Choosing a BCD

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Choosing a BCD

What is a BCD?


A BCD is short for Bouyancy Control Device and is the jacket that you wear when scuba diving. This is a vital part of your diving equiment as it is what holds the tank to your back allowing you to receive air through your regulator. The BCD is connected to your tank via an inflator hose and this allows you to inflate and deflate the BCD to give you bouyancy. When diving, you are extremely heavy as you not only have the tank on your back but also have weights in your pockets or on a belt. If you were to hop in the water without any inflation, you would plumet to the ocean floor with all of the weight that is on you. The BCD can be filled with air to keep you afloat until you are ready to head underwater. When ready, you simply empty the BCD slowly via the inflator hose to begin descending down at a rate that is comfortable for you. 


When you are at the depth that you want to stay, you can inflate the BCD slightly with small amounts of air at a time to give you the perfect neutral bouyancy, meaning not sinking and not floating upwards. This is where you want to be and why you have a BCD when scuba diving. The Bouyancy Control Device has shoulder straps that are adjustable and a waist strap to keep it from moving around. All BCD's come in sizes and should fit nice and snug without too much room for twisting. 


Choosing a BCD that is right for you


When looking for a new BCD or getting your very first one can be confusing to some with regards to which style or brand should you get? There are quite a few options out there so we thought we would help you out with  little information about all the different aspects of a BCD to help you make a decision that you will be happy with.


Rear Inflation:   


Rear Inflation, back inflation or winged BCD’s are all the same style they are just called different things by different people. This style BCD inflates only on the back where the wing or donut is which eliminates any squeezing that you get when using a jacket style. They are very much like a backpack where you have more freedom of movement and are not confined. Many divers who get claustrophobic will prefer this style along with divers who are wearing a thick wetsuit to prevent any more compression. The Rear inflation style is great for any diver who wants to be more streamline. E.G wreck diving, Tech diving and travelling.


Pro's of Rear Inflation


Pro's -

  • Eliminates squeezing feeling
  • Freedom of movement
  • More streamline



Jacket Style Full Inflation:


The Jacket style is where the air is inflated behind and around the entire jacket which give you a snug and secure feeling. These are the most popular style for divers as well as dive schools and hire equipment due to the feeling of being contained within the jacket. They are also popular due to the pockets are generally larger than the rear inflation BCD’s as many divers like to keep bits and pieces in the pockets including safety sausage, torch, compass etc. The Jackets style give the best surface stability out of all the BCD styles.


Pro's of Full Inflation


Pro's -

  • Secure Snug Feeling
  • More Padding
  • Large Zip Pockets
  • Ultimate in Surface stability



Tech Gear:

Tech BCD’s generally comes in pieces so they can be designed specifically for each individual diver. The major parts will be the Back plate, Donut (bladder) and harness. There are added extras that you can add on for example padding, pockets, side mount accessories and more. The Tech harness mounting systems are extremely streamline, light weight and minimal, perfect for cave diving, wreck diving and travelling. If you are someone who wants to customise your gear, then Tech is the way to go.  


Pro's of Tech BCD's


Pro's -

  • Eliminates squeezing feeling
  • Freedom of movement
  • More streamline
  • Light Weight






Weight Integrated:


Most recreational BCD’s now a days have weight integration which are pockets that hold your weights to help you head underwater. They are secured in the BCD via some type of clip of Velcro depending on the brand. The old-style weight belts shift around, bruise your hips and you are constantly tightening them the deeper you go. With the weight integration systems there is none of that as they are securely in place. They are more comfortable to wear as you have padding between the weights and yourself. No matter the style or brand, all of the weight intergration pockets are a quick release and easy to use. One simply pull on each pocket handle and they will come out so you can head to the surface if in need. 


Zip Pockets:


Majority of BCD's come with zip pockets, some larger than others. These are the perfect place to keep you signal tube, torch, underwater slate or any other accessories that you may want to have on you whilst diving. The Jacket style BCD's generally have the largest pockets that have a heavy duty zip closure. The rear inflations BCD's can come with pockets however they are most likely to be smaller and some dont come with pockets at all.  The Tech BCD’S can be customised with adding small pockets on to the harness webbing.




All BCD's have D-rings, some with 2 some with up to 7. These are what you will use to attach any accessories to whilst diving when you do not want to keep them in your pocket. Perhaps your pockets are too small or maybe you want easy and quick access. When it comes to D-rings, they can be made from different materials including plastic, aluminium and a heavy duty Technopolymer. The metal ones are of course more durable and will not break or perish with life. The D-rings are generally placed on your sholuder straps but can also sit near the pocket zipper and below the pocket depending on which BCD you go for will determin where the D-rings are situated. A few accessories that could be clipped on will to your BCD include SMB, Reel, Torch or camera.





Some of the brands that we keep here at Dive Warehouse include Mares, Cressi, Oceanic, Aqualung and Tusa. We have recreational and tech gear instore and can special order any style in if what we have instore is not suitable. All of our friendly staff are here to help get you your perfect BCD.


Happy Diving!




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