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jacket or wing

Jacket or wing for a diver?

Jacket or wing?

If you thinking now about decision – jacket or wing, we will try to suggest something.We want to make the decision easier between diving jacket or diving wing, as well as to make the comfort of diving and the joy resulting from it even bigger!

There is no single answer to the question whether a jacket or a wing is a better solution – this choice should be adjusted to one’s individual capacities. The manufacturers offer a wide range of equipment for diving; therefore, it is extremely important for you to determine your needs and advancement level first. 

Jacket and wing – what’s the difference?

The basic displacement system is a classic jacket. It gets filled almost with the entire volume and is equipped with abdominal belt and frequently integrated ballast pockets. It will provide the infrequent divers and beginners with a sense of stability, whereas maintaining the position and buoyance will become much simpler. The additional advantage is that it is easy to put on and take off the jacket. It will also keep us in vertical position on the water surface effortlessly.

The wing-type harness is rather dedicated for divers with more experience, because it is a more demanding system. Similarly to a common jacket, it has an abdominal belt and ballast pockets connected with the frame. However, it enables better maintenance of trim (level) and, as declared by Wojtek Berczyński (DM Dive Diving School Poznań), ‘(…) it provides high displacement and comfort of performing more difficult activities under water due to a smaller number of components and lack of discomfort of pumping the front.’

Adjust the equipment to your capacities

The solution recommended by Igor Bartoszewicz (Instructor Trainer SSI, Krokodyle Olsztyn) is to change the jacket depending on the level of diver’s skills and training, because a classic jacket will be better for the beginners: ‘At the beginning of the diving adventure, comfort is provided by the feeling that jacket gets filled with the air. Over time, when more experience is gained and buoyancy is acquired, (…) this feature usually begins to be an obstacle, which in consequence makes us think about replacing the common jacket with a wing.’ It shall also be noted that when speaking about recreational diving to 40 metres, a jacket will function well and possession of a wing is not necessary, because it enables more advanced diving. For example, it is used for simpler technical diving.

An interesting solution was proposed by Maciej Jurasz (PADI Course Director Akademia H2O Płetwal Poznań): ‘When I give personal advice to young divers who are looking for a proper jacket, I recommend the so-called ‘para-wing’, i.e. neither a classic BCD nor classic wing, but a compromise between them.’ Such type of hybrid is equipped with the Active Filling System (APA) and, apart from high comfort, it will provide the diver with precise setting in water.

Faced with a choice

You must remember that your comfort is a very important element which you must also take into account when selecting the appropriate displacement system – you should feel confident and comfortable under water, which is why the equipment cannot be an obstacle. To sum up, let us quote Wojtek Berczyński’s words:  ‘With the development, each recreational diver faces a choice – a jacket or a wing, but let us not go mad – it is the training, not the equipment, that makes perfect.’

Łukasz Głowacki

I’ve been diving for almost 10 years. The underwater world won my heart quite quickly. From the very beginning I wanted to be a good diver and partner, so I kept practising until I got a Master Scuba Diver PADI degree. I dive in hot and cold waters around the world. The thing I like most about diving is the sense of weightlessness and possibility to dive in the depths. I’m not too demanding when it comes to the landscapes, although I do enjoy their diversity, so I like diving in different places and conditions.

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