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Lost Mares Integrate Weight Pouch

Discussion in 'General Scuba Diving' started by Alex Denny, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    Down at Plymouth for the weekend on In Deep’s shark-smile boat Seeker. It was the first time in a while I was diving a single + pony setup rather than twinset. (There were various reasons for this which aren’t very relevant here).

    My single cylinder BC is an oldish but generally very reliable and sturdy Mares vector chrome with integrated weights. As I was diving with a pony, I had pretty much all of my weights on one side, to counter the weight of the pony. Clearly, though, today, I didn’t clip it in properly, or I somehow dislodged it on entry.

    When descending the shot for our second dive of the day, a gentle bimble at Tinker’s shoal, at about 10m, my weights suddenly descended into the abyss...(okay, about 18m).

    I couldn’t, however, continue my descent without the weights, unless I pulled myself down the shot line, up current, and therefore away from where the weights were lost.

    I was diving as part of a three, and I managed to communicate the problem to my two buddies at the base of the shot, and with me just about able to stay down with all gas dumped from everything (I have some lovely squeeze bruises), we tried in vain to search for the weights in poor visibility. Sadly to no avail. I communicated to my buddies they were welcome to continue without me, and mamaged to launch an SMB while clinging on to the reef and made a safe ascent. (I couldn’t hold a 5m stop properly, but for an 8minute dive I doubt it will kill me!)

    Anyway, the whole situation reminded me why tec divers have shunned ditchable weights and taught me the importance of checking they’re properly secured if using integrated pouches. Replacing the lead and pouch has cost me about £60 which is annoying but hey ho.

    I hate littering the oceans though, so if you’re in the area, please keep an eye out for a flash of red plastic from the release clasp. There is 6kg of free lead in it for you!!
     
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  2. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Good that they dropped off at the beginning and not the end.
     
  3. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    Yes. And while descending so I had momentum on my side!
     
  4. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    And gas - as in the weight thereof.

    Every incident is a learning opportunity
     
  5. nickb

    nickb Active Member

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    I would regard it as an opportunity to stop using integrated weights
     
  6. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    Agreed, I have never liked integrated weights and have seen numerous examples littering the seabed, and quarries.
     
  7. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    I also completely agree! Silly things and even worse in the sea!
     
  8. AndyW

    AndyW Member

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    Really? Who told you this? I hear it repeated on the internet all the time. Doesn't hold true in my opinion. I see plenty of weight belts under harnesses. I even see people switching to aluminium backplates etc so that they can add a weight belt.

    The key is to be balanced. Able to hold a stop with no gas as well as being able to swim up full tanks. By all means, get rid of the shonky integrated system. However, I have never seen or heard of anyone losing a normal weight belt with a few kgs of lead on it from underneath a harness.
     
  9. JohnL

    JohnL Well-Known Member

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    I have a bcd and a weight harness, both with integrated weights - in the sea, I use both meaning that I have a maximum of 3kg in any pouch. I'm nervous about putting much more in either.
     
  10. Vanny

    Vanny Active Member

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    Conversely I've seen divers having issues losing weight belts , not many but enough that I don't wear one. Most of the people I dive with have no ditchable weight, it's integrated into their set.
     
  11. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Generally Tec divers will eschew ditchable weights because you have an overhead 'soft' ceiling during decompression and you'd get seriously injured if you shot to the surface uncontrollably.

    The antithesis is being able to ditch weight if you loose your buoyancy. Which is why one dives with two buoyancy devices (wing and drysuit) and carry one or more lift bags or large SMBs** to haul yourself up. You can also ditch your Kent Tooling reel, torch+battery, etc.
     
  12. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    Whenever I wear a weightbelt it's under my harness.

    It's interesting that weightbelts commonly come with a quick-release buckle and not a 'jamming' style buckle.
     
  13. snowman

    snowman Active Member

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    I've lost a number of Mares integrated weights - For that reason, my are now modded to have a lanyard that clips to my BCD.

    Now, if they fall out, they dangle and I can push them back in - No littering, no lost weights, but still easily ditchable.

    M
     
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  14. Alex Denny

    Alex Denny Active Member

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    Very sensible!
     
  15. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    if things are going badly and you wanted to dump your weight you might be surprised just how difficult it can be to locate and disconnect a clip or lanyard. That is the reason weight belts and weight release systems have easy ditch methods. The reality is your ditchable weight might be less ditchable than you believe.
     
  16. snowman

    snowman Active Member

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    It's not. :)

    I've found the Mares pockets have a nasty habit of releasing if pressed against hard objects (eg the door frame on a wreck).

    With just a pinch clip, my lanyards are at least as easy to release as many other integrated systems and probably moreso, as once out of the slot, they drop away from the body. In that respect, I'd argue it's a lot easier than finding a weight belt under a load of hoses, cumberbands and velcro.

    I've not had an emergency, thankfully, but I've practised, and know I could ditch them easily if need be. I also always make it clear to anyone I'm diving with how it works (as you would with any system, to be fair)

    M
     
  17. snowman

    snowman Active Member

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    ETA "As easily as anything else secure" should I say.

    Obviously in a stressful situation any system could be a lot more challenging.

    Of course, it's a trade off, but I'd rather have an extra clip to release than run the risk of losing weight easily.

    M
     
  18. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    Indeed. All solutions are a compromise between ease of use in a crisis and unexpected loss. If you are happy with your decisions then that is good.

    Having seen enough folk make an unplanned ascent after losing weight that experience never appealed to me so for most of my diving I have no ditchable weight. Thankfully, I have never been in a situation where ditchable weight was needed and I hope that situation remains.

    For the shallower stuff I use a weight belt and even that simple solution can become problematic if not done up tight enough and vertical trim is adopted. I recall the worrying moments as I recovered a weight belt from round the knees of my buddy, at the bottom of the shot line on HMS Audacious. My lead was mostly v-weights on my twinset so I had nothing to ditch whereas he has the prospects of an exciting ascent ahead of him. Similarly, there was an almost OOG diver I chased to the surface who went vertical and had fun with his weight belt. This has so many elements of interest I felt it worth sharing and it can be found in the BSAC reports (April 2012). I was going to quote the reference but it seems BSAC have 'improved' their website and the incident reports aren't currently available for download!
     
  19. Wibble

    Wibble Fish don't talk
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    What are the circumstances of needing to drop weight?

    There's a couple of underwater use cases I can think of where the BCD's broken or you've run out of gas. For the latter, you're much better off going for your buddy's backup. For loss of buoyancy, with the exception of a mid-water failure (e.g. the elephant's trunk has fallen off) most others will happen on the bottom where it is not time critical and you should use your buddy for a controlled ascent.

    Even for a catastrophic loss ob buoyancy mid-water you're much better off with your buddy doing a controlled ascent.

    The other reason for dropping weights is the old Rescue Diver scenario where you want to pin them to the surface after rescuing them.


    Of course there's one more reason to remove your weights; when climbing back onto a RIB.
     
  20. Dave Whitlow

    Dave Whitlow Well-Known Member

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    I found a local copy of the incident 2012 reports and it is 12/100 on page 40. It amazes me when I recall the efforts he went to in trying to become a casualty!
     

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