Selecting a Buoyancy Compensator

Aqualung is proud of its reputation as the leader in Buoyancy Compensator design, development, and manufacturing.  Aqualung is especially proud to be manufacturers of their own products.  Being the manufacturer has been a key ingredient in allowing Aqualung to be world-renowned specialists in BC design and development.

Aqualung offers a wide range of BC styles to choose from to suit your specific needs and your budget.  Before you go shopping however, it is important to understand the design features that should be found in any BC.


There are many factors to consider when selecting a BC, including your body shape and the type of exposure suit you will be wearing.  Most importantly, you should consider the type of diving you will be doing and the activities you may wish to pursue.  If you will primarily be traveling to warm water destinations for casual recreational diving, you  may be happiest with a more basic and streamlined model that is lightweight and easy to pack for the trip.

If you are an avid wreck diver you may prefer a BC that will better support the load of twin tanks with several options for attaching lights, reels, or even pony bottles.


Some BC's feature larger bladders that provide more lift, while others are smaller and more streamlined for more casual and tropical use.  Basic bladder design involves more substantial differences such as:

Traditional Advanced Design Vest (ADV) style. (Fig. 1)  -  is designed to distribute buoyancy around the diver's waist, as well as over the back and up the shoulders.  The primary advantage of this design is the way in which it can hold the diver upright while resting on the surface, with the neck and chest held comfortably above water.

Back Mounted style BC

Some divers prefer a "back-mounted" design with a bladder that is located entirely on the rear of the jacket, on both sides of the cylinder.  This provides a more streamlined effect along the front of the torso, and allows more options for the attachment points of accessories.

Fusion style

A combination of Jacket style and "back-mounted" style bladder BC.  The Fusion provides the best of both worlds in terms of buoyancy distribution and comfort by carefully engineering the location of each ounce of buoyancy.

Women's Only Design

Ladies, if you have found it impossible to feel comfortable wearing a "unisex" BC, your choice is an easy one.  The Soul I3 Lotus I3 and Pearl are designed specifically for women  -  not in styling and color, but also in comfort, fit and actual function.  The bladder and harness of the SeaQuest women's BC's are specially shaped to fit the contours of a woman's bust, waist, and torso, even when it is fully inflated.  Because these BC's are fully weight integrated, you will no longer need to suffer the discomfort of wearing a weight belt around your hips.


If your diving requires more effort than a backward roll off a boat, you may want to consider some of the following backpack and harness features that will provide the support you need.

Wrapture Harness System

  • Wrapture™ Harness System – using patented swivel shoulder buckles and a proprietary, ultra-thin back plate, the Wrapture prevents the BC from “riding-up” on the surface. Out of the water, the Wrapture keeps the cylinder close to your center of gravity and transfers the weight to your hips allowing you to effortlessly stand up straight


SLS  -  Self-Adjusting Lumbar Support

If the load of your tank weights you down you will appreciate the added support of the SLS system.  The SLS system is a Lumbar Support that automatically adjusts it's position to find the small of your back and transfer the load to you hips.



Some types of diving may require accessory equipment such as lights, reels, stage bottles, etc.  Some BC's are designed specifically with this type of diving in mind and having a variety of D-Rings in various locations to provide the diver with the greatest number of mounting options.  If you have heavy accessories you may want to consider a BC with the ISS (Internal Support Structure) system as this will help distribute the load of those accessories.

Knife Mounting Options

Some divers prefer to mount their dive knife directly to their BC keeping it handy at all times.  Selected BC models also included an option to mount the Deep See Squeeze Lock or Razorback knives utilizing specially located grommet attachment points.


A retractor provides a useful mounting location and all the same time allows the diver to utilize that accessory without the need to disconnect it or worry about loosing it.  The Pro Unlimited includes a retractor while other BC's have mounting locations specifically designed for an optional retractor.


Air Source


The Air Source is a combination second stage and BC inflator all rolled into one.  The Air Source replaces the traditional octopus second stage thereby eliminating an extra hose.  Under normal circumstances us the Air Source as you would any other BC inflator.  In emergency conditions the Air Source can be used by the primary diver like a normal second stage.  The Air Source can be added to any BC that uses a conventional inflator.

Powerline Inflator

Standard on most Aqualung BC's the Powerline Inflator allows you to fine tune your buoyancy with it's feather touch variable flow control.  Designed for reliability and comfort in the hands, the Powerline is an easy choice for any type of diving.


Perhaps the most exciting innovation for the BC in recent years, the integrated weight system can dramatically simplify the  way you dive - but it took Aqualung to perfect it.  This feature allows you to quickly remove and jettison the weight modules in the event of an emergency. Aqualung offers both the original Quickdraw system and the new Surelock integrated weight release system


In keeping with Aqualung's tradition of innovation, we set out to develop the most positive locking weight system available.  The objectives were clear; make it simple to release, easy to load in or out of the water, and secure.  The result is the Sure Lock mechanical weight system (patented).  The buckle releases quickly and easily with one simple pull -  no need to think about what you are doing - just pull.

The weight pockets reload just as quickly and easily  -  in the water or out.  For easy re-installation of your weight pouches, we have pre-opened the weight pockets on the BC, and then improved the system even more by ensuring you will feel and hear the positive "click" when the buckle locks.  The Sure Lock Integrated Weight Release System is the choice for serious divers.

This innovative feature is available on most Aqualung models.