Scuba diving BCD (buoyancy control devices) are available in a number of different varieties, from simple back-mounted gear, such as the wing style BCDs, to more complex systems designed for high accuracy. The latter may include different types of technical diving systems. Whether used for recreational scuba diving or underwater photography, these devices may be some of the most essential safety and convenience measures for deep ocean divers.
Understanding the Buoyancy Compensator
A scuba diving BCD is generally designed to compensate for buoyancy and allow divers to avoid its effect when having to move on extremely accurate trajectories while underwater – or even stand completely still. BCDs work by using an inflatable bladder to establish neutral buoyancy underwater and positive buoyancy near the surface, when needed. These “hovering” devices will give you a virtual feeling of weightlessness while diving, making movement easier and reducing the amount of effort divers have to submit to. BCDs are often provided as part of entire systems or kits that control the water’s effect on your weight and buoyancy, while ensuring you can complete feats such as kneeling, sitting or even walking on the bottom of the sea with ease, or drifting comfortably to the surface after completing a dive.
Standard BCD Features and Types of Gear
There are a number of different BCD styles and designs of devices geared toward fitting any particular requirement that divers might seek to fulfill. Jacket-style diving BCDs are most popular for recreational divers, and there are BCD jackets specially designed for women. Back-mounted, “wing” BCDs and traveling buoyancy devices are made to be lighter and less difficult to manage, while there are also technical diving systems including harness systems that offer improved support and safety, as well as a higher level of accuracy when adjusting your movements. To make BCD systems more practical, a number of features are usually included as standard, such as adjustable straps, buckles and tank bands, expandable bladder and a low-pressure inflating mechanism.
Important Considerations for Buying Scuba Diving BCD Jackets
Aside from considering optional features like D-rings, integrated weight systems or an alternate inflator regulator, when choosing a BCD, it’s very important to know exactly what you will need. Consider a jacket that suits your wetsuit as conveniently as possible in terms of size, while offering accurate, fine-tuned control for adjusting the inflator and deflator mechanisms. Ensure that all standard features are included and also make sure to check to see if the inflator hose is compatible with your existing scuba diving gear. Once you find a few scuba diving BCD designs that offer all these benefits, narrow your choice down based on comfort provided, and you’re all set to go.