The quest for neutral buoyancy
By their nature, human beings have positive buoyancy in the water, and it suffices for us to fill up our lungs with a little air in order for us to float. So to submerge ourselves, you will need a belt with the right ballast around your waist. In the event of an emergency, you can easily take it off with a simple quick release system.
Diving belts are generally made of cloth or rubber. The latter are more modern and comfortable, and have two ends, one of which is called male, through which you insert the weights, and the other, called the female or buckle, where the weights will be securely fastened.
Weights should always be placed on the side of the waist, leaving a crucial back space free for the air tank. When placing weights on your back, be very careful and always handle them with the male end to prevent the weights from falling to your feet. There are a number of techniques for putting them on, so you need to find the one that’s most comfortable for you.
Like any other gear, the belt should be snug but comfortable. It is also important to hold on to the buckle when going into the water, because it might open and be lost forever because of its weight.
Let’s talk about the different models of weights available on the market. Some are made of lead, others of stainless steel, or of a mix of materials, like metal and coated with plastic. Manufacturers produce different shapes and sizes of weights in pursuit of an optimal configuration, although the most common are 500 grams, 800 grams or a kilo. Weights usually have a specific position on the belt. Remember to always keep the weights on the ground under your gear, because if they fall from a height, they can cause trouble for your feet and ruin your holidays.
If you have back problems, you can put them on in the water if you know the right technique for doing this. Lastly, remember that some dive jackets have built-in weight systems, housed in special compartments and in pockets with quick release systems. Take good care of your weights and enjoy safe diving.
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