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The importance of proper weighting

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By Gemma Smith

So you have certified as a new diver and want to get in the water diving and practicing as soon as possible. You remember from your introductory scuba diving course all the main skills you learned. There is just so much fun stuff to work on and improve upon when diving! It’s all too easy in the enthusiasm of wanting to get UNDER the water to forget that a large part of what makes your life easier as a diver takes place BEFORE you even first start your descent.

Proper weighting is, without a doubt, one of the most important requirements for the competent diver. It, unfortunately, seems to be one of the most commonly overlooked though. I worked for a year in one of the busiest dive centres in the Caribbean. The problem that reared its ugly head, again and again, was novice, and sometimes even experienced divers, having problems because of incorrect weighting. If you are willing to take the time though it is actually one of the easier adjustments to make. Get it right and it will without question bring on your skills as a diver in leaps and bounds.

Why is weighting so important anyway?

Proper weighting really is the solid base on which we build safe diving skills. It allows us to fine tune and control our buoyancy. This means controlled descents. It means a smooth and well-positioned body position on the dive. It also allows a slow and steady ascent and safety stop at the end of the dive. Correct weight means less drag, better trim, and normally a reduction in gas consumption (SAC rate). Too much weight, on the other hand, has the risk of a fast descent. This may result in mask squeeze, ear barotrauma, or in going deeper than your planned maximum depth because of too speedy a descent.

It will also make buoyancy control much more difficult. An over-weighted diver needs to add more air to their BCD to try and get neutral, but this will only force them to make more buoyancy adjustments as the air expands and contracts with depth changes. Too little lead, on the other hand, has issues if you don’t actually have enough weight to safety ascend slowly and hold your stops. As Goldilocks said about the Three Bears’ porridge in the famous children’s story, weighting really needs to be ‘neither too much or too little, but just right’.

So where do I go from here?

The easiest way to check your weighting is to do a weight check at the beginning and end of your dive. It’s simple:

  • Once floating comfortably in the water at the start of your dive make sure your mask is on and your regulator is in your mouth. While in the vertical position take a breath in. No need for a large lungful of air, just a normal breath.
  • Hold your breath (while it is NEVER ok to do this underwater, for checks like this one on the surface it is safe).
  • Use your BCD inflator to dump all the air from your BCD. Make sure you keep hold of your inflator so if you start to sink unexpectedly quickly you can add more air and become positively buoyant again. For those divers wearing drysuits, fully open your exhaust dump, and vent your drysuit of air.
  • The general idea is that when properly weighted you will float at eye level at the surface while holding a normal breath.
  • Now breath fully out. You should sink past eye level and start to slowly descend on that exhalation. Although it is tempting, try and resist the urge to fin or scull with your hands. Doing this will not give you a real measure of whether or not the weight you have on is correct.
  • Return to the surface of the water and repeat the exercise with less weight. A properly weighted diver should just be able to get under the water when they exhale. Your descent should be in control and stable, not a plummet to the depths.
  • If you found you couldn’t descend comfortably add more weight in small increments. Keep adding until you can complete the weight check with ease.

Do a weight check at the beginning of the dive to make sure you can start the descent. Don’t forget though that your scuba cylinder will become more buoyant throughout your dive as you use the air. Perfectly weighted at the start will mean underweighted at the end, so adjust accordingly. The aim is to be able to hold your safety stop easily at the end of your dive, with little or no air in your BCD. Also, think about whether you are diving a steel or aluminium tank. While steel will have a slight change in weight when less full of air, the change in weight of an aluminium cylinder is more significant.

My weight is now perfect so I’m done, right?

Well, not exactly. To be weighted properly is a continual trial of experimentation and adjustments. Change exposure suits or what you are wearing, change the cylinder size or gear configuration, or change the environment? What you need in terms of weight will change. A thicker wetsuit or more thermals under a drysuit means you will need more weight in order to sink. Diving in fresh water for the first time when you normally dive in the sea will mean less weight. After all, seawater is denser than fresh.

Achieving proper weighting is an evolving process, and one that you will probably adapt and change many times over your dive life. More diving experience and becoming more relaxed as a diver may even result in a change of weight, as your SAC rate goes down over time. Like all the skills we have in our diving toolbox, just completing them once is not enough. Repetition and fine-tuning is needed to truly become capable and confident as divers. While a simple weight check may seem unnecessarily basic for the more experienced diver, it is part of the solid foundations we first learned as new divers. It is these entry-level skills that enable more advanced and complex additions to be competently added to our diving repertoire over time.


To find out more about International Training, visit www.tdisdi.com.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

Dive Training Blogs

PADI launches new job board to meet growing demand for PADI Professionals

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As pockets around the world are reopening, there is a growing demand for PADI® Professionals in many key markets worldwide. To support its membership, PADI has launched a full revamp of the PADI Job Board to help dive centres and resorts build winning teams and connect dive professionals with exciting job opportunities. The new platform makes it easier than ever to search, find and connect the world’s best dive professionals with scuba jobs available at PADI Dive Centres and Resorts around the globe.

“For the first time since the pandemic began, new postings of job opportunities for PADI Pros on the PADI Job Board are coming in faster than they are being filled,” says Kristin Valette Wirth, Chief Brand and Membership Officer of PADI Worldwide. “This is a great sign of the industry bouncing back strong in several parts of the globe. Incredible dream job opportunities around the world for PADI Pros will continue to increase as customers flood back, requiring dive operators and resorts to increase recruitment and hiring in order to keep up. With this in mind, we’ve prioritised updating the job board platform to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of connecting PADI Pros with PADI Resorts and Dive Centres to succeed.”

