Many divers aren’t familiar with the term side-mount. The most popular form of recreational diving is done using the Buoyancy Control Device (BCD), an inflatable vest worn while diving with a tank mount on the back. For the majority of recreational diving, this setup is ideal and functional. However, once you master use of the traditional BCD configuration, side-mount can be a fun and challenging next step. Learning to use the side-mount harness (or rig) for both recreational and more technical diving can open the door to many new dive adventures.
The term side-mount refers to the way the compressed air tanks are mounted on your body while diving. Instead of using a traditional BCD inflatable vest with the tank mounted on your back, the side-mount harness is worn with a tank mounted on each side of your body. The harness is equipped with an air bladder on the lower back which serves to control your buoyancy.
One of the main advantages to diving with a side-mount rig is that it allows you access to extra air. It also gives you more flexibility to easily unhook the tanks from the harness, which comes in handy when you are diving in limited spaces such as caves, caverns or shipwrecks. If you are a diver who wants to further your technical or specialty diving certification to explore more advanced dive sites, (such as the cenotes in the Yucatan) or deep diving, side-mount training and certification is a fun and essential element.
The side-mount setup can even be used on recreational dives. If you are a diver that is already certified and want to try out side-mount diving, we offer a Discover Side-Mount dive program which includes one pool class and one open water dive using the side-mount rig. The discovery program can be further applied to a side-mount certification course.
For divers interested in the PADI Advanced Diver certification, we offer the ability to incorporate side-mount into one of the specialty dives included in the course.
Ask us about side-mount today!