Selecting the right weight system for you
Whether you buy a conventional weight belt or a more complicated weight system depends on a few factors, a lot of which is just down to personal preference. How much weight you need to carry is obviously key, you will hopefully have established this already in your dive course but see the preparation and maintenance section for more advice on this. Equally as important is where you are going to be diving. For example exposure suits are particularly buoyant in cooler waters meaning you will often need more weight than if you plan to dive somewhere warm.
If you are hoping to use an integrated weight system, don't forget to look for this when purchasing your BCD.
These are great as they condense the amount of equipment you need to carry however they can be a little uncomfortable when your BCD is inflated, again it depends on what feels right for you.
Females often prefer harnesses as the weight belts can sit uncomfortably on women's hips. For dry suit wearer and people who have buoyant fins, you might find ankle weights very useful. These are similar to the weight belt but strap securely round your ankles to ensure you not head over heels in the water!
Preparation and Maintenance
A key part of setting up your weight belt is knowing how much weight you will need. Here's how you do it:
1. Enter the water wearing all of your equipment and a few weights already on the belt. Your estimated weight requirement will be given to you by your instructor or dive professional, if you need more advice on this, please do not hesitate to contact our team.
2. Keep your regulator in your mouth and staying at the surface, deflate your BCD and hold a normal breath. Be ready to kick or hold on to something in case you have too much weight.
3. You should be able to float with the water at eye level. If not, add or subtract weight until you do, you can just hold your weights while you figure this out, then adjust your weight system accordingly.
4. As a final check, exhale. You should begin to slowly descend if you're properly weighted.
5. If you are using a full cylinder, now add a small amount of weight (usually about 2lb) because your cylinder has pressurized air into it which is heavy. By adding this extra weight, you compensate for how light your cylinder will be when it is empty, at the end of a dive.
Most weight systems require very little in the way of maintenance aside from a rinse after use. Integrated weight systems may come with additional instructions from the manufacturer's guide so be sure to consult that in case any additional checks or maintenance is required.
Handle weights with care, dropping a weight system can not only break it but cause injury, watch out for your toes! Scuba units with integrated weight systems usually won't stand alone very well, even on solid flat ground so be sure you lay them down if leaving unattended.
Lead Block Weight
Pocket Weight Belt