The most common problem for new divers is understanding how much weight they actually need. Several factors are involved in determining how much lead will have to be worn into the water.
Are you diving in salt water or fresh water?
-You will be more buoyant in salt water than fresh because salt water is denser. The addition of salt to fresh water increases the density by 2.5%. This means that salt water weighs 2.5% more than an equivalent volume of fresh water.
What type of wetsuit are you wearing?
-Neoprene is a synthetic material that was invented by Dupont in 1930. In diving applications, neoprene provides insulation from the cold because the material is "foamed" with nitrogen gas. The gas pockets cause the material to become very buoyant, so a diver must compensate by wearing weights. The thicker the neoprene, the more weight that is needed to offset its
positive buoyancy. A diver wearing a 7mm wetsuit with boots, hood and gloves will need a lot more weight than a diver in a 2mm shorty wetsuit.
A more current style of weight belt!
What are my choices?
There are several new options for weight systems available. Of course, the most important feature of a system is that it can be released with ease in an emergency. The standard weight belt with a right hand release is still common. Many manufacturers make weight integrated BC's with quick release pockets to make divers more comfortable.
Most divers rely on information obtained in certification courses. A detailed logbook will remind you how much weight was needed in both the pool and ocean training.
The PADI Peak Performance Buoyancy course is a great continuing education course. This course teaches you how to determine the exact amount of weight needed to be "not too heavy and not to light." Proper weighting allows you to move smoothly through the water, hover vertically or horizontally and conserve air.
For information on Advanced Openwater and Peak Performance courses, contact us at: email@example.com