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November 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 44, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Is This Diver Carrying too Much Weight?

from the November, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In response to our article in Undercurrent last month about divers often carrying too much weight, a Texas subscriber wrote this: "I am a 5'7" woman over age 65 and weigh 160 pounds. I dive warm water with a 1mm suit and use 14 pounds. So often I've been told that I'm over-weighted. When I dive with less, I really struggle at the 15-foot safety stop. I've completed over 250 dives and constantly read articles about buoyancy and weighting. I've come to the conclusion that I'm a cork and there's nothing to be done about it. Generalizations about what everyone should be doing are misleading."

We asked dive industry expert Bret Gilliam, who's no lightweight, for his thoughts. "I seriously doubt if this woman is overweighted given her gender, age, height and weight. Also, she doesn't comment on descent or any issues with exhalation and inhalation.

"I've always advised students and divers under my supervision to base their weight selection on buoyancy at 10 to 15 feet of seawater, and with 500 PSI remaining in their tank. This will result in being slightly overweighted during the main portion of the dive, but this is easily handled by the BC. Neutral buoyancy seems to be a complex issue to many, and today's instructors really don't spend as much time as they should assisting students in such skills. The last thing we want is a diver struggling to stay down for a safety or deco stop."

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