How to Use a Scuba BCD
Buoyancy control/compensator device, commonly known as scuba BCD is basically a vest with air pockets allowing us to add or subtract the amount of air inside them, thus allowing us to control our buoyancy in the water.
Using our Scuba BCD at the Surface.
Whenever on the surface, a scuba BCD should always be inflated, lifting our head above water level, allowing us to relax, and conserve energy, which makes a scuba BCD suitable for snorkeling too.
Using our scuba BCD for descent:
When we choose to be submerged we deflate our BCD up to the point we are negatively buoyant and we descend.
A recommended safe and easy way to use our scuba BCD for descent is to descent feet first, extend the scuba BCD deflator hose upward, and deflate the scuba BCD gradually, meaning after a short deflation, exhale, and check if you can descend. If still buoyant, repeat this method again.
Achieving neutral buoyancy using the scuba BCD:
As we reach our desired depths we need to add enough air to compensate on the decrease buoyancy of our wet suit, and the increased water pressure. We want to make sure we don’t add too much air to our scuba BCD otherwise we can end up floating to the surface. Add a small amount of air, try to breath normally, while motionless and monitor depth changes. Change air volume on your scuba BCD according to changes of depth.
Ascending safely using scuba BCD:
When ascending we need to pay attention to our ascent rate. Controlling our ascent rate is easier when using our fins, rather than our scuba BCD as air trapped in the scuba BCD might expand and pull us to the surface faster than we planned. It is therefore recommended to extend the exhaust valve upwards, over our head and deflate our BCD whenever we feel it pulls us up. Monitoring speed rate is crucial and best-done using dive computers.
Scuba BCD care and maintenance:
Pay extra attention to the scuba BCDs valves. Make sure you run fresh water through each one of them.
Scuba BCDs tend to have some water in them after diving, so it’s likely you’ll have salt/Chlorine water in your scuba BCD:
1.Inflate your scuba BCD, hold it down so the deflater hose faces downwards and deflate it, allowing all the water to exit your scuba BCD.
2. Hold the deflater button while pouring fresh water into the deflater hose. Fill your scuba BCD with fresh water, and inflate it again. Shake your scuba BCD a few times, allowing fresh water to clean the interior properly.
3. Repeat step 1, then partially inflate your scuba BCD and hang it dry in a dry place, away from direct sunlight.