Are Backplates a Good Idea For New Divers? #askmark #scuba

Last Updated on September 4, 2023 by Mark Newman

YouTube video

@Chewbacca10
Greetings,
I am very new to the sport, having had my first dive in Jamaica two months ago. I’ve caught the bug and have been researching everything I can, ahead of my OW certification.
As a new diver, I am a bit overwhelmed by all of the choices of BCDs available to me. It is my understanding that back plate and harness systems offers the most flexibility and can be adapted as I grow in the sport. Do you agree with my assessment?
If so, any recommendations on a backplate and harness system best for new divers traveling to most, if not all, of their dives?
If not, which BCD style is best for longevity?
Thank you for your time!#AskMark

#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
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The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

This week, it looks like DPV manufacturer ScubaJet has begun insolvency proceedings. PADI has distributed half a million dollars in their Project Aware campaign. Dorset coastguard have called off the search for a missing diver. And the Pearl Fleet has commented on a viral video of a shark-dive that didn’t go so well
https://taucher.net/diveinside-insolvency_proceedings_at_scubajet-kaz9246
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/conservation/padi-aware-distributes-500k-in-mission-hub-grants/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/raid-launches-ots-full-face-mask-programme/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/dorset-coastguard-call-off-search-for-diver/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/search-for-diver-off-dorset-stood-down/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/pearl-fleet-hits-back-as-maldives-shark-dive-slammed/
Diving Into The Darkness Link:
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Missing Diver Search Called Off #scuba #news #podcast

@preethasebastian8921
Sharks and Yum Yum Yellow. What are your thoughts? #askmark
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@preethasebastian8921
Sharks and Yum Yum Yellow. What are your thoughts? #askmark
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
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Are Sharks Attracted to the Colour Yellow? #AskMark

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@emilyZA460
#AskMark hi! I was hoping you could help me understand the interchangeability of a DSMB and a simple SMB if I only plan to use it when I deploy it during my safety stop at 5 meters. I used the simple version for this purpose during my last liveaboard and despite occasionally having to reinflate at the surface due to some air escaping while being deployed underwater, it didn’t seem to be too problematic and so I was wondering if it’s necessary to have a DSMB for this purpose? The issue for me is that somehow I tend to end up misplacing my SMB quite often and so the price difference between the two makes it a more acceptable loss when it’s replacing the SMB regularly rather than the DSMB at double the cost
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
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The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

Diving Into The Darkness Website:
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@emilyZA460
#AskMark hi! I was hoping you could help me understand the interchangeability of a DSMB and a simple SMB if I only plan to use it when I deploy it during my safety stop at 5 meters. I used the simple version for this purpose during my last liveaboard and despite occasionally having to reinflate at the surface due to some air escaping while being deployed underwater, it didn’t seem to be too problematic and so I was wondering if it’s necessary to have a DSMB for this purpose? The issue for me is that somehow I tend to end up misplacing my SMB quite often and so the price difference between the two makes it a more acceptable loss when it’s replacing the SMB regularly rather than the DSMB at double the cost
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
LINKS

Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OUR WEBSITES

Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
Website: https://www.rorkmedia.com ➡️ For advertising within our brands
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

YouTube Video UEw2X2VCMS1KYWdWbXFQSGV1YW84WVRHb2pFNkl3WlRSZS4yOUY5MUNBMTM5RDMyREQ5

What's the Point of Fancy dSMBs? #askmark #scuba

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Chiel van der Hoek
Chiel van der Hoek
9 months ago

question: slob knob or no

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  Chiel van der Hoek
9 months ago

I used to for the in water convenience but now I just use a standard isolator valve. I found that the cable inside would twist rather than close the valve properly some of the time so I sold my old slob knob.

Graham Strowes
Graham Strowes
9 months ago

AP Diving Buddy Commando BCDs can handle twins.
They are also pretty much indestructible.

PP O2
PP O2
Reply to  Graham Strowes
9 months ago

That’s what I’ve always used, no need for anything else.

Jase Carter
Jase Carter
9 months ago

Four years ago I wanted a backplate and wing and my local dive shop convinced me it was only for “tech divers” and had me buy a back-inflate bcd. I regret it. The bcd (Aqualung Rogue) has worked well, but I will soon grow out of it and will be buying a bpw in the next several years anyway.

