Neutral and horizontal with guided dive op rental gear

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Working toward Cenotes
Reaction score
Berkeley, CA
# of dives
100 - 199
As a dive operator, how would you equip guided rental clients if you wanted to support them having an easy horizontal orientation in the water? 
I mean them having a balanced weight distribution, in gear and weights you rented and guided them with, so that they can easily be horizontal when close to the bottom.

I don't care if it is jackets, back inflate or BP/W. My interest is what capability does the gear need to have and what do you need on hand for that to work. Some BC forms may make that easier or not. That is not the point.

To me, it seems the dive op needs:

- BCs with weight pockets low, mid and high. Like hip, back and shoulder. The high could also be attachable pockets the guides have in reserve, or bungee systems compatible with the BCs.
- A third of the lead in one and two pound increments for distribution mid or high.
- Guides able to assist with start-of-dive lead shifting when the on-land distribution was off.
- Divers who where trained that proper weighting includes distribution, not just amount. And who expect and assist in that.

(This discussion is not about:
- Arguing that proper weighting doesn't include weight distribution.
- Arguing that divers are not ready for this, though certainly most are not currently trained that way.
- Arguing they must always be horizontal. They don't. But near the bottom they need to be, or head down, to not kick it up.)

The question was prompted by the thread: Is horizontal position really better?. A natural evolution from that thread is how do dive ops support that, in a world where divers are trained for it. That most divers are not currently there is a separate matter. I think neutral and horizontal, near the bottom, is a basic scuba thing.

What do you think the dive op would need? Or what do such rental divers need from the dive op?
I would go 100% BPW, super easy to maintain, repairs are super easy, very adjustable. I would have weight pockets on the waist belt (one small on each side) and weight pockets on the top cam band, with dual cam bands.

If I personally was outfitting a shop, that would be my recommendation.
Assuming the shop is located in a popular recreational diving area.
Jacket 80%
BP/W 20%
Demand and supply.
It is not what you want, the deciding factor is the customer.
Use the BP/W for training purpose as well.
Out of my years instructing or guiding dives, I have never had a student or customer demand a jacket BCD.

I think you are conflating customer "wants/needs" with what the industry as a whole has made the norm. Customers are not DEMANDING jacket BCDs thats simply what is being pushed by the market.

But back to the original question that was posed by the OP. I would stand by my answer as the best solution for cost, flexibility, and maintenance. That is if I personally was buying something like 20 BCD kits for students/customers to use.
Rental gear in my experience has typically been jacket style and you wear a traditional weight belt… that eliminates the need for for trim weight versus front pocket weight versus easy to ditch

If I was renting gear I would want a jacket style all day long
Most of the divers you will be having in tourist areas suck at diving, by that I mean they don't care how nice they look on camera, giving them a BP/W will result in more trouble at the surface, higher consumption and a lot of time spent fiddling with the harness, unless you take adjustable ones in which case you will actually save money as you don't need 5 different sized jackets in your DC but people who want a BP/W will point at them and laugh.
And speaking from my experience after someone learned to stay trimmed out and neutral they can be trimmed out neutral in a any type of jacket, life vest or hoola hoop ring you give them, so a crappy rental jacket will do fine.
Rental gear in my experience has typically been jacket style and you wear a traditional weight belt… that eliminates the need for for trim weight versus front pocket weight versus easy to ditch

If I was renting gear I would want a jacket style all day long
I have came across only one shop that has BP/W as an option over last 20+ yrs in all the places that I had dived in SE Asia.
Jacket + weight belt.
It is almost like reading is no longer fundamental. Go back, re-read the original post by the the OP. The question posed is not "What does the current rental market look like or what is it YOU have seen?"

The question had some very basic parts

What would YOU do to achieve a certain GOAL.

PS - These answers can vary and do not have to be identical. You tell him what you would do with YOUR shop and why.
Horizontal is quite easy in any gear. Some important points:
1) the right amount of lead
2) donning: fit the waist belt / cummerbund correct over your waist prior thightening the shoulder straps (most important for beginners, I see this too often wrong)
3) the waist schould be thight, the shoulder cani be a bit loose (2 fingers space)
4) get the feeling for the horizontal position and by time it is the only comfortable position 😉
5) do the frogkick

I dove ay kind of bcd and even without one and stayer allways horizontal. No wing needed (but wings have other advantages and I prefer them, too.)

Best Regards,

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