Sidemount diving is becoming increasingly popular in the scuba community; those who have not experienced it should consider taking the PADI Sidemount Diver course.
Sidemount refers to a special diving equipment configuration where the diver’s cylinders are carried at their side, rather than on the back. This provides greater flexibility, convenience and streamlining, and many divers find sidemount diving to be easier and more comfortable.
When sidemount diving, you no longer have to carry heavy tanks on your back when making your way towards your entry point or whilst climbing ladders on your return. In fact, you don’t have to carry them at all unless you’re actually in the water, as they can be easily clipped on after taking the plunge and removed before you get out. You’ll also find gliding through the water easier too, because sidemount diving allows the tanks to be more in-line with your body, reducing the drag you might normally feel.
The PADI Sidemount Diver course will teach you how to correctly and safely adjust to using the alternative kit configuration. You’ll learn how to properly set up your sidemount equipment and trim your weighting so that you’re balanced in the water, as well as how to manage your gas supplies whilst using two separate tanks. The course will also show you how to handle potential problems that could occur when sidemount diving.
In order to complete the course, you’ll need to be 15 years or older and a PADI Open Water Diver or above. You’ll use most of your regular equipment – mask, fins, snorkel and exposure suit, for example, as well as sidemount equipment, which you can hire or purchase through your local PADI Dive Shop.