Posted by Ross-O on March 18, 2003 at 17:59:14:
In Reply to: Scuba Equipment posted by Albert on March 18, 2003 at 10:41:33:
Be sure to take a good look at a "backplate and wing" style BC. They aren't sold at many local dive shops so I didn't know about them when I purchased my vest style BC. Stop by ReefSeekers or Scuba Toys and have Ken or Jim explain the rig to you. I've made the switch and I'm MUCH happier with the performance. The main player in the BP&Wing field is Halcyon. Some other companies offer back inflation BC's that sort of behave like BP&wings like DiveRite and Zeagle.
Please see Jim or Ken since I'm not a dive professional. Here are some of my thoughs on the topic.
Vest style BC
(-) big and bulky feeling, not streamlined
(-) may not fit well if you're "in-between" sizes
(-) may contain chest straps that cause compression and increased breathing resistance
(-) center of bouyancy shifts all around making good trim hard to maintain
(-) hard to clean thoroughly
(-) does not upgrade to tech diving very well
(-) many integrated weights tend to self-ditch! Velcro, sand, water, and kelp don't really mix...
(-) pockets look cool in the store, however they don't work well in the water. I could never see them or reliably get stuff in and out of them.
(+) may float you more face-up if you're unconscious. If you're really concerned about this, consider a horse-collar BC :-)
(+) MUCH more streamlined
(+) floats you more horizontal, better trim
(+) much easier to clean
(+) migrates easily to doubles / tech stuff
(+) easily taylored to fit anyone EXACTLY
(-) tends to put you face down on surface if unconscious. See horse-collar comment above. This can be largely compensated for with proper weighting.
(-) a little more "stuff" to deal with versus vest w/ integrated weights. You'll now have a crotch strap, weight belt, etc. Don't laugh at the crotch strap until you've tried it. They're not uncomfortable and make your rig rock-solid on your body.
(-) a little more expensive than many vest style BCs. However, I think it'll last much longer.
Ask plenty of questions. Talk to people who DIVE A LOT instead of HANG OUT ON THE INTERNET all the time :-) Getting your initial equipment is a hefty investment and it's really painful to have to do it twice if you get the wrong stuff the first time.
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