Alison Anthony
Alison Anthony
9 months ago

I absolutely adore my Zen. I only wish I’d made the move to BP&W years ago.

seumas5
seumas5
9 months ago

Very good Vid, One question, My plate and wing set up is 16 pounds dry weight on the scale. What would be the negative weight for calculations? Hollis large steel plate comfort webbing. with hollis wing. Thanks keep the vids comming learning lots.

Yggdrasil42
Yggdrasil42
Reply to  seumas5
9 months ago

The only way to get numbers is to take it into the water. Bring luggage scales to a pool and hang the bpw (empty) into the water to mearure the buoyancy.
Personally I don’t feel calculations are that useful since you’d have to measure each piece of gear. Simpler is to do a Pre-dive weight check for a quick estimate and the most important end-of-dive weight check to fine tune it. When you change gear simply repeat the end-of-dive check to adjust to your change in buoyancy.

seumas5
seumas5
Reply to  seumas5
9 months ago

Thanks will try the scale method
@Yggdrasil42

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  seumas5
9 months ago

Yeah, as Yggdrasil said, the dry weight doesn’t correlate to the buoyancy of an item and the best way to find the buoyancy of an item is to get it wet. But then the buoyancy will be different in more or less salty water.

Once you’ve dived it a few times and done some weight checks you’ll get an idea for how buoyant it is.

g.k.scott
g.k.scott
9 months ago

As a new diver with a backplate and wing myself, absolutely yes, its like a back inflate bc but simpler

RVbilly
RVbilly
9 months ago

My back plate and wing cost me 100usd and it’ll be around long after I’m dead

Michael Zschoche
Michael Zschoche
Reply to  RVbilly
9 months ago

How sir, how did it only cost 100 bucks? What do you have? Lol. Lucky duck!

RVbilly
RVbilly
9 months ago

I’ll save you 20 minutes YES BUY INE AND NEVER LOOK BACK get an adjustable webbing with clips makes it waaaay easier for dry suit diving dump valves don’t get caught up CHEERS

Yggdrasil42
Yggdrasil42
Reply to  RVbilly
9 months ago

Nah, clips are unnecessary unless you have shoulder mobility issues. They’re another failure point. Simply put your left arm (with the dump valve) in first and out last. Initially I thoughy they’d be nice but haven’t missed them in years.

Nicole85
Nicole85
9 months ago

Love my new Cressi aquawing plus, backplate and wing but with padding and quick release weights, win win

David Tillotson
David Tillotson
9 months ago

Just realised that yours is the only other ND reduced weight backplate I have seen. I find that mine is perfectly suitable for travelling as well as UK use, although I travel extremely light when it comes to general luggage :)

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  David Tillotson
9 months ago

It’s served me well for a few years now. It tend to stay at home now and I travel with an aluminium backplate so I can pack some clothes

scuba cro
scuba cro
9 months ago

7:40
Guy didn’t breath 20 seconds so he can look cool on video, while his SPG is leaking like crazy😂

Peter Panci
Peter Panci
9 months ago

Hi and thank you for another’s great video

PP O2
PP O2
9 months ago

I’ve got a jacket style bcd, done over 3k dives and never wanted or needed anything else, if i want an extra tank I’ll just use a side mount one. I’d only bother with a wing or backplate if i was doing some serious cave diving

Didier Wolfs
Didier Wolfs
9 months ago

The number of people at my dive school that are freaking out by the fact that I don’t have a high purging valve on my Dive Rite Transpac (even that, I have a fenstop if needed)… Some teachers says that anyway, they always use the direct system for exercices. I told my student diver friends, that they should learn other equipment than the standard, because one day, they may have to assist a diver with a backplate and wing without a fenstop and perhaps in a drysuit… Learning only on standard equipment is a mistake. I want to be able to assist anyone in any configuration and even with a CCR. I told them : this is MY configuration and you better deal with it, because I will not wear traditional bcd anymore. I was going to keep my bcd for learning, but no !

Ted Judah
Ted Judah
9 months ago

Switched to a backplate and basic DIR harness a year ago and I love it. Love the simplicity. Love the durability. Love the serviceability. Love the fact that I went from 23 lbs on my old BCD to just 12 lbs on my new stainless steel backplate and wing.

