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Buoyancy control, wing vs suit and an incident

Discussion in 'General Scuba Diving' started by splinter, Apr 14, 2018.

  1. splinter

    splinter Active Member

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    I had a minor incident at Stoney which got me thinking. Came out of the Stanegarth and started heading back to shore. I put a squirt of air in my wing and the inflator stuck on. No big deal, I noticed straight away because I could hear it and managed to disconnect the hose quickly. I only went up a couple of metres by going head down and finning down against the extra buoyancy and managed to get neutral again. My buddy didn't even notice it happen as it was over so quickly. He only spotted the disconnected inflator hose later at our stop.

    The reason it got me thinking was, after the incident I was using just my suit for buoyancy. I know a lot of people recommend using wing for buoyancy and just taking the squeeze off the suit and I agree completely, but does anybody practice just using the suit? I've got to be honest and admit I rarely do. I was trained to just use the suit (PADI) and dived that way for a couple of years but I've not practiced it for a long time. It went ok, a few wobbles on ascent, having a bit more air in the suit than I'm used to, but no dramas. It didn't feel particularly comfortable though, my trim was a bit hit and miss, more air in my boots than I like and getting the gas out on ascent isn't as quick as dumping from the wing.

    I think from now on I'll do the odd dive just using the suit so I'm more comfortable in case it happens again in less benign conditions. Anybody else do this?
     
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  2. nickb

    nickb Active Member

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    Since switching to CCR, I almost exclusively use my suit for buoyancy. There's very little swing in negative buoyancy with a rebreather as we use so little gas c/w a twinset. Maybe a kilo or so.

    As a dedicated wing-buoyancy guy on OC, it took me quite a while to realise it was pointless with CCR and also a waste of precious helium diluent.

    I think a lot of us have issues switching back to suit buoyancy, especially those that come from a DIR background. I know of at least one guy that was refused a helitrox ticket because he steadfastly refused to stop using his wing and was consequently shit at staying neutral 'cos there was too much going on.

    Think he's given up now.

    Having said all that, using a suit for buoyancy when you're 6-8 kg overweighted near the start of a dive on a twinset with stages is an absolute ballache. I'd sooner keep my kit maintained so that a stuck inflator is a non-issue ;)
     
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  3. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    I only dive my suit, except in cases where I have loads of stages so need some extra lift when I will add the minimum possible to a wing to stop suit over inflation. I genuinely find the suit much easier and better for trim...
     
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  4. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    I tend to use both BCD and drysuit for buoyancy.

    When it's cold I tend to use the drysuit more simply to get more insulating gas into the drysuit for warmth. More gas means more dumping from the suit when changing levels, hence I use it more when it's cold. I'll do course changes through the BCD, but fine adjustments are probably 50/50 BCD and drysuit.

    When it's warm and the drysuit insulation layers are thinner, I'll tend to control the drysuit for squeeze and use the BCD for all buoyancy control.

    I dive with the drysuit dump in the fully open position. The only time I'll change this is if dicking around (e.g. swimming on my back or side) or when particularly cold at deco depths, or on the surface.
     
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  5. Tewdric

    Tewdric Member

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    In recreational single 12 mode I use the suit for buoyancy mainly because that is what I am expected to teach. It works very well *if* the diver is properly weighted.

    With my twinset and wing I use the wing for buoyancy control because it works best as part of the more disciplined regime of accuracy and precision of buoyancy and trim that technical diving demands.

    Horses for courses?
     
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  6. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    In single tank diving I use my BC for buoyancy control. I feel the name offers a useful clue to function.

    In technical diving I use my suit for buoyancy to remove the squeeze and for dives in the recreational range that is sufficient. For deeper dives where I am carrying an annoying amount of bailout gas the wing is also needed at the bottom.

    Since finding better solutions I no longer consider a twinset a useful piece of kit as it is always heavy and means I start a dive seriously overweighted and end it overweighted. Consequently, much of the effort of the dive is focused on managing the failings of the equipment. I fail to understand why folk evangalise about this being an aspirational thing to adopt.
     
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  7. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Nice one Centurion!
     
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  8. Tel

    Tel Super Moderator
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    Yeah, don't have much choice TBH as it's done on every drysuit or entry level course
    several times a year :)
     
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  9. reefer

    reefer Member

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    Sounds like you had it well under control. I wonder if the low water temperature played a part in the inflator sticking?

    I'm going to give the stuck inflator routine (and remedy) a test in the pool this week. I think the last time I did it was on the open water and that was whilst kneeling.

    I was taught BC for buoyancy and Dry Suit just to take the squeeze off when I did my dry suit primer. Having said that, I don't think its a bad idea at all to have a practice at using just the dry suit.

    thanks for sharing this : )
     
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  10. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    PADI taught, I used the suit but was experimenting with the BCD as alternative. My recent Sports Diver instructor would brook no argument - the bcd for buoyancy (the clue was in the name!) and suit only to take off squeeze. He was also very keen on the shoulder dump to lose the air on descent - works fine if you aren't overweighted, otherwise it's "crash dive" time. :greedy:
     
  11. Tribal Chestnut

    Tribal Chestnut Well-Known Member
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    If using my twinset or a single then I use the wing for buoyancy, however I’ve dived a number of times this year with only a suit and no wing, so no option but to use the suit and it works well.
     
  12. puddle fish

    puddle fish Well-Known Member

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    I do both, I tend to use the BCD when not assisting on a course and suit when with students.
     

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