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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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June 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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No Side-Mount Tanks on Aggressors?

from the June, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

Side-Mount Tanks

Side-mounting tanks for sport diving is becoming popular. Just as a technical diver might side-mount his travel and deco gasses, the sport diver can sling a tank (or two) clipped to the D-rings of his BC so that it lies alongside instead of wearing it on his back. There are even BC rigs specially designed for side-mounting.

You need to be able to strap a clip to both the neck and the body of a tank, and these clip systems are available in dive stores and included with purpose-designed side-mount rigs. You might need a different-length hose for the regulator.

Favorite with cave divers, because they also have easy access to the tank valves when underwater, the side-mounted tank offers great comfort advantages. It means that instead of staggering around on a rolling deck with a heavy tank on your back, prior to getting in the water, you hitch it on at the last moment. Similarly, it makes skiff rides more comfortable because you only clip on the tank immediately before rolling in. This can appeal to many older divers or others who have difficulty maneuvering.

Some, who have never dived with two tanks, have even taken to side-mounting two tanks, one either side, if the dive demands it.

This side-mount option was chosen by Richard Mertz and his wife (Mount Pleasant, SC) when they joined the MV Turks & Caicos Aggressor in April of this year. They had some good things to say, such as the food being good and seeing sharks on every dive. They thought the reefs to be in less-than-good shape, visibility disappointing and the ratio of a single divemaster to 18 passengers, poor.

However, they were shocked to discover they were not allowed to use their side-mount rigs, even with a single tank, and were required to use Aggressor rental BCs and regulators. If they'd known beforehand, they said they would have taken their backplates and wing configurations.

Why the Aggressor captain would not allow them to use their side-mounted rigs is a mystery to us, just as it was to Mertz. In fact, she became more irritated when she discovered at the end of the trip that, according to the Aggressor website, single side-mounts were entirely permissible.

When this was pointed out to Captain Amanda, the couple were credited with their Nitrox fee in recompense.

If you want to use any equipment other than a standard back-mounted rig and BC on an Aggressor, best get it in writing before you go.

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