Tip of the Week

How to select your BCD.

The BDC is and one of the most important and the most complex piece of dive equipment you’ll own. So choose carefully based on the style of diving you’ll be doing most.

What a BCD Does

Te BCD does more work than any other piece of your scuba equipment. It holds your gear in place, lets you carry a tank with minimal effort, floats you at the surface and allows you to achieve neutral buoyancy at any depth.  It is the key to enjoying your diving, diving comfortably and diving safely.

What to Look for in a BCD

Correct size and fit. Before you try on BCs, slip into the exposure suit you’ll wear most often. Look for a BC that fits snugly but doesn’t squeeze you when inflated. The acid test: inflate the BC until the overflow valve vents. The BC should not restrict your breathing. While you’ve got the BC on, test all valves for accessibility and ease of use, then make sure the adjustments, straps and pockets are easy to reach and use.

Pay particular attention to the inflator hose. Is it easy to reach and extend over your head? Make sure there’s a clear distinction between the inflate and deflate buttons and that you can operate them easily with one hand. Consider having an air integrated inflator regulator such as an AirXs rather than a power inflator.

My Advice in Choosing a BCD

This is an important piece of equipment that you can expect to use for many years. Don’t skimp; go for quality. Test as many different models as you can in real diving situations before buying. Rent them if you have to.

History of the BCD

In 1957, the US Navy began testing methods for manual and automatic buoyancy compensation. Since then a range of different buoyancy devices were used. In 1972 the first wing style BC was sold and in 1978, ScubaPro released the Stabilizer Jacket, the first jacket-style BCD.