Scuba Addict
Scuba Addict
9 months ago

Love my scubapro litehawk. Wing without the black plate. Folds up, travels easy, dives beautifully

White Fury
White Fury
9 months ago

If my budget can’t really fit one of the big brand names, how do you feel about Dive Gear Express (DGX) #askmark ? I’ve heard that a lot of their gear is actually unbranded DiveRite gear. Do you think I would have a hard time getting those serviced? They also have a good deal on a long hose regulator setup but same question regarding maintenance. Thoughts? As always love the videos

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  White Fury
9 months ago

Yeah, I can see inspiration from a variety of brands in their regulator designs. It’s not unusual for brands to share designs and it wouldn’t put me off buying gear.
The servicing aspect is important though. If you need to service your regs once a year and can only service them at one location it makes it tricky. They do offer a shipping service so you can ship your regs off for a service. But that adds to the yearly cost of the regulator.
It may be cheaper in the long run to buy a more expensive regulator that your LDS can service nearby.
Time for an Excel spreadsheet to work out long-term costs…

Chris Philhower
Chris Philhower
9 months ago

Hello Mark. Today I received my Aqualung Omni. Size Medium with a Small waist. Fits me very well. Came with a Braided LPI Hose, Velcro mounts for Octo and Console. Tank Neck strap. Even a metal Buckle for the Tank. One thing I noticed, The Buttons are Reversed from what I used in Class. The little Gray button is the Release. Found that out when I Oral Inflated to store.

Adam Mason
Adam Mason
9 months ago

Im looking to buy my own gear and will be looking at the backplates now. Going to be diving in south east asia for around 6 months next year.

David Bonnichsen
David Bonnichsen
9 months ago

Every diver should use a BPW setup…period.

PP O2
PP O2
Reply to  David Bonnichsen
9 months ago

Really? I’ve used a jacket style for more than 30 years with 3k plus dives and am perfectly happy but thanks anyway.

David Bonnichsen
David Bonnichsen
Reply to  David Bonnichsen
9 months ago

Then clearly you’ve never used a BPW because you would never go back to a jacket BCD ever again. But hey, use what you like!

PP O2
PP O2
Reply to  David Bonnichsen
9 months ago

Wings, BPW’s, yeah didn’t like them, but then rebreathers are really the way forward. Clearly you’ve never tried one. But as you say, you use what you like.@David Ashmore Bonnichsen

TheEveryDayRandomizer
TheEveryDayRandomizer
9 months ago

Thank you for both the written and video responses to my ridiculously long question. All the best!

Zach Denney
Zach Denney
9 months ago

i personally feel that after your initial OW instruction almost all divers should begin exploring either a hybrid/softplate bpw or a full bpw setup. the reason for this is diving with a jacket style teaches you a lot of bad habits (in my opinion), and also does not encourage you to further perfect your buoyancy, trim, weighting… etc. im not saying you cannot dive a jacket– im saying: if you are serious about the sport, and want to be the ‘best’ you can be… you should begin learning bpw immediately AFTER OW.

i say after because you really need to get a fundamental understanding (intermediate mastery) of basic equipment and tasks prior to also taking on the task loading of managing a new set of gear. keep things simple, keep weights ditchable until you have a few dives under your belt, and feel comfortable that you understand the basic premise of all of the components… when and how to use. then you move to BP/W. also, its easier to rent gear for your OW / first few dives if you just stick with jacket style. moving to bpw almost requires you ‘buy’ your gear.

Yves Morin
Yves Morin
9 months ago

Hollis ST-35 SS plate with elite harness for comfort and clips.
You can even add weight pockets and butt pate if needed

Etienne DnMd
Etienne DnMd
9 months ago

Hi Mark,
Thank you for all your videos and your dedication to make us all better divers !
I wanted to talk about long hose configuration, because the same way BP+W configs aren’t really used for recreational scuba diving, so does the long hose configuration ! And I feel like it is bit of a shame… I had even had to add a “standard” yellow octopus to my long hose configuration just so my dive buddies would not feel too afraid to dive with me !
But despite that, I feel like the long hose configuration tend to go more and more into recreational and for good reasons, the same way BP+W do. And I hope it continues in that direction regarding to what Tec diving has to bring to the world of recreational (and so I can finally take off my yellow octopus without my dive buddies worrying too much 😛)

My question would be : for the future of the “recreational scuba diving”, what do you see in terms of technologies, good habits, configurations, etc that will most likely go from Tec to Rec ? Or do you have any recommendations in that matter ?
#askmark

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  Etienne DnMd
9 months ago

I’d love to see a gear section in the syllabus that covers more than one or two pictures of 10YO discontinued BCDs…
I probably wouldn’t make the students dive the different configurations but, I’d like a few setups built for them to look at so they can ask questions and see different gear configurations like BP/W, Twins, Sidemount and Long Hose.

