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Buoyancy compensating devices – BCDs 

 

Selecting a suitably buoyancy compensating device or BCD can seem like a daunting prospect when you’re just starting out with diving.

 

Although there are lots of different designs and models to choose from, there are a few key things to remember when purchasing your first BCD.

 

If you’ve been diving for a while or have already done your research and know which BCD [insert link over keyword] you want, then just click here to see our full range.

 

Size and comfort

 

As with any piece of dive kit that you’re going to be wearing, you need to make sure that it fits well and is comfortable.

 

When considering BCD sizes, it is worth remembering that you need to take any drysuit or wetsuit you’ll be wearing underwater into account - drysuits in particular can add quite a bit of bulk to your frame. If in doubt, it’s better to get a slightly larger size that can be adjusted smaller rather than the other way around.

 

There are also several women’s models on the market which are specifically designed with the female shape in mind and can offer extra comfort through shorter back plates and less restrictive chest straps. While not essential for a woman, it is worth considering if you experience discomfort using other jackets.

 

Lift weight

 

One of the most important aspects of selecting a BCD is the weight it is capable of lifting. How much this needs to be will largely depend on your size and the type of kit you take diving.

 

For example, if you are intending to take up (or are already involved with) deeper or technical diving then you need to make sure that any BCD you purchase has sufficient lift to not only support you but also any additional stages that you might be carrying.

 

Another consideration, and a popular option among technical divers, is to buy a wing. For more information about wings, [insert link to wings landing page over keyword] click here.

 

Integrated weights

 

It is possible to buy buoyancy compensating devices with integrated weights. These usually take the form of quick-release weight pockets on either side of the jacket, providing the diver with additional stability, more even weight distribution and generally a more comfortable way of carrying lead.

 

Integrated weights are often popular among women because they remove the pressure on the hips often caused by weight belts.

 

Materials

 

As with all dive kit, BCDs are designed to be durable and take quite a bit of punishment. The vast majority are made from a combination of materials, including nylon, Cordura, polyurethane and polyester.

 

Most backplates on BCDs are made from sturdy plastic and some even feature padding around the backplate for added comfort.

 

Clips and straps

 

All BCDs feature a number of clips and fastenings to make sure that the cylinder and other equipment is securely attached to the diver. These vary from model to model but typically comprise either pinch or press clips on the shoulders and across the waist and chest, while some designs include a Velcro cummerbund.

 

All the straps on the BCD are fully adjustable to allow the diver to tailor it to their own size and requirements in terms of kit.

 

D-rings are also a feature commonly seen on BCDs, either attached to the ends of straps or to the sides of the jacket. These are designed to have multiple pieces of additional kit clipped to them and will be made of metal or strong plastic.

 

While metal D-rings are more durable, plastic ones are lighter, making them more suitable for BCDs designed with travel in mind.

 

Pockets

 

Large and easily accessible pockets are an important feature for many divers on BCDs, especially in the UK where divers are often required to carry additional pieces of equipment such as DSMBs, reels and torches.

 

How much space you need or want in your BCD pockets will depend on the type of diving you are planning to undertake and whether you will be diving in the UK or in warm, tropical waters.

 

They will either have a zip or Velcro fastening. While zips are more secure, they are also more difficult to undo underwater.

 

Inflator hoses and dump valves

 

The majority of buoyancy compensating devices will have at least two dump valves for releasing air.

 

As a standard design, one will be located on the right shoulder, while the other is located on the hip. They can be used by pulling on the toggle to release the air. Some models also allow air to be dumped by pulling on the inflator hose.

 

The inflator hose is most commonly found on the left shoulder although there are certain BCDs that utilise the Air Trim model, which means that the inflator hose is located lower down on the left hand side of the body with the buttons closer to the natural position of the left hand.

 

Where you prefer your inflator hose to be located is purely down to diver preference.

 

Some inflator hoses can also act as an alternate regulator. These provide a spare second stage regulator that can be used in place of an Octo. In the event of an out of air situation, the diver hands their primary regulator to their buddy and breathes through their own jacket.

 

Divers will still be able to inflate and deflate their BCD as normal even when breathing through the regulator on the inflator hose.

 

This design can be useful for people who travel frequently with their dive kit and are seeking to reduce its weight.

