A BCD, or buoyancy compensators, are handy and essential bits of equipment that allow a diver to offset their negative buoyancy by adding air from the tank to the BCD while underwater.

BCDs are available in 3 different styles:

  • Back Inflation: A back-inflate BCD, like the name implies, positions its air cell behind you. This leaves the chest area uncluttered and reduces front-body bulkiness
  • Jacket Style: The jacket-style scuba BCD was scuba diving’s original buoyancy compensator design and is still very popular among divers. Easy to use, it offers lots of lift capacity and requires minimal adjustment.
  • Harness System: While not scuba BCDs in the traditional sense, back plate systems perform the same important buoyancy control device tasks. A typical back plate system consists of three basic components: a scuba back plate to hold the tank, a diver’s harness to strap the back plate to the diver, and an air cell, or dive wing, to provide the buoyant lift.