As far as gear configurations for Rec diving, I can’t see a huge change for a very long time. The agencies would need to change all of their teaching standards and curriculum for foundational courses all the way up to Instructor courses, Instructors need to retrain and schools invest in new gear.

The standard setup is pretty darn good and works for the majority of divers out there so, I think it’s here to stay

D Dacombe
D Dacombe
9 months ago

I got certified OW a few years back and started on a aluminum Mares XR bp/w. Moving through the certs, Ive done about 50 dives now and still super happy with it.

Sa Dagat
Sa Dagat
9 months ago

Eight Diving Co. in Seattle WA uses Halcyon backplate and wings for all training.

The Excessive
The Excessive
9 months ago

#askmark In the open water course if the 2nd stage regulator is pulled out of your mouth for whatever reason we are taught to recover it by leaning to the right and sweeping the arm down and out and brushing left hand down the right arm or by shifting the cylinder up and reaching over the shoulder to grab the hose. Both of these methods seem slow and possibly difficult if wearing thick gloves, is there any reason why you wouldn’t temporally use your octo given that you know exactly where it is and then recover your primary? many thanks

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  The Excessive
9 months ago

The only instance I can think of is if you’re diving multiple gases and there’s a chance that you might switch to a gas that’s dangerous to breathe at that depth without thinking.

If you’re diving recreational depths with a single gas then secure any 2nd stage so that you can breathe and then sort yourself out. That’s why I dive with an alternate 2nd stage in a necklace around my neck so that if the one that I’m breathing from is knocked out I can switch to my alternate quickly and then find my primary.

Crazy Pinata
Crazy Pinata
9 months ago

Hey Mark, Im just getting back into diving and did a refresher course. I have scheduled a Nitrox course, but I am curious. In relation to Nitrox use, how do you use Dive Tables? I understand people now rely on computers, but I have to learn to trust them and would like to plan dives on paper. So are there different tables specifically for Nitrox use ? Thanks!

Peter van den Broek
Peter van den Broek
Reply to  Crazy Pinata
8 months ago

There are nitrox tables, apps and there are deco-on-the fly algorithms allowing you to calculate decompression profiles yourself.

Fabian Reichert
Fabian Reichert
9 months ago

Hi Mark,
first of all, thanks for the great content! I have a quick question. I’m currently in the middle of my rescue driver course and the instructor pointed out that, in a rescue situation, BPW are a bit more tricky than BCDs especially if your dive buddy does not know this type of BC. Reason one was that the lack of quick releases makes it harder to get you out of the kit quickly (personally I’d say use my line cutter to get me out). Reason two, more importantly, was that with an unconscious diver, your first priority is usually to establish buoyancy. The slight tendency of bpw to push you into a face down horizontal could be potentially dangerous. I was curious whether you have any thoughts on this?
I for one am super happy with my Tecline Peanut but I can see his reasoning. Thanks in advance!
Cheers #askmark

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  Fabian Reichert
9 months ago

As you said: that’s what my dive knife is for. Webbing is cheap and I don’t think there’s a diver out there who would complain that you cut their harness to save their life (I probably wouldn’t do it in training exercises though). If it takes me more than a moment to get a diver out of their gear I’m reaching for a line cutter.

For the face-down problem, if you drop a divers weights then you don’t need to add much gas to get them to float if they’re in a wetsuit or a drysuit. If you inflate any BCD all the way then you’ll find they lift up out of the water which can make rescue breaths harder and they tend to roll over anyway so, only inflate the BCD enough to get them to float and a touch more.

