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BCs / BCDs

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.


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