Sidemount

What is Sidemount Diving?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like, a diving configuration where divers carry breathing cylinders attached to their sides rather than on their backs.

Caver divers in England were the first to dive sidemount, back in the 1960s. Sidemount diving allowed these divers to more easily transport cylinders between water-filled passageways that connected air-filled chambers, known as sumps. American cave divers began sidemounting in the 1970s for the same reason, as well as to explore caves that were too low for conventional backmounted cylinders.

For decades, it seemed sidemount diving was the exclusive domain of cave explorers. In recent years though, sidemounting has come out of the cave. It has surged in popularity, and now with mainstream gear manufacturers producing sidemount-specific equipment, is more commonly being seen wherever diving is taking place.

Why has sidemount diving become so popular? Lets count the reasons why…

  • Sidemounted cylinders equip the diver with two completely independent gas supplies. This is especially handy for the diver seeking redundancy.
  • A sidemount diver’s cylinders, valves and regulators are in front of them, which means easy access to their life support system. This can help with resolving issues or responding to gas emergencies in a timely manner.
  • There is less risk of damage or entanglement than if cylinders are mounted behind the diver, where this hazard would be more difficult to deal with.
  • Sidemounting is suitable for accessing caves or wrecks with restrictions that otherwise would be inaccessible with traditional backmount configurations.
  • Divers with physical limitations such as back problems may find it easier gearing up with sidemounted cylinders already in the water.
  • Unlike a traditional backmount configuration where cylinders are mounted rigidly behind the diver, the more flexible sidemount system offers greater range of movement and diving positions.
  • With a wider weight distribution, the sidemount diver is inherently more stable in the water, and finding optimal trim is effortless.
  • Single cylinders suitable for sidemount diving are more readily available in remote locations than double backmounted cylinders, and sidemount equipment is typically lighter and less bulky to travel with.
  • Deep Into Diving offers sidemount courses for recreational and technical divers alike, and all of our technical diving courses can be taken in sidemount configuration. Once you go sidemount, you may never go back!

Are you a recreational diver interested in going sidemount?

The purpose of the PADI Sidemount Diver course is to teach certified divers how to safely use sidemounted primary cylinders as an alternative to traditional backmounted configurations.

You’ll learn:

  • History and benefits of sidemount diving
  • Specialized equipment needs and configurations required for sidemount diving, and become proficient in their use
  • Techniques of sidemount diving
  • Plan and organize recreational sidemount dives

To enroll in this course, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver (or hold a qualifying certification from another organization)
  • Have a minimum of 25 logged dives

Are you a technical diver interested in going sidemount?

The PADI Tec Sidemount Diver course teaches certified technical divers how to safely use sidemounted primary cylinders as an alternative to traditional backmounted configurations for technical decompression dives.

You’ll learn:

  • History and benefits of sidemount diving
  • Knowledge of sidemount diving as it relates to technical diving
  • Specialized equipment needs and configurations required for sidemount diving in general, and technical sidemount diving in particular, and become proficient in their use
  • Techniques of technical sidemount diving
  • Plan and organize technical sidemount dives

To enroll in this course, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be a PADI Tec 40 Diver (or hold a qualifying certification from another organization)

Contact us for more information.

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