Fabian Reichert
Fabian Reichert
Reply to  Fabian Reichert
9 months ago

Thanks for the reply! The “don’t fully inflate”-strategy is exactly what we were taught today to handle the roll issue. Generally, it was really interesting to see the difference in behaviour between jacket and bpw. I found it quite valuable to have both types on the RD course to be prepared for either setup.
I’ll still make sure to point every future buddy to the line cutter handily located on my waist belt in case they ever have to get me out of the kit.

papaspeleo The only
papaspeleo The only
9 months ago

Off course! My son started backplate and wing diving as a ten year old.
All the best

Paola frege
Paola frege
9 months ago

#askmark Sorry for my bad english…. sometimes we need pockets and sometimes we choose pockets based on cost or dimension. But one of the most useful things, in my humble opinion, is having some anchorage points inside them, so things are safely contained .Can you make a practical video on how to install drings or bungee loops inside them ? (Glue?)

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  Paola frege
9 months ago

Yes, I can do that. If your pocket has grommet/eyelet holes for drainage, then you can pass the bungee through the hole and tie a knot in the bungee on both sides of the hole to secure it in place.

If you don’t have any holes then you can make one with an eyelet punch. Or if you’re handy with a needle and thread then you can sew one on the side of the pocket, just be sure not to puncture your drysuit.

For D-rings it’s easier to attach a section of webbing that you can then secure to the inside of the pocket. Be sure to use the right adhesive that is both flexible and waterproof. Two-part contact adhesive is usually the best for underwater work.

Clifford Callistus
Clifford Callistus
9 months ago

I’m a new diver too and thank you for this educational video. One new thing on my list — Titanium Sliding D-Ring 😁. Although, I can’t find the bent one for some reason (maybe no one made it for a reason).

Anyway, Are those behind you what they called the “Deep 6 Eddy fins”? I currently have the Avanti Quattro Plus, but one thing I learned from all the videos is that always copy your instructors as they know best. I noticed that some instructors use Deep 6 Eddy fins. Feel like I want to buy them 😈

Again, Thank you so much and remember … Just add water 😀

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  Clifford Callistus
9 months ago

The fins behind me are a mixture of Apeks RK3 Fins and Fourth Element Tech Fins. But they’re very similar to the Deep6 Eddys.
A lot of Instructors use Avanti Quattros also, they’re a very reliable fin and last forever

James Heroux
James Heroux
9 months ago

As a new diver, I did my OW cert with a Halcyon Eclipse 30. I dove headfirst in sport. All my dives have been either in the Sea of Japan and the East China sea. I am so glad I have sprung for the backplate and wing from the get-go. I highly recommend going to a backplate from the start if you plan on diving more than just vacations.

Peter van den Broek
Peter van den Broek
8 months ago

Why is this a debate?

Holly Whinney
Holly Whinney
8 months ago

Hey there Mark, Thank you so much for all of your videos so far! I am going to undertake the HSE Scuba course next year at Andark and I was wondering whether or not you could do a video full of advice from your recent HSE course at Commercial Divers Training which covers the revision / practical workshops / practical exam and also the theory exams. Thank you! #ASKMARK

Scuba Diver Magazine
Scuba Diver Magazine
Reply to  Holly Whinney
8 months ago

Outstanding! I love the people at Andark. I was planning to make a video but I didn’t have enough footage to make a full video on the HSE Course.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the practical work, as long as you’re comfortable in the water you’ll be fine. The exercises often feel tedious but don’t rush them. Bring a pair of good work gloves and a warm hat to wear while you’re tending and start *practicing your knots* now. The course work can feel tough at times so spend time with the rest of the candidates and start learning *line signals* now. You’ll only use them for a few dives but, you need to remember what bells and pulls mean:
https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Commercial_diving/Diver_Communications#Rope_signals

Otherwise, have fun, listen to your dive supervisor and I’ll try to get a video up in the next week or so for you.

Holly Whinney
Holly Whinney
Reply to  Holly Whinney
8 months ago

@Scuba Diver Magazine Hiya! Ah, thank you so much! And yes please! That would be great to see a video with all of your advice / experience

Ahoy F⚓️ckers
Ahoy F⚓️ckers
8 months ago

BP&W all the way. One tip I’d give is to choose your backplate wisely. Some backplates will only take specific wings. So if you like a wing from one manufacturer and a backplate from another just make sure they are compatible. I got a mare’s bp and it didn’t fit my already purchased oxycheq wing. There are bp’s out there that are very good at being a “universal” fit for most wings, that’s the bp I’d go with.

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