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View Full Version : Why do I need 15 lbs for warm water diving?



CamaroChick
06-17-2008, 12:01
I just came back from Roatan and got to do some dives in my brand new gear. Everything was good except one thing - I had to wear between 14 and 16 pounds of lead! I'm 5'7" about 130 lbs (skinny-ish build) and I have a 5mm long sleeve shorty because I get cold in 80 degree water. On past diving trips with similar gear and wetsuit, I've normally worn 8 - 10 lbs. I asked the DMs why it was taking so much lead for me to sink, and they thought it might be because the gear was new and very dry. But after 6 dives, I had to add 1 or 2 pounds!

Any thoughts on what might be wrong? I think my wetsuit may be too big - seems to be a lot of extra neoprene in places. I can't be a happy diver carrying around that much weight! I will say that my new Zena BC was still very comfy even with that much weight.

mselizann
06-17-2008, 12:17
Don't forget that brand new suits are not compressed at all...
for a 5mm long sleeved shorty- brand new- that sounds about right

brandon
06-17-2008, 12:25
Several ideas for you:

New 5mm suit? That could be a factor, especially if it's a bit large - could be trapping an air bubble somewhere or just the neoprene bubbles haven't been fully squeezed out yet.

If Roatan's water has higher salinity than your normal warm water destinations, that could affect your weighting by small amounts, but not by 6-8 pounds.

If your profile is accurate, the number of dives you have may be influencing your weighting as well. I've found I've dropped about 6 pounds in my warm water gear, and 14 in my drysuit since getting more comfortable with diving and my gear config. This would be the most likely explanation.

Could also be a buoyancy control / deflation technique issue. If you're trying to descend head down while lifting your shoulder mounted deflater up... you're trapping air up by your butt. Problem is often made worse by trying to kick your way down. You'll typically dump the most air out of your BC when your shoulders are above your hips. I tend to start my dives by dumping most of the air from my BC while still vertical, then move to a horizontal position once I'm about 3' underwater.

Hope that helps!

-Brandon.

Defman
06-17-2008, 12:52
Just going by the 0-24 dives stat... have your past dives been in salt water? Lots of factors there, different tank material/sizes, different gear couple make a difference, etc.. Odd that it's almost twice as much, but....

CompuDude
06-17-2008, 13:34
I suspect an issue venting your BC fully, or as others mentioned, trapping air pockets in your new wetsuit. That does seem like a lot of weight, although it's hard to diagnose this order the internet. Can you try it in a pool? There is a difference between fresh and salt water (you'll need more for salt), but it should still give you some idea. Be sure to check with a nearly-empty Al.80 tank to simulate end of dive conditions.

donnajsd
06-17-2008, 14:16
i get cold easily, but wear a 3mm full suit and sometimes a tropical beanie.....keeps you from losing warmth from your head. and that works great for me. then you could ditch the 5mm and some lead i bet.

CamaroChick
06-18-2008, 08:36
Thanks for the advice guys! My past dives (I'm up to 24 now) have all been in salt water - Caribbean (St. Vincent, Turks, and BVIs). I was doing feet first descents, and there was definately no air in my BC. When I tested the gear in the pool, I was wearing 10 lbs but probably only needed about 8.

There was a strong surface current on most of the dives, so maybe I was kicking more than I realized. I'm going to see about exchanging that wetsuit for a smaller size...

LRDWILDER
06-18-2008, 09:48
I tend to agree that it most likely is the new suit and size of the suit it sounds like if you changed that out it may help...I would do a little pool work with it and see what happens......When I was in Utila three months ago it 14 for me to get down....then again I'm 6'2" 175# and was wearing a full 3mm....Each persons bouyancy is different and changes as we dive more.....It also took 40# for me to get down in my new dry suit the first time so no judgement here!

thesmoothdome
06-18-2008, 10:10
Just a couple of thoughts:

Anxiety? Is it possible that you were even subconsciously anxious and holding air in your lungs while trying to decend? Then, as each dive revealed the need for more weight than you expected, frustration kicks in and you're not realizing that you're holding air in your lungs.

Salinity of the water? I have no idea what the salt content is in the various places you dove, but salinity would drive bouyancy.

