Have you seen any fellow divers recently, carrying one or two tanks by their side instead of on the back? If you have, they were sidemount divers. Previously only seen on tech divers, sidemount has become increasingly popular among recreational divers and is now a PADI Specialty Course or can be done as an Adventure Dive on the PADI Advanced or Adventure dive course.
The idea behind sidemount is pretty logical; One benefit is that the weight of the cylinders on land is in-line with the spine, unlike back mounted cylinders which cause the diver to lean forward to keep from tipping backwards. Another advantage is that the cylinders are easily clipped and unclipped in the water and that you have two, so double the amount of air! Underwater, the diver is amazingly streamlined and the set-up is extremely beneficial to divers that have back problems or shoulder problems. Also, you can wear the sleek harness with its almost invisible bladder on land and then keep the tanks on the boat and just clip them on in the water.
Did we say that buoyancy is a walk in the park? At Atmosphere, Instructor Frank – himself a very keen sidemount diver – will teach you side mount or give you a try in the pool. You won’t regret it!