additionally, the back inflation jacket helps you achieve the best possible position (usually horizontally or slightly tilting the head downwards), thus minimizing water resistance. On the downside we must emphasize that beginners may find it more difficult to control buoyancy and the device may take more time to deflate. When the device is inflated on the surface it tends to push the diver forward.

 

BACKPLATE HARNESS

This type of BCD consists of a stainless steel plate and a harness. Attached to the back of the plate there is a bladder that is connected to the inflation system. Such devices are mandatory in technical diving, but in recent years they are gaining ground among recreational divers as they are much more compact. The steel plate acts as an alternative weight system and in general this device helps a lot to control trim. It has the same disadvantages as the back inflation jacket.

 

Two more key features to consider are weight systems and pockets. Most people prefer to put part or all of their weights in their BCD pockets. Most BCDs have a quick release system that allows you to drop all weight at once in case of emergency.

A pocket is always useful. Most BCDs have pockets, with the exception of backplates that tend to be more compact and minimal. Alternatively some wetsuits offer large leg pockets. In any case, it is useful to have a pocket somewhere.

Another category that should be mentioned is the BCD designed for women. Although most women do not consider such a differentiation necessary, there are also fanatics of the kind, as these jackets follow the female physiology and keep the strap pressure away from the chest area.

 

The safest and most affordable option for a beginner is the BCD jacket. But it is an option that after a few years may not meet your needs and you may end up with a more specialized device.

 

See our detailed guide regarding each piece of equipment!

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