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Why is a Jacket BC better than a BP/W?

Discussion in 'Basic Scuba Discussions' started by Mikko Ilari Laakkonen, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Errol Kalayci

    Errol Kalayci Nassau Grouper

    A backplate and wing is more streamlined leaving a clean front with buoyancy along the back which wraps around the tank and promotes horizontal diving. Think of a boat, you do not want all the weight up top which is what happens with a jacket bcd with buoyancy under and to sides of diver with tank up top. Further, the long narrow tubes lend itself to smaller air pockets than big open bladder of jacket, thus wing more stable...hold a bottle of water with your fingers horizontally...easy to balance, take small drink and repeat still easy, take bigger drink and unstable like big air bladder of jacket. When you dive you want to be horizontal as much as possible to give you more drag and thus control during ascent/descent (as well as some other benefits) and as little drag as possible when moving forward or back (horizontal in the water) which also makes kicks more efficient and less damaging to environment. With back plate and wing, majority of weight is spread across divers back to counteract the lung buoyancy vs weight belt pulling lower body down while jacket tries to pull diver up while not horizontal in water. I have yet had anyone that tried a backplate and wing (properly fitted which takes less than 5 minutes) ever dive their jacket bcd again...they like it that much.
  2. DeepSeaExplorer

    DeepSeaExplorer Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Cave Country
    Really, the main advantage of the BP&W is the reduced drag, which is what you need for cave/tech where extra gear, swimming or currents (flow) may be involved. It's also just fun swimming around in that streamlined mode. But, if you're just doing an easy reef dive, there's really no compelling need.

    A cave diving buddy was shocked when I showed up in Bonaire with my Scubapro BC. He wanted to know where my wing was. I have separate BP&W rigs for cave and tech, since it's not practical to readjust the harness and still maintain good trim when switching back and forth. I also have an nice BP&W rig with an 18lb bat wing which is perfect for tropical diving. (If your counting, we're up to three complete BP&W setups now.) It's a fast swimming rig, but it doesn't have the reserve buoyancy that I need to help my wife as she was learning to dive. So, I showed up with the jacket because it was the right tool for the job. (I also had my DIN reg converted to yoke for same reason.) My wife (buddy) was wearing a BC so I only have to be able to keep up with her, which I can, even with all that extra drag. :cool2: At one point during our stay, my wife became uncomfortable on a night dive. We had to abort and once on the surface I took her weight belt and put it on me for the swim back. If I hadn't had that reserve, I would have had to drop her rented belt.

    If someone wants a marketing idea... Instead of a self-adjusting BC, make a BP&W setup that's accurately adjustable when switching configurations.

    Here's a trick question... would you allow a buddy to borrow your BP&W rig and readjust the straps?
  3. lmorin

    lmorin Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Hampshire
    Not a joke. That is one reason my wife likes her jacket BC---she likes the hug sensation, plus she can tell the amount of air in the BC just by the pressure of the "hug."

    I agree with the suggestion that the vast majority of divers who learn with a jacket BCD have zero wish to turn to something different. This is especially true if the BCD in question does not include weight pockets, does not include pockets or other amenities readily available on a standard jacket BCD.

    For what it is worth, I use a Seaquest Balance back inflate BCD and loved it from the moment I first tried it on. I like it despite the fact that my particular model has only one pocket, something I do not like. More recent models have two. I can't see the average diver buying any BCD knowing in advance that DIY modifications must be made.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2014
  4. daniel f aleman

    daniel f aleman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Austin, TX
    The single greatest advantage to a jacket is at the surface in open water, it behaves as a life vest. It will only take one time bobbing along for thirty minutes in choppy water in a Scubapro Classic to understand the advantage of that device over any other:

  5. BCSGratefulDiver

    BCSGratefulDiver Mental toss flycoon ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: On the Fun Side of Trump's Wall
    I usually tell them that. Sometimes, however, it puts the employee at odds with the policy of their company. I realize that's not your problem, but I generally prefer to avoid conflicts when I'm on vacation.

    In fact, since I travel with a BP/W, that's exactly what I do. And although it's fundamentally no different, you'd be surprised at how it can be perceived by someone who's never seen one. TSandM once had someone in Lembeh Straits set up her rig with the tank on the "inside" of the backplate. Kinda tough to don it like that ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)

    ---------- Post added August 21st, 2014 at 01:36 PM ----------

    I've heard that before, Danno ... but I've waited out long pickups several times in a BP/W ... sometimes in choppy conditions and for longer than 30 minutes ... and don't really see the problem. Like most things, it boils down to technique. Now, I will admit that long surface waits in my sidemount rig can get uncomfortable, but never really experienced it in a simple BP/W ... either with singles or doubles. I think like a lot of things, with sufficient experience you adapt your technique to achieve a degree of comfort that others may not be able to achieve as easily ...

    ... Bob (Grateful Diver)
  6. daniel f aleman

    daniel f aleman Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Austin, TX
    Hey Bob, I'm back in the USA for the start of college for the youngest daughter-- eh, they all grow up... 104 degrees here in drought afflicted Central Texas. Ack!!

    Now, you are a pro, you can pretty much use anything well and correctly. But, and you don't have to tell anyone publicly about this, try floating around in each unit (the Classic and a BP/W), and compare. Also, where did you learn sidemount, and what type of open water diving gets you to use it? In the Maya, we see a lot of gringos using that rig recreationally in the shallow cenotes; but not much use for exploration due to staging needs.
  7. Centrals

    Centrals Barangay Pasaway

    # of Dives:
    Location: Hong Kong
    I have no preference over jacket or BP/W, they are the same.
    As for the trim, I am not racing or in overhead environment or tec dive therefore it is not an issue. Horizontal position? I had never seen any video photographer or those with big SLR camera could manage that during the whole dive.
    I know which one I would prefer if the surface is rough and the boat is nowhere to be seen!!!

    ---------- Post added August 22nd, 2014 at 09:00 AM ----------

    No problem as long as he/she agreed to put it back to the original configuration afterwards.
    Can't say NO to a buddy.
  8. beaverdivers

    beaverdivers ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    Agreed! I have been on the surface in both the Galapagos & Socorro in rough conditions for a period of time. I was very glad to have my " Stab. Jacket "! You will find many very serious divers using it. But you may not hear from them here on Scubaboard because they are too busy diving.

    Question? When you are on a sinking boat, do they hand you a life vest or a metal plate with a wing?
  9. divad

    divad Solo Diver


    Oh, do you have any on sale, perchance?
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
  10. Lost down under

    Lost down under Nassau Grouper

    I've never seen this happen and I can't really wrap my head around the mechanics.

    Let's all be brutally honest, jackets sell better because you can make them look 'tacticool' and command more money for them as a result. It's hard selling a piece of metal, a tube and a strap. Far easier to sell the latest and greatest Scubapro jacket with all it's shiny bells and whistles.

    In the same way the 'big H' is over priced, because it's 'tacticool'.
    Wolfie_47 likes this.

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