Back in the early days of diving choosing dive gear was much easier...there just weren't that many options. Like choosing a BC; well... they were non-existant. Early divers simply strapped a tank to their back using a backplate and harness and off they went. It wasn't until 1970 that the first recreational Buoyancy Compensator was invented. Now the BCD is an integral part of your dive gear, but with all the different BCD'S on the market today, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out the right one for you!
BC's can generally be put into four different classifications. If you can figure out which type of BC you need/want, then it's just a matter of choosing what brand and extra features you are looking for within that BCD catagory.
THE FOUR TYPES OF BUOYANCY COMPENSATORS
Jacket Style BCD
- Good for divers who want to feel more secure in the water.
- Jacket BC’s generally have larger air bladders and can, therefore, hold the diver up higher out of the water at the surface.
- Air bladder wraps around the core of the diver’s body, therefore floating the diver in a more upright position at the surface of the water.
- Not as streamlined underwater water, but comfortable.
Back Inflation Style BCD
- Air bladder is only located at the rear of the BC on the back of the diver, providing more ease of movement and less clutter on their front side.
- Back Inflate BC’s are more streamline than Jacket style BC’s.
- Back Inflate will not hold the diver very high out of the water at the surface.
- Commonly used by more experienced divers.
- Becoming more popular amongst gear manufacturers, travel BC's are built with the traveling diver in mind.
- Generally much lighter in weight than "normal" BCD's.
- Smaller, more compact for easier packing.
- Smaller sized air bladder.
- Usually better for warm water diving where less weight will be used.
- With technical divers, less is usually better.
- Tech BC's have come a long way and can be found with more and more variety these days, crossing over into the recreational market.
- Usually have a heavier backplate made from either alluminum or stainless steel and a harness to hold the cylinder onto the diver.
- A large variety of tech BC's are out there to fit almost every need of every technical diver and can be built into mulitiple configurations.
- For the most experienced diver.
When searching for that "perfect" BCD, start with asking yourself what type of BC you want. What type of diving are you going to be doing most and how comfortable are you in the water? Once you figure this out and decide which type of BC to buy, you've won half the battle. We highly recommend that divers try on multiple BC's before making a purchase to get a good feel of the fit. We always have gear experts on hand here at Underseas Scuba Center to help you find the perfect gear at any time. Stop on in and find your perfect BCD today.