Diving vest / BCD
The diving vest (or hydrostatic vest) is an essential part of the diving equipment . This vest is called in English ‘Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)’ or ‘Stab Jacket’. The diving bottle and the regulator are placed in the diving vest. An important function of the vest is the control buoyancy (trim) . Gas from the diving bottle can be added to the vest to maintain its buoyancy at the correct depth. Always test the lift capacity before buying a vest.
A diving vest is made of nylon. Often different thicknesses of nylon are used in the vest to stabilize certain points of the vest. The term “Denier” is used to indicate the thickness / force. Some of the vests have a metal or plastic back plate.
Also read the article about buying a diving vest!
The components of a diving vest
A diving vest is used as a real jacket. The vest is held in place by two shoulder straps, a strap around the waist and usually a band or closure on the chest. The diving bottle and regulator can be attached to the back with an adjustable band. Most vests also have pockets (with or without zipper) to store things or put lead. There are also the so-called ‘D’ rings to hang things. Also the dive console with indicators and the dive compass can be attached to the vest.
Let add or release air in the vest through so-called inflator. The inflator consists of a hose that is connected to the diving bottle (in the first stage) and a hose that is connected to the vest. It also has a button (usually red) to add air into the air chamber, a button (usually gray or black) to release the air. Modern diving vests have a ventilation hole built into the inflator.
The vest also has overpressure valves to ensure that the vest does not fill with too much air until it breaks. The valves ensure that the pressure in the vest is not too high. They also have a cord to deflate the vest at one time in case of emergency.
The different types of diving vests
There are different types of diving vests for sale. A distinction is made between the vests that the air chamber has and the outer layer of nylon in an individual unit ( single bladder / a bladder ), which are used many for sports diving and the vests that the air chamber has as a separate bag ( double bladder / double bladder ).
The vests are also different because of the placement of the air chambers. The air chambers can be located on the back side ( wing model ) and / or on the side parts. The most common vest is the one with the air chambers on the back and side, which are the most practical for most divers. The wing model gains more and more in popularity having a great freedom of movement. The wing model is very suitable for diving with two bottles.
Another difference is if lead can be integrated into the vest (filling the pockets with lead (bags). The advantage of an integrated vest with lead from a ballast belt is that the weight is better distributed by the body. Therefore the vest it stays better in place and is more comfortable, however, the purpose and purpose of your dive may make it necessary to use a ballast belt.
The most expensive diving vests have integrated systems, for example, octopus or inflator hoses are missing. The great advantage of these integrated fixed inflators is that they are always in the same place. Today there are special vests for women and for vacations. These are better adapted to the shape and weight.