Buoyancy Compensators (BCD)
When you are scuba diving or snorkeling underwater, the world stops for a moment, and there is a sense of peace as water, fish, and even coral and other sea flora surround you. Buoyancy compensators or buoyancy compensator devices (BCDs) are a critical part of anyone's scuba diving or snorkeling equipment, which needs to be complete to comfortably enjoy the experience.
What are BCDs?
BCDs are the basically the scuba diver or snorkeler's version of a life jacket, except that the buoyancy can adjust so that you are at the right position in the water, be it fully submerged or floating above the surface. You make this adjustment via reducing or increasing the amount of air in the device. It also serves as the piece of gear that holds your scuba or snorkeling tank.
Types of BCDs
Jacket-style BCDs are the most commonly found BCDs, and you wear them on your dive suit just like a jacket that wraps around you (along with the air bladder). These usually have storage pockets and some have pouches with weight integration. This type of BCD is suitable for stability in any position, and it is the most suitable for new divers. The second type you may come across is the back inflate BCD, which you still wear like a jacket, but it only inflates at the back rather than all around, helping the diver achieve a flatter horizontal position in the water. Hybrid BCDs combine the strengths of both the types, allowing for the same versatility of the jacket BCD but with the ability to flatten out horizontally better like the back inflate type. For even more customisability, divers can also opt to purchase back plates and harnesses separately and put them together as a BCD.
AquaLung, TUSA, and Mares are all famous brands for BCDs, though Cresi and Scubapro are popular options as well. Besides branded gear, you can also take a look at unbranded or generic BCDs, to see if there are any that fit your requirements. Be sure to get the right size for your body type, and also the best type for your diving needs.