I have been away for a while, Tec Diving in the UK and return to you with some new top tips and information about my experiences, as well as my new product release.

Lets start the ball rolling with up and coming developments, and ideas that I have taken from my concept drawing board, and now bringing to fruition after a two month period of testing in the UK.

The inventor in me realised that we are not quite there yet with the side-mount set up when using S80 or as some divers call them Ali 80 cylinders.

I can already hear shrieks as side-mount divers start shouting through their regulators, that they are perfectly happy with their set up. If you're happy with your set up, thats fine, stick with it because there is no right or wrong way to rig side-mount, only good and not so good rigs, depending on the environment you are diving in.

Personally I am very particular about how my equipment should function and how it should look. After all you never know when Mike Pitts will show up and catch you on film, (yes that happened, before he ventured off into the abyss to film a new programme for the BBC). And you only need only to look at Kev Gerr in Monty Halls latest documentary series, to realise that even the real Gurus get side-mount very wrong sometimes.

The problem:

Its an oldie and a Goldie, the buoyancy characteristics of the Aluminium S80 cylinder. As most of you know the in water weight of the S80 is considerably                 less than a steel 12L or steel 85CF cylinder.

This causes the S80 cylinder to buoy up at the tail and produces drag in the water column, not to mention look unsightly. A side-mount cylinder should be what is says, side-mounted.

This means running parallel with the body in a stream lined fashion. So how do we stop these cylinders                 from buoying up at the tail?

The solution:

You could do what most people do and have a number of D-rings on your harness, so as the cylinder buoys up you move the lower P-clip on the cylinder from your butt plate/highest point, to a lower D-ring on the harness waist belt.

I find this method just a bit of a faff and not the perfect solution especially when side-mounting multiple cylinders.

The solution I have found is to weight the tail of the cylinder. Enter the all new Planet H2O Tail-weight.

I have been playing with different weights and weight systems for side mount for a couple of years, and found that a one kilogram, marine stainless steel disc weight attached to the bottom of the cylinders is perfect.

This amount weight in this position causes the cylinders to behave as if they are steel 85cf cylinders, without the in water weight of the steel.

I generally use an industrial silicone to attach the disks to the base of the cylinder, These disks will be on sale in the UK in May 2014 on this web site. We will keep you posted about further developments  on this site.

In previous articles I have described how I rig my cylinders for side-mounting using two inch webbing. Well soon after that I realised that its even easier and cheeper to use 4mm Para Cord. The pictures on the right hand side of this page show the way that I rig my side-mount cylinders. I also us this side-mount system on all of my stage/Deco/Bailout cylinders when I am using a back mounted, recreational, tec or rebreather rig. The side-mount system is fantastically versatile and it allows me to stage all of my cylinders in such a way that they are in a breathing order for the entire dive, and do not need constant shuffling around, unlike the all left configuration that some agencies swear by. To date I have been diving with six cylinders, twin S80s back mount and four S80s in a side-mount configuration on the Lamar Hires Ring-Bungee system. I am also finding that Ring Bungee system of side-mounting works well with my Inspiration Re-Breather too.


The keen eyed among you will have noticed that my hose retainers on my cylinders run under my MOD Labels. This is because I have stuck my MOD Labels (Available from our sister company Seawolf Marine Systems) so that they have a square patch of Velcro either side of where my top hose retainer will run on my cylinder. This is a great system and saves a lot of money if you use different mixes or need to change your tank markings regularly. The great thing about our system is that you can change your MOD labels very easily and no longer have to remove/overlay old MODs with new ones. You will also find that this system of captivating the hose retainer under the MOD label will stop that old problem of the retainer coming off the cylinder, and dangling around the valve when you deploy your second stage, creating an entrapment hazard.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to drop me a line, details on the contact us page.

Jon F

Side-mount Diving

                         New Ideas

By: Jon F