Accessible via the PADI Pros’ Site, the new job board offers a host of features to help PADI Dive Centres and Resorts manage job postings and candidates, and help PADI Professionals search and apply for jobs. The job board is also supported by in-app translations, so PADI Members can choose from more than 20 languages to view and post within the application.

The PADI Job Board has long served as one of the most visited pages on the Pros’ Site, with the launch of the new job board exceeding more than 31,000 unique views during the first two weeks of launch. Some of the new technologies and features aimed at further empowering PADI Pros, Resorts and Dive Centres are:

  • Manageability – PADI Retail and Resort members can more readily and flexibly post, edit, update and otherwise administer their job listings.
  • Resume posting – PADI Pros can post full resumes, making it easier for individual members and operators to find the best skillset matches that create winning teams.
  • Searchability – The job board is no longer simply a list. Pros and shops can search based on criteria without wading through irrelevant entries that don’t line up with what’s wanted or needed.
  • Direct connection – The job board allows direct connection so that operators can contact prospective hires for initial follow up.
  • Multilingual – Automated translation technology allows users to post and view listings in their language preference, reducing language barriers.
  • Notifications – Employers and candidates can enable notifications to be alerted of new applicants, job posts, invitations to apply for a job or interview, among others, so they never miss an opportunity.

“The PADI Job Board is a powerful gateway for employment opportunity throughout our membership infrastructure and provides the most global employment opportunities in the dive industry,” says Valette Wirth. “We expect the increase in job opportunities to continue to grow as travel rebounds. We will continue to prioritise supporting our PADI Members with the challenges they face during their recovery.”

For full access to the new job board, PADI Members can log in to the PADI Pros’ Site and click on the Job Board link on the dashboard.

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Dive Training Blogs

PADI Women’s Dive Day 2021 highlights important role inclusivity plays in creating balance between humanity and ocean

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PADI®, the world’s largest ocean exploration and diver organisation, is celebrating with divers from around the globe tomorrow for the seventh annual PADI Women’s Dive Day on Saturday, July 17.

With the overwhelming support of the dive community over the last six years, PADI Women’s Dive Day has grown into a worldwide celebration of shared adventure, passion and ocean advocacy. The annual event is dedicated to fostering a global community that encourages divers of all genders, ages, races, backgrounds and abilities to safely and confidently explore and protect the underwater world. Year after year, Women’s Dive Day activities have addressed ties between diversity, inclusion and environmentalism – with this year’s events scaled accordingly for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“PADI Women’s Dive Day is an opportunity for divers everywhere to unite as a community with the common goal of creating balance between humanity and ocean,” says Kristin Valette Wirth, Chief Brand and Membership Officer of PADI Worldwide. “PADI has a wonderfully diverse and inclusive community of members and divers in 186 countries around the world.  We celebrate this diversity, as it is embedded in the ethos of our organisation. We take pride in the progress we’ve made to increase diversity, accessibility, and inclusion in our sport and constantly challenge ourselves to do more.”

Since its inception in 2015, the event has contributed to the significant growth in the number of female divers and subsequently, PADI Torchbearers™ who have shared and inspired passion for ocean conservation. The dive community is teeming with female divers who are marking remarkable contributions for improved ocean health and connecting their communities to local waters. Throughout the month of July, PADI is spotlighting the stories and perspectives of incredible #PADIWOMEN around the world who are leading change by example and opening doors for countless others to experience the ocean firsthand, including Zandile Ndhlovu, a PADI Freediver Instructor™ from Johannesburg, South Africa, who founded the Black Mermaid Foundation to make the oceans more inclusive.

“Together as a global dive community we can save our oceans,” says Ndhlovu. “Once people get to experience the ocean, it changes everything around how they’ve always looked at it. It begins to also feel like home, a place that they will always protect. And that is why it is important that there is always diverse representation in the ocean.”

Other notable women include Xochitl Clare, a PADI AmbassaDiver™ and marine biologist from California, United States, researching the effects of climate change on fisheries species; Cody Unser, a PADI AmbassaDiver who is working  to introduce more people with disabilities to diving and promote the sport’s therapeutic benefits; and 13-year-old Julia Aveline Rabenjoro a PADI Junior Advanced Open Water Diver in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

“Learning to dive really transformed my life because it introduced me to a whole new intricate world that makes me feel at peace and it taught me how much we really depend on our ocean,” says Aveline Rabenjoro. “My greatest hope for the next generation of female divers is for them to grow in numbers and never doubt the difference they can make no matter where they come from or who they are. Together as a global diving community, we can further this by sharing our passion and love for diving with others who haven’t yet been lucky enough to explore beneath the surface.”

Divers and non-divers alike can connect with the motivating stories of PADI women and learn how they can join the community by visiting padi.com/women. They can find PADI Women’s Dive Day events in their area or participate virtually through social media conversations utilising the #PADIWOMEN hashtag.

Year-round, people worldwide can access PADI’s recently launched Conservation Activities Locator to find local events in their community. From joining an underwater lake cleanup in Connecticut to taking part in a week-long conservation workshop in Belize, ocean enthusiasts have a variety of experiences to choose from on Women’s Dive Day and beyond.

To learn more about how you can participate in PADI Women’s Dive Day, contact your local PADI Dive Center or Resort, or visit www.padi.com/women. For information about learning to dive, visit www.padi.com/education/learn-to-dive

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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue.  With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after. 

Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life.  The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.

£1475 per person based on double occupancy.  Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available.  Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp.  Flights and transfers are included.  See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.

This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place.  Come Dive with Us!

Call 020 3515 9955 or email john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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