Proper Weighting Strategies

A properly weighted Scuba diver needs less weight and does not require as much lift; this diver experiences less drag, reducing the amount of energy they expend. Ultimately this diver will have more fun and create less environmental damage. Despite its importance, proper weighting remains a mystery to most divers. Proper adjustment (amount & placement) is probably the single most important component toward enabling divers to minimize their effort while maximizing the amount of fun they have on a given dive.

A Balanced System
A “balanced system” addresses 3 primary considerations: the amount of weight to carry, the quantity that should be detachable and where it should be located.

On one hand a diver should carry enough weight to be able to make their safety stop with little or no gas in the wing. Yet, the diver must not be over weighted; they should be able to swim from the bottom even with a failed wing. It is possible to estimate how much weight you need to carry by evaluating the total in water weight of your system. This can be complicated by the changing weight characteristics of different pieces of equipment. For example, thick wet suits will be very buoyant at the surface but much less so at depth; meanwhile, breathing cylinders will be more negative at the beginning of a dive and more positive as the gas inside is consumed. These variables must be considered while assessing how heavy one will be at the two extremes of the dive – at depth and near the surface. Divers should be prepared to remove some weight in order to ease their swim to the surface in an emergency. However, carrying a lot of weight on a belt can be problematic; releasing this weight may encourage an uncontrolled ascent. Systems such as Halcyon’s ACB weight pocket allow divers to release only part of their total weight as required for a safe ascent.

Another important weighting aspect relates to the diver’s cylinder. Many divers have been led to believe a wing style buoyancy compensator will float them face down while unconscious at the surface. In truth a diver’s position at the surface relates mostly to the buoyancy of their cylinder with light tanks tending to float divers face down and heavy tanks encouraging a “heads up” posture. It is for this reason that Halcyon invented the patented “Trim Weight” system, allowing the placement of additional weight on the cylinder and encouraging a “heads up” posture at the surface. Moreover, these systems reduce weight placed on the waist while encouraging horizontal position while under water. This position greatly enhances diver performance, reducing energy expenditure and improving gas consumption.

The core of the Halcyon BC System weighting strategy is based on the idea that simple and precise weighting options enhance the diving experience.

Sample Weighting Strategy

Consider a diver requiring 18 lb / 8 kg of ballast; this diver can distribute that weight as follows:
  • Stainless steel back plate (6 lb / 2.7 kg)
  • ACB 12 Weight System with 4 lb / 1.8 kg per pocket
  • Trim weights with 2 lb / 0.9 kg per pocket
By thoughtfully redistributing weight, divers will notice improved horizontal posture, leading to more efficient propulsion, lower gas consumption, increased bottom time, and greater enjoyment of the dive.

Using a Weight Belt with your Halcyon System
  • Weight belts are easily used with all Halcyon dive systems
  • Divers using large weight belts will experience a large shift in buoyancy when removed
  • When used the weight belt should be placed over the top of the crotch strap to remain detachable