Last Updated: March 22, 2022
When you dive with a weight belt, it is important that you wear it the correct way. If not, then it could hinder your movement. In fact, it could end up becoming pretty useless while you are diving.
I’m going to help you decide whether you really need a dive belt and, more importantly if you do need to use one how to wear it properly.
Do You Need a Weight Belt For Diving?
As you know, the purpose of weights is to counter the buoyancy of the gear that you are wearing. The weight belt essentially allows you to dive and reach your target location a lot easier.
Most good BCDs will likely have weights built into them. In this case, it may negate the need to have a dedicated weight belt…although some divers use them anyway.
In most cases, if you are wondering if you need a weight belt when diving, then the answer is yes. It is only in a limited number of situations where a weight belt is not required, and you will for sure know if you are in one of these situations.
Where Do You Wear a Weight Belt When Diving?
Despite the name, you aren’t going to be putting the weight belt around your waist. It doesn’t sit where a typical belt does. If it did, then it could potentially fall off. If your belt falls off, then it could see you risk coming to the surface far too quickly, which could be a potentially life-threatening situation.
A weight belt for diving should be around your abdomen. The weights on the belt should also be ideally on the side of your body and not go around your back. Because then you may also find that you sink a lot faster into the water than you want to. This is due to the center of gravity being a little bit off.
How to Set Up a Diving Weight Belt
It is important that you get the right weight for your diving belt. This is a key part of the setup. However, let me first talk about weight belt positioning to ensure that you have it set up in a good location.
As I mentioned, the diving weight belt needs to be positioned on your abdomen. You do not want it below the waist line. Try to ensure that you get the weight belt as tight as you can (without causing discomfort) to reduce the risk of it sliding off, because when diving deeper the pressure will literally squeeze your body and make it a bit smaller.
Just make sure the belt is not directly around your stomach. This will compress the diaphragm, a key organ for being able to breathe underwater.
The clip on the weight belt needs to be centered, so that you can release it quickly with one hand if you need to reach the water surface.
Any loose parts will need to be tucked away once you have tightened the belt up. You don’t want them to be getting caught up in anything while you are underwater. While you can remove the weight belt, you really do not want to remove it unknowingly.
If you don’t fancy buying or renting one, you can also make your own weight belt at home instead.
How Much Weight Should I Use on My Dive Belt?
This is like asking how long a piece of string is. A variety of factors will need to be considered. This includes:
- How salty the water is
- How much you weigh
- How much the equipment weighs
- How deep you are diving
You can use a scuba weight calculator to determine the weight needed. But a good rule of thumb is to try and get 10-12% of the weight of your body and your equipment. So, if you weigh 80kg, then your dive belt should be around 8kg.
As you get more experienced, you will find that it becomes easier to ascertain how much weight you need.
A good way to test whether you have enough weight is to go through this process:
- Load your belt up with weights that you think that you need
- Try to hang on the surface of the water
- Take a breath
- If you start sinking when you exhale, you have a good weight
- If you don’t move, then you don’t have enough weight
- If you sink before you exhale, you have too much weight
During the early days, it is very much going to be a case of trial and error (hopefully not a serious error).
A weight belt is an important piece of kit when diving. Helping you to get down deeper in the water, and at the same time ensuring that you do not rise too quickly. The placement of the dive belt is vital, as is ensuring that you get the right weight.
Don’t worry if you get it wrong the first few times that you dive. It happens to all divers. As you start to dive a lot more often, you will get a feel for the right equipment needed, as well as the amount of weight that should be used.
My unbounded love for the oceans and everything it has to offer motivated me to pursue my passion and become a professional scuba diving instructor.
I keep reading, exploring, and learning more about scuba diving and the underwater world all the time, so I’m excited to share my knowledge with fellow scuba enthusiasts and hopefully contribute a little to your development as a diver. I want people to fall in love with the oceans with as much passion as I have. Read more about me here.