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Buoyancy Control Device (BCD) for Scuba Divers: If you don't have the right one you can spend your dives constantly fighting your BCD. You want to float and it's dragging you down, you want to dive and it's keeping you up. For the most part, this is fixed by actually knowing how to use your BCD properly. But choosing the right BCD for your diving, needs and diving ability, make learning how to use it a lot easier.

Types of Scuba Diving BCD

There five basic types of Scuba Buoyancy Compensators.

  • Vest or Jacket
  • Rear or Back
  • Wing
  • Sidemount
  • Horse Collar

Only the first four of these are really used in scuba diving today.

We prefer back/rear inflation and wing style BCDs. Experienced divers have learned the rear inflation bladder BCDs are better than a wrap-around bladder jacket/vest BCDs. Rear wings offer very precise control of buoyancy and trim as well as offering a more streamlined profile. A properly fitting back/rear inflation BCD, worn with a crotch strap, will allow you to assume and hold any position under the water, or on the surface.

BCD Features

Buoyancy compensators can have a ton of features, or very few. Options are almost limitless.

The more features it has usually the more expensive it is. But what do you need, and what is just fluff is what you have to think about.

Maintenance And Care

Scuba BCDs are expensive. Practicing good post-dive care and general maintenance will give your equipment a long life and save you from having to spend money on a new one.

Putting It All Together

There is a lot to consider before buying a BCD.

On the surface a scuba BCD should fit like a snug jacket. Not too tight under the arms, or across the torso. Women should choose a model designed for them.

But like everything else when it comes to diving, it's about more than just fit and style

You need to consider what type of diving you are doing, and what gear you'll need to carry with you to do it. A BCD is not just an airbag. A good one is like Batman's utility belt.

Consider what features are essential to you, and find the one that most closely fits that profile.

Start reading reviews and manufacturers materials, read forums and ask other divers for their opinions. Or just call and ask us.

Be honest with yourself about the type of diving you'll be doing. Make a checklist of everything you need in a scuba BCD,do your homework, and you should end up with the right scuba BCD for you.

For more information about BCD features please read our advice on choosing the right BCD for you in our Trusted Advice section.



BCD Servicing

BCD Servicing from The Scuba Doctor

Don't forget to have your BCD serviced this year. The Buoyancy Compensator Device (BCD) is one of the most expensive items of required scuba gear, after the regulator, as well as one of the most important. Most divers are well aware that a scuba regulator requires routine post-dive care and yearly service, but did you know that the same also applies to your BCD? The Scuba Doctor can give your BCD the service overhaul it needs to keep it functioning properly and looking its best.

All major brands of BCDs are serviced by fully qualified technicians including: Apeks, AP Diving, Apollo, Apeks, Aqualung, Beuchat, Boss, Cressi, Dacor, Dive Rite, Dolphin Tech, Genesis, Halcyon, HOG, Hollis, IST, Mares, Mirage, Oceanic, OMS, Poseidon, Sea Hornet, Scubapro, Seac Sub, SeaQuest, Sherwood, Tusa, Zeagle etc. plus many more are all catered for.

Please remember that an integrated extra second stage (i.e. inflator octopus) is really part of your air delivery system and should be serviced accordingly.

Professionally Trained and Experienced Scuba Technicians

Our scuba technicians are fully trained and manufacturer approved, with many years of experience behind them. This high level of training and experience ensures you the highest of standards of BCD servicing and reliability. An ongoing dialogue and interaction with the manufacturers also guarantees we only ever use the most up to date procedures.

At The Scuba Doctor, we will only do a BCD overhaul one way — the right way — and pride ourselves on not taking any short cuts.

Here at The Scuba Doctor the service technicians we use are fully authorised and approved for all of the scuba equipment servicing we offer, and as such we only ever use official manufacturer supplied parts and test procedures.

BCD Service Steps

During a BCD overhaul by The Scuba Doctor, your unit is taken apart into its component parts. All the appropriate parts are then cleaned, de-greased and de-scaled ultrasonically. Each part is fully inspected for defects and wear indications that may cause problems for you later on. Bladders and inflator hoses are checked for leaks and repaired or replaced as required. O-rings are automatically changed even if they don't show deterioration.

Once the strip and clean phase is complete all equipment is laid out ready to be re-assembled. During the assembly phase metal threads and O-rings are lubricated and special tools are used to reinsert the tiny pieces. Coaxing O-rings into place requires patience and a steady hand.

Your scuba technician will check all moving parts on your BCD and verify that its air-holding capacity is not compromised. When the BCD overhaul is finished, your BCD will be like new.

Why Annual BCD Servicing?

Together with most dive manufacturers, The Scuba Doctor recommends that you have your BCD overhauled every year or every 40 dives, whichever comes first. It cannot be assumed that a BCD is in good working order on the basis that it has received little use since it was last serviced. Remember that prolonged or improper storage can still result in internal corrosion and/or deterioration of your BCD.

Chlorinated swimming pool water is an especially damaging environment for scuba equipment, due to the high levels of chlorine and pH balancing chemicals which cause certain components to rapidly deteriorate. Similarly, the water found at many Australian cave diving sites is also damaging to scuba gear.

Plan Ahead and Miss the Mad Rush

If you want The Scuba Doctor to service your BCD, please plan ahead. Many people only think about having their annual BCD overhaul done a few days before they want to go scuba diving. Thus we tend to get most overhauls in the peak of Summer as people decide to go diving. A better time would be in Autumn, just before that great Winter dive vacation, or in Spring as you start to think about the local dive season. This is also a good time to get your Regulator Overhauled, Scuba Cylinder Tested, or your Dive Computer Battery Changed. Then your gear is ready to go when you want to use it. Please keep this in mind as you make plans.

If you need some advice or information on BCD or other scuba equipment service and repairs, please feel free to Contact Us. We'll be glad to help.

BCD Maintenance Tips

To ensure that your BCD performs well between overhauls, please read and follow our Buoyancy Compensator Care Guide.


Need a new BCD? Take a look at the new BCs and BCDs we have available in our dive shop.

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