To bring the accurate amount of weight with you on your dive, it requires practice. Having the accurate weight makes buoyancy easier. It also helps with air consumption and it means you haul less weight to and from the dive site. You have to look at the factors that affects you before you can determine your weighting requirements. Here are the factors that you should consider to determine how much weighting requirements you need:
You must balance the upward water force displacement with the downward force caused by your weight system. This is in order to achieve neutral buoyancy. When you place an object in water, it will displace some of the liquid. Displacement means that the water is being pushed aside. That object is actually taking up space that was previously occupied by the water. In diving, you have the unique capability to utilize your buoyancy compensation device to ensure that you weigh the same amount as the displaced water thus allowing to achieve the neutral buoyancy.
Archimedes’ Principle states that there is a buoyant force exerted on an object immerse in fluid. It controls how much weight you have to add to your system in order to reach the neutral state. Your bodies, wetsuit and your best scuba BCD are naturally buoyant. You require stable weight to overcome the initial positive force of buoyancy. You may need roughly 5 to 10 percent of your body weight in lead.
Exposure protection plays a large role in the weighting process as our suit is inherently buoyant. The thicker the suit, the more lead to enable you to sink. To test this out, you may try on your suit and hop in a pool and start holding a 2lb block of lead, add until you begin to sink. Make sure to bring your best scuba BCD with you into the pool to determine how much additional weight systems you really need.
water is another factore that can affect the weight you need to carry. Salt water is denser than fresh water which causes to weight things more per cubic foot. Meaning, the object placed in salt water will experience larger upward buoyant force than the same object placed in fresh water. The material of your tank can also affect the weight you need to carry. Aluminum tanks start out slightly negative at the beginning of a dive when they are full. If you are diving with aluminum tanks, you may want to add a couple of pounds to your kit to compensate for the additional buoyancy.You may use the additional weight a steel tank provides and then remove some of the weight systems on your belt.
The last but not the least factor that can affect your buoyancy is experience. As you begin to dive more, you will start to notice that you need less weight. Becoming more familiar with your gear and more comfortable underwater produces a more relaxed breathing cycle. You can also do a float test. The best way to ensure your weighting is at your safety stop. You should be able to maintain neutral buoyancy with little or no air in your BC.
Make sure to use your logbook in every dive to record the weight you used. Try to log every factor that affected your buoyancy on the dive such as what suit you used, water typed that you dived into, kind of tank you had. Getting your weight dialed in is a learning process and it will require some adjustment. Happy diving!
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