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Why Sidemount?

Side mount diving

Sidemount is a scuba diving equipment configuration which has diving cylinders mounted alongside the diver, below the shoulders and along the hips, instead of on the back of the diver. It began as a configuration popular with advanced cave divers, as smaller sections of cave can be penetrated and tanks can be changed with greater ease. The same benefits for operating in confined spaces were also recognized by divers who conducted technical wreck diving penetrations.

Sidemount diving is now growing in popularity within the technical diving community for general decompression diving, and is becoming an increasingly popular specialty training for recreational diving, with several diver certification agencies offering recreational and technical level sidemount training programs.

why sidemount

Why would I need to start Side mount diving ?

Flexibility

The sidemount diving approach offers divers significant benefits to the flexibility of their approach. Unlike back-mounted twinsets, acquiring and transporting sidemount suitable cylinders is often much more convenient and accessible. Sidemount diving configuration allows the travelling diver to conduct technical and/or overhead environment dives without having to source traditional back-mounted twin cylinders. When diving in remote locations, the transportation of diving cylinders, especially by hand, is considerably easier.

why sidemount

Accessibility

Unlike back-mounted cylinders, the sidemount diver has immediate access to, and observation of, the regulators and tank valves of their cylinders. This enables immediate problem identification and allows swifter resolution, without recourse to ‘behind the head’ shut-down exercises that require a higher level of flexibility and freedom to operate.

Streamlining

why sidemount

Sidemount diving configuration places the cylinders under the diver’s armpits, in line with their body. This decreases water resistance improving air consumption and reducing fatigue. The flexibility to remove tanks, and propel them in front, allows the diver to pass through very small passages and holes when penetration diving – being limited only by the size of their bodies and exposure protection.

Comfort

The ability to attach, remove and replace cylinders whilst in the water allows the diver to avoid ever having to carry heavy-weight back-mounted cylinders. This is combined with reduced physical exertion when conducting regulator shut-down procedures, which is a major benefit to technical divers who suffer from shoulder or back discomfort or reduced mobility from old injuries.


why sidemount

Safety

Increased accessibility to life-supporting regulators, first-stages and valves improves efficiency and speed of critical cylinder shut-down procedures, allows immediate gas-loss identification and provides the diver with quick access to alternative safety procedures; such as regulator swapping (between cylinders)... or even breathing directly from a tank valve. In addition, stowage of the cylinders next to the diver’s torso, and beneath his armpits, serves to protect vulnerable valves and regulator first-stages from collision, impact and abrasion damage, or accidental shut-down through contact with a ceiling. It also significantly reduces the risk of entanglement behind the diver, where it is least easy to rectify.


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