The Dive Otter

Ditch or no Ditch?

Discussion on the topic by ISE

WARNING-WARNING-WARNING
THIS DISCUSSION IS BY A RECREATIONAL DIVER FOR RECREATIONAL DIVING WITHIN RECREATIONAL LIMITS

Should I have some or all of my weight as quick-release / ditchable weight?

You will have to figure this out for yourself...and you'll eventually fall into one of two categories of people:
To figure out which one you are, we need to understand a few basic things....

Why are we initially taught to ditch weights?

A couple of reasons...a few of them snarky (but true).

Why is ditching weights unnecessary except in one rare situation?

Let's brain storm a bit and see...

ReasonConcernSnarkAlternative Flotation
Your BCD inflator could fail or become disconnectedTrue and plausible and not particularly rare. It has happened to me actually.You have a backup...use itInflate orally or reconnect it
Your BCD bladder could fail on the surface at beginning of diveTrue and plausible...but EXTREMELY rare. And if you are properly weighted you would need to float ~5lbs of air weight some how. (if using an AL80 in a recreational setup)This is why you test your BCD inflation before you get in the water. KICK UP!! or inflate your (d)SMB. You have one right?! Right?!Doff your gear, float on your back or use your (d)SMB
Your BCD bladder could fail on the surface at the end of your diveTrue and plausible...but EXTREMELY rare. And if you are properly weighted you would need to float ~1 lbs of additional weight some how.You can tread water or lay back and float right? It's literally ~1 lb. Doff your gear, float on your back or use your (d)SMB
You are lost at sea cause your boat left you behind and who wants to have unnecessary weights to float?Unfortunately, not uncommon.Spin your BCD around like you did in OW training and remove the weights. Or ditch the entire BCD/tank unit and use the (d)SMB you brought for flotation...You brought one right?Doff your gear, float on your back or use your (d)SMB
You are unconcious and need to be rescuedReasonableWhy would your rescuer need to drop your weights? That's not what we are trained to do. The rescuer will inflate the BCD if needed.If properly weighted, not a realistic concern.
You are unconcious and need to be towed/pushedReasonableIf you are properly weighted you are essentially buoyant at the surface within 1 to 6lbs...the amount of weight is immaterialIf properly weighted, not a realistic concern.
For whatever reason you are sinking quickly and you can't work your BCD and you are afraid you'll go too deep and dieTheoretically possible and fear can screw with your mind I get it.Fear has just taken over...Got it....Sigh...I guess this is a real risk. But if you are properly weighted, you should only need to ditch the weight of air in your tank...not everything!

....we could go on....but the point is...
If you do these three things...there is ONE and ONLY ONE situation where you POSSIBLY need to ditch weights while not at the surface and that is a catastrophic failure of the bladder part of your BCD at the start of your dive AND at your maximum depth AND all other alternative buoyancy measures have failed as well. Man a live that is a very specific and rare event. But okay...if that's your concern. I will not argue and you should absolutely have ditchable weights. But...

....there has got to be a better way. There is....The "Balanced Rig"