Choosing the Proper Amount of Weight

Divers who share this will always see more fish in their dives

    Diving requires balance.

    Balance (called ‘buoyancy‘ in scuba diving) should not only be horizontal, but also vertical.

    Vertical balance means ‘not to sink nor to float.

    To be able to make safe and enjoyable dives, you need to be ‘neutrally buoyant.

    I advise you to read Buoyancy Underwater: Tips for Perfect Buoyancy article to learn more about buoyancy underwater.

    One of the elements of buoyancy is the amount of weight scuba divers use.

    What is a Diving Weight?

    Usually made of lead, diving weights help a scuba diver ‘to be able to get under the water.

    All the equipment a diver uses makes him/her float (positively buoyant).

    Even the dive tanks/cylinders acts like a buoy at the last minutes of the dive. Because the pressured air in the tank will decrease.

    Wet-suits, buoyancy compensators and every other equipment… They will all try to pull you to the surface.

    To balance this, scuba divers use weights. You can read Weight Systems page for more information about the weight systems in scuba diving.

    Why to Choose Proper Amount of Weight

    The ideal amount of weight a scuba diver uses should not make a diver ‘crawl on the ocean floor.This will make the diver to use more air.

    That’s because diver will want to be neutrally buoyant and inflate his/her BCD with more air. In addition, diver will consume much more energy.

    Think about yourself walking with an extra 10 kg, right?

    Using more air means less bottom time.

    On the other hand,the ideal amount of weight a scuba diver uses should not make a diver ‘float like a balloon on the surface.’

    This will make the diver struggle to be able to descent and start to dive.

    Even if the scuba diver can succeed to descent, he/she will possibly ‘dodge’ to the surface when air in the tank is decreased.

    This will result in an unenjoyed dive. But beyond this, rapid ascend is not safe (read: Decompression: Sickness or Illness).

    How to Choose Proper Amount of Weight

    It is quiet simple.

    First, consult your instructor for the amount of weight you should choose and put on that amount of weight to your weight belt.

    Then wear your wet-suit/dry suit and put on all the diving gear you use. Fins, mask, scuba and everything…

    1. Get in to the water that your fins tips don’t touch the bottom.
    2. Wear your mask and regulator.
    3. Inhale slowly while deflating your BC
    4. Hold your breath for a couple of seconds
    • If you start to descent, you have more amount of weight than you need.
    • If the water level is on your eye-level, you have ideal amount of weight.
    • If the water level is on your -for example- shoulders, you have less amount of weight than you need.

    Some Examples

    Let’s take some examples for a better understanding.

    Case 1

    You put on 10 kilograms of weight.

    Applied all the steps I have mentioned above.

    With a fully deflated BC and normally holded breath, let’s assume that you start to descent.

    You should retry this test with 8 kilograms of weight.

    Case 2

    You put on 6 kilograms of weight.

    Applied all the steps I have mentioned above.

    With a fully deflated BC and normally holded breath, let’s assume that the water-level is at your shoulder-level.

    You should retry this test with 8 kilograms of weight.

    Conclusion

    Choosing the right amount of weight is very important, because it directly effects our buoyancy (balance).

    With the test explained in this article, you are going to be able to choose the ideal amount of weight and make safe and enjoyable dives. 

    Remember that every single change in your equipment and your own weight will effect the amount of weight you’ll choose.

    Wearing a shorty means to put on less weight. If you are using 10 kilograms of weight in winter, you should use something like 8 kilograms (find the exact amount buy applying the test) while wearing a shorty in summer.

    Using an aliminum tank requires you to use more weight because aliminum is a lighter metal than steel. If you are using 8 kilograms of weight with a steel tank, you should use something like 10 kilograms (find the exact amount buy applying the test) while using an aliminum tank.

    Do you have something to add?

    Divers who share this will always see more fish in their dives

      Speak Your Mind

      *