Why Weight belt removal?
Weight belt removal is one of the least necessary of all Open Water skills, but it does have its values. The last resort when out of air and no help around is a buoyant ascent. Buoyant ascent is risky as it may lead to uncontrolled rapid ascent which can cause decompression sickness. On the other hand, it’s important to get familiar with the weights system (weight belt or integrated weights) knowing where they are and practice removing them as fast as we can.
Where to practice the weight belt removal skill?
Dropping your weights underwater can be risky, so never practice that skill without some supervision. The weight belt removal skill is normally practiced at confined water , in water too deep to stand in.
How to practice weights removal?
- Kneel on the bottom and fully deflate your BCD.
- Reach to your weight belt with your right hand. Remember the right hand release is a global rule when using weight belts.
- Method one: Extend your right knee forward, so that you kneel on one knee, like you’re about to propose. Remove the weight belt and place it as close as you can to your body, where the center of gravity is.
Method two: remove the weight belt and place it on your legs so that it still keeps you negatively buoyant.
Method three: remove the weight belt and quickly place it against your chest.
At any method, do not let go of your weights! If you drop your weights you risk a rapid ascend that may lead to decompression sickness.
4. Placing the weight belt back on:
- Check that the weight belt isn’t twisted, and that you place it back on using the right hand release method.
- Once the weights are on your back, it is easier to buckle up when you’re facing down, this way the weights sit tight on your back and your hands are free to work on the buckle.
- Finally, check that you don’t trap any hoses such as the consol, the alternate air source and such.
Weight belt removal tips:
- Remember right hand release- The buckle should always be on the left hand side, while the end of the belt on the right. Imagine the end as a man, and the buckle a woman and remember: “The man is always right!” ( Just joking)
- The weights drag you down while you, your BCD and wetsuit are buoyant. It’s therefore important to keep the weights as close to your body as you can at any moment. The further the weights are from you, the more difficult this skill becomes.
- If you feel you lose control and are all over the place, relax. Exhale deeply to decrease your buoyancy and move the weights closer to your body.