If you're not sure where to start, start with 10% of your body weight. Subtract 4-6 pounds if diving in warm seas with a thin wetsuit, and add 4-6 pounds if diving in cold water with a lot of exposure protection.
For example, if you're a 100-pound person, you should weigh in at 104-118 pounds if diving in warm waters in the summer and 96-112 pounds if diving in cold waters in the winter.
The more weight you can bear, the safer it is for you. Divers who carry too little weight may not be able to come up quickly if something goes wrong.
Divers who carry too much weight may have trouble moving around in the water and may also be at risk from underwater obstacles such as rocks.
The amount of weight you need depends on several factors such as your age, gender, physical condition, and sea conditions. We recommend starting with the maximum safe weight for your ability level and increasing it if you're able to handle it without suffering from oxygen toxicity or other complications.
Tips and a Buoyancy Check
|Basic Weight Guidelines (Source: PADI)||Exposure Suit Type|
|2/3mm = 1/16 in. Jumpsuit||7% of your body weight|
|5mm = 3/16 in. jumpsuit or two piece||10% of your body weight|
|7mm = 1/4 in. wet suit w/ hood & gloves||10% of your body weight, +1.5 – 3 kg / 3 – 5lbs.|
|See note just below!|
The adage you've probably heard, "float at eye level," is approximately appropriate for the conclusion of your dive, when you'll weigh 5 pounds less. The weight of the breathing gas you will use up accounts for the majority of that loss. So, at the start of the dive, you'll need roughly 5 pounds of additional lead. At the end of the dive, there should be enough gas in your tank to lift your body weight back to the surface.
Once you reach the required amount of extra lead, you can stop adding more weights and just float back up to the surface.
Your average diver loses about 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 0.9 kg) per minute that they are under water. This is true whether they are swimming or not. As soon as you come up for air, that rate increases to near its maximum of 20 pounds (9.1 kg) per minute.
So, if you stay under water for 10 minutes, you will have lost about 2 pounds (0.9 kg). If you spend 20 minutes down there, then you will have lost about 4 pounds (1.8 kg).
If you plan to go deeper than 20 feet (6 m), or swim longer than 10 minutes, you will need to bring extra fuel with you on your dives. Typically, this is another person who knows how to swim and can help you if you run out of breath or feel dizzy.