Aeris EX100 BCD
SRP £229.00 |  Save £30.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks Aluminium Backplate
SRP £95.00 |  Save £10.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks Black Ice
SRP £499.00 |  Save £100.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks One-Piece Harness
SRP £50.00 |  Save £5.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks Single Tank Adaptor
SRP £59.00 |  Save £6.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks SS Backplate
SRP £115.00 |  Save £20.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks SureLock Attachments
SRP £45.00 |  Save £4.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks SureLock Weight Pockets
SRP £85.00 |  Save £8.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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SRP £215.00 |  Save £46.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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SRP £25.00 |  Save £2.50
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks WTX Mesh Pocket
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Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks WTX Retractor Kit
SRP £18.00 |  Save £1.80
12 Month Warranty
Apeks WTX Small Cargo Pocket
SRP £20.00 |  Save £2.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Apeks WTX Thigh Pocket
SRP £30.00 |  Save £3.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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SRP £250.00 |  Save £51.00
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Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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Beaver Adjustable Stainless Cam Band
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Beaver BCD  Inflator
SRP £21.50 |  Save £1.95
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Beaver BCD Cam Band
SRP £11.25 |  Save £1.02
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Beaver BCD Corrugated Hose Assembly
SRP £18.25 |  Save £1.82
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Beaver BCD Inflation Hose
SRP £17.25 |  Save £1.57
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CLEARANCE Aqualung Black Diamond
SRP £499.00 |  Save £250.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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SRP £429.25 |  Save £230.25
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
CLEARANCE Aquatec Sunny BCD
SRP £199.00 |  Save £50.00
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CLEARANCE Aquatec Sunny BCD
SRP £199.00 |  Save £50.00
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CLEARANCE Sub Gear Black Pure BCD
SRP £229.00 |  Save £22.90
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Air Travel BCD
SRP £315.00 |  Save £31.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Air Travel Lady
SRP £315.00 |  Save £31.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
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SRP £249.95 |  Save £40.95
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Aquaride Elite BCD
SRP £296.00 |  Save £39.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Back Jac BCD
SRP £359.00 |  Save £70.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Back Jac BCD
SRP £357.00 |  Save £58.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Flex in the Sea BCD
SRP £254.95 |  Save £35.95
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi R1 BCD
SRP £265.00 |  Save £26.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi S2011 BCD
SRP £409.95 |  Save £40.95
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Start BCD
SRP £179.95 |  Save £20.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Start Pro BCD
SRP £205.95 |  Save £16.95
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Travelight BCD
SRP £315.00 |  Save £31.50
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Cressi Travelight Lady BCD
SRP £315.00 |  Save £31.50
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Custom Divers Hose Wrap Sleeve
SRP £14.00 |  Save £2.84
12 Month Warranty
Custom Divers Quick Fit Weight Pocket
SRP £22.00 |  Save £3.00
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Custom Divers TCW Wing & Harness
SRP £469.00 |  Save £14.90
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Custom Divers TDB Wing & Harness
SRP £459.00 |  Save £17.25
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Dive Rite Nomad JT Sidemount Rig
SRP £590.50 |  Save £80.59
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Frog Cyan BCD
SRP £225.00 |  Save £50.00
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Hollis SMS50 Sidemount System
SRP £479.99 |  Save £44.99
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Hollis SMS50 Sidemount System
SRP £479.99 |  Save £44.99
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
IST Alpha BCD
SRP £324.95 |  Save £25.00
12 Month Warranty
IST Artemis Ladies BCD
SRP £344.95 |  Save £34.49
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
IST Single Tank Adapter
SRP £28.50 |  Save £3.85
12 Month Warranty
IST Single Tank Adapter
SRP £28.50 |  Save £3.85
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Mares Dragon BCD
SRP £350.00 |  Save £53.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares F-Light BCD
SRP £255.00 |  Save £40.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Hybrid AT
SRP £485.00 |  Save £73.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Hybrid Man's BCD
SRP £420.00 |  Save £61.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Hybrid MRS+ She Dives
SRP £400.00 |  Save £41.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Hybrid Pro Tec BCD
SRP £485.00 |  Save £73.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Hybrid Pure BCD
SRP £290.00 |  Save £44.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Kaila BCD
SRP £350.00 |  Save £53.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Prestige AT BCD
SRP £380.00 |  Save £31.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Prestige MRS+ BCD
SRP £310.00 |  Save £47.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Mares Prime BCD
SRP £220.00 |  Save £33.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
NEW 2013 Scubapro X-Force BCD
SRP £459.00 |  Save £64.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Oceanic Hera BCD
SRP £440.29 |  Save £20.29
12 Month Warranty
Scubapro Balanced Power Inflator
SRP £79.00 |  Save £7.90
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro BC Accessory Kit
SRP £125.00 |  Save £12.50
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
SRP £399.00 |  Save £60.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro Equator BCD
SRP £315.00 |  Save £46.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro GO BCD
SRP £319.00 |  Save £32.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro Litehawk BCD
SRP £249.00 |  Save £25.01
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro Seahawk BCD
SRP £369.00 |  Save £40.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro X-Black BCD
SRP £539.00 |  Save £70.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro X-One BCD
SRP £259.00 |  Save £15.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro X-Tek Comfort System
SRP £569.00 |  Save £57.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Scubapro X-Tex Pure Tek System
SRP £549.00 |  Save £55.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Sub Gear Black Drake BCD
SRP £199.00 |  Save £19.90
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
Sub Gear Rebel Kids BCD
SRP £255.00 |  Save £25.50
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands
xDeep Ghost Deluxe Wing System
SRP £499.00 |  Save £40.00
Free postage on orders over £50 to mainland UK excluding Highlands and Islands