What Are the Different Dive Belts & Weights?
Weight belts are the most common weighting system currently used for recreational diving. Scuba diving belts are normally made of tough nylon webbing and have a quick-release buckle that helps to drop the weight rapidly in case of emergency. The weights, used with a weight belt are usually simple rectangular lead blocks with slots for straps in them. The lead is used because of its high density and resistance to corrosion. Some weights are coated in plastic, for even better corrosion resistance. These weights are also considered to be less abrasive to wetsuits.
Some weight belts hold a number of pouches that can be filled with normal lead weights or soft weights - bags with small lead shots. This system enables the diver to add or remove weight more easily than with weights threaded onto the belt. Another benefit of using soft weights is that they conform to the diver’s body and are, therefore, more comfortable to carry.
Freedivers use weights primarily to counteract the buoyancy of a wetsuit. However, they are more likely to weight for neutral buoyancy at a specific depth, and thus must take into account the compression of the air in their lungs. Unlike scuba divers, freedivers rarely use nylon belts. A more popular choice is a rubber belt or, as it’s also called, a Marseillaise belt. These belts contract on the descent as the diving suit and lungs are compressed, keeping the belt tight throughout the dive
What Should You Consider When Buying a Diving Weight Belt?
There are several factors to consider when shopping for diving weights. In order to decide on the type of weight system that will best suit your needs, you need to think about the other gear you will be using it with. For example, if your BCD is weight integrated, you already have your weight system and only need to get the appropriate weight increments. If you dive in a dry suit, you may want both an integrated weight system and a weight belt. You will also need to think about the kinds of activities you plan to use the weights for. If you are primarily scuba diving, a more durable nylon belt may be a good option for you, but if you also do freediving, you may want to go for a rubber weight belt. Last but not least, you need to think about which type of weight system will be most comfortable for you to use. You should also make sure that the belt can safely carry the weight that you require.
What Do You Need for an Effective Diving Weight Belt?
Ultimately, it’s important to find a diving weight belt that you can comfortably use, regardless of the type of water that you’re diving in. Being comfortable with all your equipment puts you in a position to safely use each piece. Durability is another important factor, as you want a belt that you can rely on in all diving conditions for as many dives as possible.
How Do You Check if You are Properly Weighted?
A very crude way to calculate how much weight you need is to carry 1/10 of your body weight if you are wearing a 5mm wetsuit.
In order to refine those calculations, you will want to do a weight check. Begin at the surface of the water with all of your gear and a fully inflated BCD. Take a deep breath from your regulator and release the air from your BC. If you sink quickly below the surface, you have too much weight. If your head stays above water, you’re underweighted. If the water is at your eye level, you’re just right.