Scuba Diving - - Head-To-Head-Testing -

ERGO TEST Test­ing was con­ducted at Blue Grotto Dive Re­sort in Wil­lis­ton, Florida, by a team of test divers equipped with un­der­wa­ter slates and water­proof test sheets. Divers recorded their ob­ser­va­tions about each BC’S per­for­mance and as­signed scores from 5 (ex­cel­lent) to 1 (poor) in each of the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories: ASSEM­BLY Ease and se­cu­rity of tank and hose at­tach­ments LOAD­ING WEIGHTS Ease of load­ing and se­cu­rity of in­te­grated-weight sys­tem COM­FORT In and out of the wa­ter AD­JUSTA­BIL­ITY Ease of ad­just­ing and range of ad­just­ment AT­TI­TUDE AND STA­BIL­ITY In swim and ver­ti­cal (head-up and head-down) po­si­tions; over­all sense of con­trol of at­ti­tude STOWAGE Use­ful­ness and ac­ces­si­bil­ity of cargo pock­ets, D-rings, loops, etc., for stor­ing ac­ces­sories VALVE OP­ER­A­TION Abil­ity to con­trol when in­flat­ing/de­flat­ing by power in­fla­tor and man­u­ally AS­CENT CON­TROL Abil­ity to main­tain proper as­cent rate and at­ti­tude SUR­FACE FLOAT­ING PO­SI­TION Com­fort and sta­bil­ity while in­flated at the sur­face DITCH­ING WEIGHT SYS­TEM Abil­ity to drop weights quickly; weights se­cure from ac­ci­den­tal ditch­ing

OB­JEC­TIVE TEST We con­ducted three in-wa­ter tests (in fresh wa­ter) on each BC to mea­sure cri­te­ria im­por­tant to per­for­mance and safety. FLOW RATE TEST We tested the abil­ity of each BC’S ex­haust sys­tem to pre­vent un­con­trolled as­cent in the event of a stuck power in­fla­tor. At 10 feet of depth, each BC — while loaded with 20 per­cent of the man­u­fac­turer’s claimed buoy­ant lift — was held up­right while the power in­fla­tor and left up­per ex­haust were si­mul­ta­ne­ously ac­ti­vated for 20 sec­onds. In­dus­try stan­dards re­quire that at the con­clu­sion a BC has not be­come pos­i­tively buoy­ant. BUOY­ANT LIFT Each BC (we tested mod­els in size medium un­less oth­er­wise noted in the test re­sults) was fully in­flated with the power in­fla­tor while mounted up­right to a neu­trally buoy­ant bucket. The bucket was then pro­gres­sively weighted un­til the BC would not sup­port an­other pound with­out sink­ing. IN­HER­ENT BUOY­ANCY To de­ter­mine how a BC’S built-in buoy­ancy would af­fect weight­ing re­quire­ments, each BC (in size medium un­less oth­er­wise noted) was sub­merged, with care taken to re­move all air from air cell, pock­ets, pad­ding, etc. Weights were then added in half-pound in­cre­ments un­til the BC would sup­port no fur­ther weight with­out sink­ing.

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