Weighting for Success: Nail Your Diving Weights with Ease

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When it comes to adjusting buoyancy underwater, two important things come to the rescue. One is the buoyancy compensator (BC) and the other is your lungs. 

However, an appropriate amount of weight is important to achieve comfortable neutral buoyancy.

Yet, it’s not just about getting the weight right; there’s more to consider.

The way you distribute the weight can impact your underwater comfort and horizontal trim helping your skill improvement. So, in this article, let’s think about the correct way to use weights!

Moreover, it’s crucial to be aware of incorrect practices as well. Take a moment to check if you’ve been making any mistakes in this regard!

The common rule is to have enough weight to be able to do your safety stop at 15′ (3m) with 500 PSI (30 Bar) in your Cylinder without going to the surface and to start your descent with all the air out of your BC and exhale your breath.

 Getting Ready with Weights:

Let’s start with preparing the weights.
Surprisingly, many people tend to forget about them.

Types of Weights

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Starting from the left:
2 lbs. (1kg) weight 
3 lbs. (1.5kg) weight 
4 lbs. (2kg) weight 

Although the 2 lbs. and 3 lbs. weights may look similar at first, they have different thicknesses.

Sometimes, you might come across other options, but typically, you’ll find only 2 lbs. (1kg) and 4 lbs. (2kg) weights available.

it’s essential to choose the appropriate weights to maintain a balanced load on both sides.!

For instance, if you need a total weight of 4 lbs. (2kg):

Use two 2 lbs. (1kg) weights.
For a total weight of 8 lbs. (4kg):
Use two 4 lbs. (2kg) weights.
If you only have 2 lbs. (1kg) and 4 lbs. (2kg) weights at your disposal:

Use one 2 lbs. (1kg) weight for 2 lbs. total.

Use two 2 lbs. weights for 4 lbs. total.

Use three 2 lbs. weights for 6 lbs. total.

Use two 4 lbs. weights for 8 lbs. total.

Use one 2 lbs. weight and two 4 lbs. weights for 10 lbs. (4.5kg) total.
Make these selections wisely to ensure your load is balanced and suits your needs perfectly!

How to Prepare the Weight Belt

When putting the weights onto the weight belt, the first thing to be mindful of is their orientation.

If you look closely, you’ll notice that the weights have a curved shape. When wearing the belt, make sure the concave or indented side is placed toward your body, as shown in the picture!

While you’re still getting the hang of it, place the weight belt’s buckle on the left side, and make sure the movable part faces down.

Now, pass the belt through the weight starting from the concave side, and then bring it back from the opposite side.

Great job!

As you can see in the picture, place the first weight right next to the buckle.

It’s interesting to note that many people unknowingly put the weight far from the buckle, which can make it unbalanced to put on. So, remember to double-check this detail!

For the second weight, leave a small gap to achieve a symmetrical look when you wear the belt.

From the opposite side, it should look like this.

As you get more comfortable, you’ll instinctively find the best position for each weight on the belt.

In the beginning, some may overestimate their waist size, but don’t worry! Often, your waist is slimmer than you think!!

Attaching the Belt:

Just like in the preparation, place the buckle on the left side and ensure the movable part of the buckle is at the bottom of the weight belt. Stand in front of it.

Squat down, pick up the weight belt, and position it on your back. Now, lean slightly forward.

This forward-leaning position is essential.

Many people struggle to put on the belt when trying to do it while standing upright. Yet, by leaning forward, the weight’s pressure will distribute across your body. It makes it easier to put on!

Once in position, thread the belt through the buckle and secure it.

Sometimes, people may not thread the belt properly. We invite you to check the picture and make sure you’re doing it right!

When you wear the weight belt, ensure that the weights are evenly balanced on the front side of your body. Please refer to the picture above.

Sometimes, you might come across people who wear a weight belt with equal weights on each side, right beside their body. But this is not the right way to do it.

Due to the tank’s weight, there is a tendency to get pulled backward underwater. To counterbalance this, it’s better to position the weights towards the front.

Additionally, if you have extra belt length, you may see some people handling it like this.

I get why you might think of trying this. But let me emphasize that it’s an incorrect way to wear the weights.

The most important aspect of using weights is the ability to quickly release them with your Right Hand in case of an emergency. This is a Global rule in scuba!

If the end of the weight belt is dangling, all you need to do is pull it, and the buckle will come off, allowing the weights to fall away on their own.

However, if you tangle them like in the picture, it’ll take more time and effort to sort it out.

The capability to remove weights quickly is critical.

It’s often referred to as the “Quick Release System”.

Sounds cool, isn’t it?

By the way, the same principle applies when placing weights in the BC (buoyancy compensator). When you purchase a BC, it’s desirable it has a Quick Release Weight System.

If you have dedicated weight pockets, you can pull and remove them in the blink of an eye.

If you toss the weights into a regular pocket, it becomes challenging to retrieve them promptly. This is not recommended.

Furthermore, there’s an increased likelihood of dropping the weights underwater by accident.

Thus, as a fundamental rule, avoid putting weights into the standard pockets of the BC, use a weight bel instead!

What to do next?:

Until now, we’ve looked at the standard way of preparing and wearing weights.

But there are times where a little ingenuity is required. Let’s explore some clever adjustments!

When you have only one weight

If you only need 2 lbs. (1kg) of weight, where should you attach the single weight?

The answer is near the buckle.

In a diving tour group, you might encounter a shortage of 2 lbs. weights due to many participants.

In such cases, those who need 4 lbs. (2kg) of weight might have to make do with one 4 lbs. weight. Even then, it’s best to place it near the buckle.

While attaching the weight, try positioning it at a slight angle, as shown in the picture. This way, you can maintain balance and keep the Quick Release System functional.

When you have an odd number of weights, such as 3 or more

Let’s say you need 6 lbs. of weight. In that case, it’s a good idea to use three 2 lbs. weights and attach them as shown in the picture.

When you need many weights

When you use a Dry suit, two-piece wetsuit, or an aluminum tank, you might need 13 lbs., 18 lbs., or even more weight. Sometimes it might even exceed 20 lbs.

If you arrange many weights in a line, they may end up reaching the backside.

To avoid this issue when you need a great amount of weight, you can solve it by attaching them as shown in the picture!

If possible, we would like to advise against putting more than 10 lbs. (5kg) of weight on the weight belt.

Doing so can strain your lower back and lead to back pain issues…

You might think it’s not a problem when you are young. Well, we can tell you that damage from a young age can catch up with you later! 

If you need more than 8-10 lbs. of weight, you can use alternatives to the weight belt. There are other equipment features available such as the BC’s weight pockets or a weight Harness (DUI)!

The weight harness is designed to hold specific weights and can adjust vertically to help with trim. This weight harness also helps men with no hips to precent the weight belt from sliding down to their ankles, a very uncomfortable experience.

Feel free to consult with a professional dive instructor or equipment expert to determine the ideal weight for the type of dive you plan.

In Conclusion:

If you find it challenging to maintain balance underwater, why not take a moment to reconsider how you wear your weights?

Making a simple adjustment can often solve the problem! It will improve your Buoyancy skills!

Thus, remember these essential points when wearing weights:

  • Keep them evenly balanced on both sides.
  • Position them on the front side of your body.
  • Ensure you can remove them with ease whenever needed.

Even though they might seem like minor details, paying attention to how you wear your weights can make a significant difference!

So, why not give it a try and pay a little extra attention to your weight-wearing technique?