side mount diving

Sidemount Diving, An art not just a configuration!

Basic Sidemount training is offered by most agencies, and aims to develop initial equipment familiarity and operation. At this level, students are taught to adjust, fit and operate the SM rig, whilst diving with one or two cylinders maximum.

Basic Sidemount training is offered by most agencies, and aims to develop initial equipment familiarity and operation. At this level, students are taught to adjust, fit and operate the SM rig, whilst diving with one or two cylinders maximum.

These training courses then develop core diving skills that are specifically relevant to sidemount (SM) – namely: trim, buoyancy, alternative propulsion techniques and cylinder handling in the water. Many basic courses also teach supplementary diving skills, such as DSMB deployment and variations on open water skills, such as inverted (upside-down) fining and inverted mask-clearing. Knowledge development covers topics such as: gas management, dive planning and equipment considerations/options.

One of the advantages of the sidemount system is the easy access to cylinder valves, and the protected position they occupy in comparison with most back mount systems, where the valves are relatively vulnerable to bumping against an overhead and being “rolled off” (closed by rubbing against the overhead).

The standard arrangement for sidemount is that all cylinders are independent, and each is provided with a single demand valve, an SPG, and on one or two, a low pressure inflator hose for buoyancy compensator and, if used, the drysuit. This implies that if gas is shared in an emergency, the recipient will be breathing from a different cylinder to the donor, unlike the more usual arrangement with backmount, where both divers breathe off the same set.

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