As others have mentioned, yes, new neoprene will be more bouyant, but it sounds like there were a combination of factors at work here.

mselizann
06-18-2008, 12:27
Good luck to you-
8-10 in the pool, add 5 for saltwater, should be 13-15 to start with
Did you get cold at all with your suit being too big?

CamaroChick
06-18-2008, 12:40
Good luck to you-
8-10 in the pool, add 5 for saltwater, should be 13-15 to start with
Did you get cold at all with your suit being too big?

Yeah, I was chilly on some of the longer dives, after 40 minutes or so. I tried wearing my long sleeve rash guard under the suit on the deeper dives, and that helped a little. Guess I'm just cold blooded :smiley2:

Doug B
06-21-2008, 21:25
Good luck to you-
8-10 in the pool, add 5 for saltwater, should be 13-15 to start with
Did you get cold at all with your suit being too big?


I agree. I wear 6 to 8 in the pool, and with the same gear, need 12 to 14 in salt water.

mselizann
06-22-2008, 09:08
Good luck to you-
8-10 in the pool, add 5 for saltwater, should be 13-15 to start with
Did you get cold at all with your suit being too big?

Yeah, I was chilly on some of the longer dives, after 40 minutes or so. I tried wearing my long sleeve rash guard under the suit on the deeper dives, and that helped a little. Guess I'm just cold blooded :smiley2:


well, good luck and I hope you fins a combo that works well for you. I get cold too....40 min is pretty long if you're a bit cold

cutter77
06-22-2008, 23:34
I have a long sleeve shorty and a Zena too. Open the front of the wetsuit up and get it good and wet (better yet soak it before the dive and crawl into it wet if you can handle it). Be sure and drop your right shoulder to dump air well so it doesn't stay centered up in the middle. After I got a bunch of dives on my wetsuit it loss some of it's buoyancy.

Grin
06-23-2008, 07:44
Get steel(instead of Aluminum) tanks and drop 5lbs. Get a Stainless steel Backplate and wing and drop anohter 5-6 lbs. Now your down to 5-7 lbs. If your comfortable with no weight belt at all you can bolt weight plates on your BP/wing and have zero weight.

Unrelated to the weight discussion but:
Now figure out how much flotation you really need. With a 3 mm suit you could probably get away with a 20lb wing. When you move up to your 5 mil suit a 25 lb wing will work.
I dive with no weight with my 3 mil suit. And 5 lbs of lead on my BP Wings belt when using my 5 mil suit. I use a 26lb lift wing year round.
I used to use a 44 lb lift wing on a Zeagle Ranger with tons of lead. What a difference it made to make the change.
Steel tanks cost a fortune but BP Wings cost the same as a decent BC. I could never go back to a BC. I do still have a bunch of old AL 80s I dive occassionally. Simply add 5-6 lbs of lead when going to a AL 80.

mselizann
06-23-2008, 07:56
Get steel(instead of Aluminum) tanks and drop 5lbs. Get a Stainless steel Backplate and wing and drop anohter 5-6 lbs. Now your down to 5-7 lbs. If your comfortable with no weight belt at all you can bolt weight plates on your BP/wing and have zero weight.

Unrelated to the weight discussion but:
Now figure out how much flotation you really need. With a 3 mm suit you could probably get away with a 20lb wing. When you move up to your 5 mil suit a 25 lb wing will work.
I dive with no weight with my 3 mil suit. And 5 lbs of lead on my BP Wings belt when using my 5 mil suit. I use a 26lb lift wing year round.
I used to use a 44 lb lift wing on a Zeagle Ranger with tons of lead. What a difference it made to make the change.
Steel tanks cost a fortune but BP Wings cost the same as a decent BC. I could never go back to a BC. I do still have a bunch of old AL 80s I dive occassionally. Simply add 5-6 lbs of lead when going to a AL 80.
I believe she was traveling- the dive op might only have aluminum....and isn't it difficult to get 20 or 25 lb wings in your bage w/o being over weight limits for the plane?

Splitlip
06-23-2008, 11:27
Are you using a different BC? If so, that sounds like the culprit all else being equal. Some BC's trap air.

Now another thought, If you usually shore dive and are not used to boat diving, you may simply be having difficulty venting all your gas suspended in the water after entry. Again, some BC's (unfortunately) require jiggles, contortions and different positions to dump all gas.