A diving weighted belt is something that all divers need to familiarize themselves with. They are ideal for helping to achieve the neutral buoyancy you need and at an affordable price when you compare to other pieces in your scuba gear.
When you come to buy dive weights you will see that there are a variety of different types and styles of lead dive weights on the market right now, which can be off-putting if you’re new to the whole thing. So we have made it simple for you and spent some serious time looking at what is the best out there for you. Here are the dive weights we have reviewed for you to make your choice easy.
We hope our guide has given you the information that you need to find the right products to suit your own setup, we understand that for many of you this might be the first time even looking at them.
So we wanted to give you additional advice by providing a buying guide with all the important information and considerations you need to make before buying as although individually they have a low price point, but you will need more than just the one so you really don’t want to get it wrong.
One of the biggest issues a lot of divers, even the extremely competent, have is being unable to accurately calculate the amount they need to go on their weight belt. Along with knowing the best way to distribute the weight properly and also the type they should be using. There are also issues revolving around adjusting the amount to match any changes to conditions or gear they are using.
Below we are going to discuss the main factors that come into play when you are working out how much ballast you require for a dive.
Your Body Weight – You need to know your own body weight and body mass index.
The water you are in – The general rule is that you will not need to use as much when in freshwater as you would in salt water which is approximately 10% of your body mass.
The equipment you are using – Buoyancy and ballast are directly related to the equipment you are using. This includes the style and thickness of the type of wetsuit you are using. As well as the type of cylinder you prefer.
Diving weights will help you get below the level of water required for scuba diving to obtain neutral buoyancy. The amount of weight required to enable you descend below the surface will depend on the following factors:
Why You Need Diving Weights
Diving weights are used to ensure that a diver has zero buoyancy. This is a critical aspect of diving, because if a diver does not have a zero, or neutral buoyancy, they will need to expend effort just to remain in place. This will cause a diver to tire more quickly and need to leave the water sooner than would otherwise be necessary.
Contrary to the perfectly normal fear of drowning, a human being does not sink in water. We are naturally lighter than water, and as long as we don’t fill our lungs with it, we will float in the water. Loading ourselves up with gear might seem to counteract that and cause us to sink, until you stop to remember than we have a tank full of air strapped to our backs. This causes us to be buoyant, which is where diving weights come in. Buoyancy is calculated by the weight versus the amount of water displaced. If you weigh less than the water you would move out of the way, you float. If you weigh less, you sink.
The diving weights are usually small lead weights that can be placed within a diving belt to add a little more weight to a diver. This is usually done little by little, until neutral buoyancy is achieved. Until that happens, a diver must constantly be swimming down in order to avoid floating back to the surface. Thankfully it doesn’t take a deep immersion to figure out whether or not a diver is at a neutral buoyancy, if they can sit a few feet below the surface without moving, and not rise or sink, then they are good to go.
The type of weight belt you choose will depend on your personal preference. Below are some of the common types of weight belts:
Lead Block Belts
These are the most inexpensive and common type of weight-belt for scuba use. They’re uncomfortable because they dig into the diver’s hips. They consist 2-3 inch nylon belt with a quick release buckle onto which lead weights may be coated or uncoated of varying weights that range from 2-15 pounds.
These are systems built into your BCD to eliminate the need to carry a separate belt. They’re more comfortable than weight belts but make your scuba BCD unit heavier making it difficult to move around before and after the dive.
It’s easy to add and subtract weights from this weight belt in order to adjust buoyancy after every dive. They’re also comfortable as the weights don’t dig into the diver’s hips. They comprise of a regular nylon belt with pockets running along the length of the belt.
Hard weights are used by dive instructors to anchor equipment down. Also, divers completing marine or coral surveys weigh underwater survey equipment when swells are changeable.
Salt or Fresh Water
Fresh water has a low density while the density of salt water is high making you more buoyant. To reach neutral buoyancy in salt water, you’ll need more weights.
You’ll need more weights if your wetsuit is thicker because the neoprene material from which a wetsuit is made contains millions of air bubbles that make it buoyant.
There are many types of weights; ones that are integrated into your scuba BCD and those that rest on a weight belt around your waist.
Hard or Soft
There are both hard and soft weights; hard weights are uncomfortable because they don’t conform to the body causing them to dig in and easily gets damaged when dropped on a hard surface.
Soft weights are flexible and conform to your body shape. Unlike hard weights, they aren’t damaged when dropped.
Frequently Asked Questions
Well, there you have it. You now know a lot more about weight belts and weights and why you should invest in them. We hope you are now on your way to go and purchase yours. Below we have answered some of the questions that we are asked the most to help you further.
How many dive weights do I need?
Although the number of diving weights you need may vary, a good rule of thumb to go by is you will need 10 percent of your body weight. So when purchasing, buy a variety of sizes so a combination can be found to achieve this. However, if you are in freshwater this will be slightly less.
How much do dive weights weigh?
Normally dive weights would weigh from 1lb to 10lbs, and by using different combinations of this ballast you can achieve neutral buoyancy.
How heavy should my weight belt be for diving?
Before you know how heavy your weight belt should be for diving you will need to do a buoyancy test. Put simply, when you are on the surface of the water in your full scuba gear setup the water should be at approximately eye level on your mask when you have reached neutral buoyancy. Wearing a snorkel will make this easier for you to achieve.
A scuba divers weight belt will also conform to your body shape and enable you add or remove weight easily. Remember different underwater environments can affect your buoyancy. Thus, being knowledgeable about how and when to make the necessary adjustments is a crucial skill you need to cultivate. After reviewing some of the best dive weights on the market our chose was the Sea Pearls Soft Mesh Weights .