Side Mount SCUBA Certification

Side mount scuba diving
A diver with two cylinder tanks mounted on both sides of his body is using the side mount technique.

Experienced Scuba divers are always learning new modules and techniques to improve or expand their diving experiences. In recent years, side mount SCUBA tanks have become increasingly popular. Take the time to read through and familiarize yourself with side mounting.

What is a side mount SCUBA diving certification? Side mount SCUBA diving is when you take your diving equipment and mount them on either side of your body.

Why would a side mount SCUBA diving certification be right for you? If you are an experienced diver looking to streamline or balance your movement, try side mount diving. This option is ideal for the swimming enthusiast who wants to cover more ground (or water) and the individual who needs less pressure on their spine. You will use less oxygen because of weight distribution. With the cylinders distributed on the sides of your shoulders and hips, your spine will have more flexibility, and you won't intake as many breaths.

Where would you use your side mount SCUBA diving? Side mounting originated for cave diving and wreck diving so a diver could easily carry back-up gas or release their tank in case of an emergency. Now recreational divers are switching to this method so that they can easily hold their back-up tanks. This method is a win-win for all divers.

How long does it take to become a successful side mount diver? The short answer is two-four days. The duration of your certification depends on your skill level and your instructor's schedule. However, side mount diving will take less time for experienced divers. The in-water portion alone may take a few days, but learning the equipment setup will begin before the certification course. You and your instructor can determine how long you need to assemble your equipment. It may take a few practice-runs if you are inexperienced.

What are the steps to the side mount certification? First, you need to make sure that you are a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver and have at least 30 logged dives on record. Then you can enroll in a Technical Side mount diver course. Most PADI instructors will recommend that you have taken a PADI Enriched Air Diver certification course. This technique will ensure you get maximum oxygen usage. Usually, you will train for one session in confined water and two open water dives. The timing will vary based on the instructor. When setting up your equipment, you will need a buoyancy control device that comes with a wing-style harness. You might want cylinder-mounted weights that will allow you to adjust during your dive. Most configurations will use a bungee to hold the tanks in place.

There are a lot of specifics when setting up your equipment that will vary based on your specific dive. Your local instructor will be able to help you make the right adjustments to your gear. If you live near Raleigh, NC, visit By the Shore SCUBA Instruction to help you get started in your side mount or any SCUBA endeavors.

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