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April 2019    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 34, No. 4   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Sidemount Diving: Take that Weight off Your Back

from the April, 2019 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Don't you love those agonizingly long, uncomfortable rides by inflatable boats to the dive site? What about staggering about on a rolling deck, trying not to fall with a tank on your back? Or descending to the stern swim platform toting a tank? As for climbing the boat ladder after a dive with your tank on . . . well, there's a fix for all that.

Just as NASA's inventions for space exploration led to us having nonstick frying pans in our kitchens, we recreational divers reap the benefits of inventions for technical diving. Side-mounted tanks is one of those, and something older leisure divers should definitely consider.

Technical divers need to carry one gas for use on the deepest part of their dive, plus a different gas mix for getting there and back, and an oxygen-rich gas for decompressing. Because they can't carry all the tanks required on their backs, some industrious thinkers came up with side-slinging two of the tanks from D-rings of their technical diving wing-style BCs. Closed-circuit rebreather divers, who need to carry open-circuit bailout rigs, did something similar....

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